Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Long Time Ago, We Used to be Friends

I have no use for prisoners. Kill them all.
In many ways, I'm will miss going to the movie theater, but theaters are a dying breed, an archaic way seeing movies. For a long time, they solved the problem of how to watch films without investing in all that equipment and space and whatnot.  But technology was always against them, and it surpassed them a long, long time ago.  It’s our dogged fear of change that has kept them afloat like Jack clinging to a piece of Titanic debris in the icy Atlantic.  Movie theaters themselves, and their advocates like Christopher Nolan, are clutching at straws, as if the movie theater sprung, wholly formed, from Vin Diesel’s forehead, have always existed, and thus should always exist.

'Fraid not, boys.

In a lot of ways, they contributed to their own downfall by having the corner on the market. If you wanted to see a major studio film, fine, no problem. But if you wanted to see a cult, indie or older film—yeah, that's a problem.  Must we even discuss the behavior that made movie-going problematic from time to time?  Babes in arms, children, and . . . ugghh, teens.  And then, of course, there are those annoying purists who insist on quiet from the audience . . . oh, wait, that’s me.

It ain't me you gotta worry about now.
Well, let’s mention the guy who brought in three—THREE—grocery bags and proceeded to unwrap the nosiest collection of cellophane and plastic I’ve ever had the misfortune to encounter.  It’s not my policy to tattle-tale to the usher, but when What About Bob? levels of annoying are being achieved, my Dude-like calm is being harshed.

Streaming and home theaters solve all these issues.  Solve them, and more.  With flatscreens and hi-def projectors not just within range, but well within hand, the movie-going experience is rapidly becoming a thing of nostalgia.  Streaming, online video downloads, and more have expanded the range and depth of movies and entertainment to unprecedented levels.  Consumers consume more hours of entertainment, and from more diverse regions, than ever before.  Movie theaters can’t even remotely hope to keep up, and they aren’t.  I’ve watched movies on the playground with my children at their school for fundraisers.  I’ve enjoyed whole TV series on my Kindle, while taking a soothing bath and drinking a delicious micro-brew.

It's true.  All of it.
The only theater I now patronize two or three times year (for those MUST-SEE movies) is the one with the assigned, reclining seats, and hot meals.

I will, however, miss going. I saw Star Wars in the theater opening weekend.  I know that it wasn’t called Episode IV or A New Hope and that Han shot first, last and only in the cantina.  I’ve enjoyed seeing movies on the silver screen surrounded (mostly) by like-minded folk, engaged in a kind of group hypnosis of experience for 90-120 minutes.  It was clarifying and exhilarating.  But the technology that created movie theaters has well and truly moved beyond the need for them.

No comments:

Post a Comment