Why I Love Movie Theatres

July 20, 2012 — 234 Comments

Last night’s tragic events in Aurora, Colorado are pretty much beyond my comprehension, let alone within my ability to speak to them. All I can really express are my condolences for the victims and the families of those killed.

There really isn’t anything else to say about what happened, but I have heard some people online and in person express concerns about going to the theatre. Such an incident creates fear. It reveals what we all have generally considered a safe haven for entertainment and escapism is just as prone to the sharp and horrific burst of reality as anywhere else. But that doesn’t mean we should be fearful. It doesn’t mean we should stop living our lives. A movie theatre is a magical place, and none of that is lost, even in the light of such tragedy.

And so I’d like to be positive. I’d like to remind myself why we shouldn’t have fear. I’d like to express why I love going to the movies.

A movie theatre is a transporting place. It’s not just a box in the middle of the living room, but a big window to another world. That world can take an infinite number of forms, from the dimly real to the outright fantastical. We walk into the cinema and sit down and let that large screen take us away.

A movie theatre is a communal space. It’s a space we share with those around us, friend or stranger. We gaze upon the work of art unspooling before our eyes and in that moment we share the experience with each other. We are emoting and expressing and living together.

A movie theatre is a place of comfort. It’s a home away from home where we don’t need to worry. There’s no need to fiddle about with home amenities. Just sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

A movie theatre is a crucible of distraction and annoyance. Just as we share our experiences with each other, we also share our worse quality. The mess, the talking, the cell phones. These are on the one hand bad things, but they remind us of each other. Just as the subtle scratches on a piece of projected celluloid can be a comfort, so can the flaws of the people around us. I’d sooner be in a full movie theatre with a couple of annoying patrons but the audience being mostly as one, than sit alone in a dark auditorium with nobody to share my experience.

A movie theatre is where the dreams of others are projected, larger than life, before us. The dreams of people come to life, becoming mythic and important.

A movie theatre is where we are confronted and challenged. There is no pause. You can walk out, but most don’t. When you sit down, allow the movie to take control as it only ever can in the cinema, you can’t turn away. You’re vulnerable to the ideas and emotions of the film. It’s not always easy or pleasant, but even when it’s bad, the result is always growth.

A movie theatre shows us the world. Not necessarily the real world, but the world outside our bubble. We meet people and visit places that we might never otherwise see for ourselves.

A movie theatre, in all senses, is a place where people come together, to speak to each other and shape each other and love and hate and cherish each other. It’s as important to the soul as it is to the culture. It’s humanity flickering on a screen, talking to us all, and all at once.

That’s why I love movie theatres.

234 responses to Why I Love Movie Theatres


    Beautifully said.


    Great post. I couldn’t agree more. We shouldn’t avoid the theater because of one selfish person. There is no point in living in fear.


    A positive outlook on a horrific event. Great post!

    wedieeveryday July 20, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Reblogged this on wedieeveryday.

    wedieeveryday July 20, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Thank you.


    The theater this happened at is about 20 minutes away from me. I’m going to see the movie in the morning, but a very small part of me is saying “what if?”. I agree; I won’t let my life be dictated by fear, especially in a movie theater. It’ll probably be impossible to watch TDKR without thinking about the ordeal, but I’m not going to let it ruin going to the movies for me.


    I teared up a little reading this, not going to lie.
    Thank you.


    Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.


    Beautifully put. Thank you for writing this.


    Beautiful post. I stumbled across you when you were on Freshly Pressed for your Batman post, but truth be told, this should have been the one to be up there. Very poignant and well said.

    Thank you for writing this. πŸ™‚


    Great post. The events that happened were horrible, but people shouldn’t fear about going to the cinema. Recently read a book about the way people think and part of it was the reaction of people to the availability of examples. The book had an example of terrorism, where one event gets a hold on a lot of people even though the chances that one person will be victim of it is extremely small. Just the availability in your mind of an example makes it feel it could happen to you as well.

    As for cell phones being like little scratches on the film though, I feel a bit different about that. The scratch doesn’t take your attention away as much as a glaring screen does.


      Psychologically, I understand why people would feel an increased fear after an incident like this one, but it’s good to remember that there’s really nothing to be afraid of.

