Tuesday, May 22, 2012

OpEd: How to Enjoy Going to the Movies Again

How To Enjoy Going To The Movies Again
Moviegoing is, at its core, a social experience. The moment those lights dim and the film reel rolls, you’re no longer an individual sitting in an auditorium; you’re part of a mass of people who are connected through a shared event and the desire to be entertained and transported. In that moment, when you turn from a solitary viewer into an audience, you form a trusting and reciprocal relationship not only with the movie but also with those around you. Every person in the theater contributes to the experience. Usually, this means reverent silence. But I’d argue that there is no theater audience that contributes more to the experience of seeing a movie than one at a midnight show.

I was skeptical until I decided to attend one for the first time. The film was “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” in 2002. I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of being up until 3 in the morning, and I was unsure and a little worried about the kind of crowd I would have to put up with — especially given that when I saw an opening-day screening of “The Fellowship of the Ring,” I shared the theater with fans dressed as Gandalf or wearing “Frodo lives!” T-shirts, all losing their minds audibly throughout the film. And that was just a matinee.

But what I learned from seeing “The Two Towers” is that a midnight screening is not something you attend but something you do. That’s why, ever since, I have developed the habit of turning “midnight” into a verb. As in, “I’m going to midnight ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ ” or “I’ll definitely midnight ‘Prometheus.’ ” Midnighting a movie is more than just seeing the movie — it’s an act of dedication and enthusiasm above and beyond what most people are willing to give.
Source: The New York Times

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