time lapse photography of car lights in front of cinema

Source: Pexels by Nathan Engel

The average movie-watching routine now will likely involve spending four hours browsing what’s on Prime or Netflix (or your streaming service of choice). If you manage to decide one to watch, you’ll spend part or all of the film thinking “Oh maybe this would have been better…”. You’ll then sit on your sofa and watch a film… except you won’t because you’ll be scrolling through your phone for the entirety of the film’s duration.

That’s Why I Love The Cinema!

There’s just a different feeling when you’re going to the cinema. It’s like you’ve made the effort to do something, and this is your reward. Sometimes that reward may not pan out to be that great, but it’s still a reward.

The Ritual of the Cinema

The first aspect is the choice of the film – and instead of HUNDREDS and THOUSANDS of films, you have a handful, and all at specific times. You’ll often know beforehand what you’re going to see – the usual Marvel/Fast and The Furious/Big Explode-y Blockbuster sequel for your large chains with more art-house or foreign cinema for smaller theatres. Thus, begins your cinematic journey.

The Queue!

This aspect has been made easier, thanks to technology – no longer queuing for ten years to purchase your tickets, you can use an app or a website, or a self-service device and decide where you want to sit. For the tech-savvy, this is a welcome addition that reduces the amount of energy spent on needless conversations. However, for those who aren’t as tech-crazy, there’ll always be someone to greet you for your cinema-going experience.

The Food!

Yes, it’s overpriced. Yes, it’s full of sugar. BUT it’s the cinema! This is what they were made for. Purchasing a drink and popcorn just enhances the cinema-going experience, that sweet treat for all your hard work of getting off the sofa and going somewhere to sit down in a darkened room and ignore people. If you wish to sneak food in, go for it – I won’t judge you.

And then… the trailers!

Yes, twenty minutes of adverts and trailers before you start. Sure, my time-keeping is pretty spot on but I appreciate this isn’t the case for everyone, especially at peak times. The adverts themselves are just any old tat you can see on TV. But the trailers? Ooh boy. It might be a film you forget was coming out, or one you’d never heard of.  But you know, as soon as the trailers start, it’s only a matter of time…

Finally, the Movie!

And there you are. Alone (but not alone) in a dark room. You’ve put your phone away, turned it to silent. You’re sat in a comfy-ish chair. You experience the film. The surround sound. The cinematography. The story. You focus on what’s happening, instead of it simply existing as background noise while you doom scroll. It forces you to focus on the character, the wants, and needs, and their journey. Not all films are great. Some are downright terrible. But the cinema makes it a more intense experience.

But I don’t have any friends!

You don’t need them! I was once a cinema-goer who believed you had to go with other people – until I realised this stopped me from seeing films I wanted to see. There’s also the realisation you can go any time of day, which naturally leads to that most trippy of experiences – walking into daylight after two hours in the dark.

Yes, it’s overpriced. Yes, it’s not exactly the biggest choice of films – especially in smaller cities like Bradford. But it’s the cinema. It’s a fun, joyful experience that I would take over streaming any day of the week.

Published by AJ Toothill

Creative Writing and Music student with the Open University. Fond of writing in a comedic tone known as 'Absolute lunacy'.

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