      Also, glowing cell phones are way worse than scratches. I hate when people take out their phones. Then again, there’s something human about that experience. In that moment I’m annoyed and I want to throttle the person, but that’s what happens when you stick a couple hundred strangers in a dark room. Not everything will be perfect and there’s something kind of comforting about that.


    This is a poignant reflection and speaks to the magic I have always experienced when going to the cinema. I almost always come out of a movie theater feeling inspired to go tell my own story and to share my creativity with the world in the way that the great storytellers of our age have inspired me.


    “We meet people and visit places that we might never otherwise see for ourselves.”
    Wow. I never thought about movies this way. Nice words.


    Wonderful post. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.


    Whenever someone says, “Oh, I’ll just wait until it comes out on DVD,” I can’t help but to think that half of the value that film has to offer will be gone by then. Going to a movie theater is an anticipation-filled experience that is impossible to recreate.

    Thanks for the great post!


    Right on! Netflix is nice sometimes, but there’s nothing like seeing a movie in a theater and having that emotional communal experience, whatever it is. Sometimes it’s trivial, but sometimes it’s amazing. I love leaving a movie and hearing the comments of others as we leave. I don’t like paying so much for popcorn, but I usually do just because I know it’s important to the theaters to make money that way, and I want to keep them open. Nice post, congrats on being FP!


    This was written so beautifully that I am in awe, especially as a writer. Thank you for your words, your thoughts, and your perspective on our beloved past time. May God help us all!


    I really enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for sharing it with us.


    Well said. A movie theater is first and foremost a theater, a place we enter to suspend our disbelief and open ourselves to a different reality, whether presented on a screen or a stage. It is an old magic, and far more powerful than violence and evil.


      I loved how Christopher Nolan described it in his words about the shooting. β€œThe movie theatre is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me.” He gets right at the heart of what the cinema is about and why this shooting has taken on that extra layer of tragedy.


      That’s a smart answer to a diilcfuft question.


    Great post!

    Seeing a movie at home is great but it pales to being in a theater. You leave the house, you get the food and drinks (and fight the up-selling concessionaire. Then you find the seat and you can relax. You don’t have to worry about the phone ringing, people dropping by, and cleaning up.


    Movie theaters here in the Philippines are things of the past. We watch movies today, we go to the malls.I missed the good ol cinemas. Maybe someday those things will be back. Like a vicious cycle.


    Wonderfully put. It’s good to remind ourselves why we go to the theater after a tragedy like this.


    Great post and very true!


    This horrific event happened at one showing of one movie at one theatre in the entire history of cinema. as for my love of cinema, there are some movies that can only truly be seen on the big screen. Bravo on being freshly pressed!

    The Smile Scavenger July 23, 2012 at 10:53 am

    There was a preview before the flick we saw last week that advertised theatres. It showed a magnificent action scene of a movie, slowly becoming smaller and quieter until it was just pitiful. Then it became a television screen and said something like “Movies shouldn’t be reduced to this.”

    My partner Sara and I agree that it was one of the most compelling ads we have seen in years. Because movie theatres are wonderful, indeed.


    Poignant & refreshingly reassuring post: our universal theatre experience should not be marred or tarnished by this horrific event. Thank you ~


    Beautifully written. I think you are right, about how going to movie theatres shapes us. Filmmakers have a great responsibility in this sense. Thank you for writing this!


    Reblogged this on The Cat and The Beard and commented:
    I couldn’t agree more with this!


    Well said! Movie theatres are indeed a thing of beauty and social connection. πŸ™‚


    I love the experience of seeing a film on the big screen (especially an epic movie such as Batman!). That’s a very nice theater in the picture there–much more luxurious than the ones near my house! Looking forward to the next post!


    Well spoken. I’m with you 100%.


    Love this post. Thanks for this


    I think the founding fathers of film would’ve thought the same thing as they were putting everything they had into a production.


    thats cool i love this blog


    You transport me back to when movie theaters were beautiful places with deco architecture and an evening of bliss. That is the movies; and you’ve captured it with what you wrote. πŸ™‚


    Great words. Thank you. Such sadness around regarding movie theatres. A young woman who survived the incident said she would never go to the theatre again, and in fact said that the smell of popcorn made her nauseous. She will of course have many years of therapy ahead.


    What a great post! I don’t go to the movies much anymore (everything in 3D which jacks up the price of the movie tickets since it includes the silly looking glasses) and I honestly prefer staying at home nowadays. However, for those that still enjoy the theater experience, I hope they don’t let this one horrific tragedy from continuing to do what they love.


    Great job on this post really enjoyed it.


    I never thought about the fact that others dreams are played out in front of us when we watch a movie. That’s such a cool insight! (Oh, and good choice of the theatre picture. I wish we had a theatre like that around me.)


    I would have to agree to that 100%


    Congrats for being Freshly Pressed. My love for movie theatre or cinema halls as it was called in my hometown,goes a long way back. Eagerly we would wait for Fridays to arrive, for the whole family to troop down to the movie theatre where for a couple of hours we were completely transported into a different world. I too love the magic of movie theatre


    i agree, cinema is one of those things you have to congratulate the human race for creating, i think. it is sad though, that there has been this incident where an event you might expect only to see on the screen has happened in real life. love to all those poor families, peace to all those killed or injured.

    also, congrats on being Freshly Pressed and on this wonderful post, it’s nice that you’ve managed to gather so many movie fans to one place πŸ™‚

    Imprecise Motif July 24, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Beautifully said. I couldn’t agree more. The theater is really a magical place where we can dream with all the people inside that room. It brings us to another world and takes us away from the pressures and upsets that the real world may bring. I so love this post! Thank you for this! πŸ™‚


    Reblogged this on EllenGry and commented:
    This is so well written, and so true… My love to the victims and the families of those killed in Aurora, Colerado. And thanks to justAtad for writing and sharing this beautiful post. ❀


    I know everyone’s telling you the same thing, but I agree…beautifully said! As scary as tragedies like this are, we can’t live in fear. Living in fear is pretty much not living at all. πŸ™‚


    I don’t watch anything on DVD or on TV.
    If I miss it at the theatre, bad luck. That’s how much I love cinemas.
    (Unfortunately I live in a country now where I don#t speak the language, so I can’t watch as much as I would want to.)


    Good point! You can’t live life in fear..bad stuff is all around us. We live in a crazy messy world and the key to living in these times is to be fearless, yet vigilant! Having had to live with lupus has taught me that life is too short to be afraid!


    This is my kind of blog…I’m so very glad I came across this. Thank you for reminding us that negative occurrances don’t have to set a president. In my opinion what happened in Colorado was tragic, worse than I could ever imagine BUT if we let such terrible situations plant fear into our lives then we will never move forward or experience new things. Thank you for reminding us that there is positivity in the world and that we should acknowledge bad situations but focus on the good. Plus I love movies and the theatre so blinkin much and I for one am glad there are still individuals in the world who are willing to stand up for the arts.


    Reblogged this on Feeling Womanish and commented:
    This is an extremely well written piece that reminds me of why I love the movies and movie theatres. Go check out the blog!

    emisformovies July 25, 2012 at 4:30 am

    I whole-heartily agree with you. I’ve always viewed movie theatres as a second home, and I still love them…and their overly-priced popcorn.


    you’re right


    So true, I agree with you. A single act of terror though tragic, must not change the people’s view about movie theaters.


    Well said, some of the best memories of my life were going to the theatre with my dad. Thanks for sharing.


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    Well said, some of the best memories of my life were going to the theatre with my dad. Thanks for sharing.


    Reblogged ini pada Merasa seperti perempuan dan berkomentar:
    Ini adalah bagian yang sangat baik tertulis yang mengingatkan saya mengapa saya mencintai film dan bioskop. Pergi memeriksa blog!


    Ini adalah jenis blog … Saya sangat senang saya datang di ini. Terima kasih untuk mengingatkan kita bahwa occurrances negatif tidak perlu menetapkan presiden. Menurut pendapat saya apa yang terjadi di Colorado itu tragis, lebih buruk daripada yang pernah bisa bayangkan tetapi jika kita membiarkan situasi yang mengerikan seperti tanaman ketakutan dalam hidup kita maka kita tidak akan pernah maju atau mengalami hal-hal baru. Terima kasih untuk mengingatkan kita bahwa ada positif di dunia dan bahwa kita harus mengakui situasi buruk tapi fokus pada yang baik. Ditambah lagi, aku suka film dan teater sehingga Blinkin banyak dan saya untuk satu senang masih ada orang di dunia ini yang bersedia untuk berdiri untuk seni.


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