The evolution of movie-going
As I was sitting in the movie theatre Friday (for about the 3rd time that week) I started thinking about how much has changed since I first started going to the movies. It brought back lots of memories and I wanted to revisit some key points in, most likely, all of our movie-going careers…
Family Outing: It was always exciting to go to the movies on a Sunday afternoon when there was nothing else to do. It was either with my parents, my grandpa or family friends. Either way, it didn’t matter, as long as we got to get out of the house, go see the newest G or PG rated movie and try and finagle some popcorn or candy out of the parental supervision.
Titanic… I’d say this movie was a transitioned me into the next phase. I remember seeing it in theatres 7 times, starting with my parents of course to make sure my little ears and eyes could handle it, but then seeing it with friends…
The Cool Kids: Then there came the time when FINALLY my parents let me go to the movies without an adult. I saw an occasional movie with just a couple close friends, but the most important movie time in this phase was group movie time. There were always the “cool kids” who went to the movies in a huge pack. For starters it mattered if you got invited, and then what you wore, who you sat next to, who you talked to, who you flirted with and so on. This was the biggest deal ever, and began…
The Backseaters: Enter in boys. As I get older and wiser, I realize how scary of a time this probably was for parents to let a child go to the movies alone with a boy. But at the time, it was the most exciting possibility ever. In this phase, it didn’t really matter what movie you went to see because the entire time (sitting in the very back seat of the theatre if you could) you would be worried about how you looked, what he thought of you, if he was thinking about you, if he was going to reach for your hand and help us all, if he was going to kiss you. It was all about the ambiance of the movie and nothing about the movie itself.
The Friday nighters: Then we get to the part where the Friday night social scene was at the movies. You had to be there, every single Friday night, to hang out with new friends, flirt with boys or spend “alone” time with your boyfriend. Of course it was all very particular, you had to arrive at a certain time and leave at a certain time. Your mom couldn’t pick you up too early because then you didn’t get to talk after the movie, but if she waited too long everyone else would be gone and make you look like a loser. This era was still not about the movies and unfortunately, includes sneaking in to movies that were sold out, but the boy you liked got tickets to.
The Car: The invention of the car was never as sweet as when you got your license or your boyfriend got his and could take you to the movies sans parents. You didn’t have to coordinate schedules with your parents, which could definitely be a pain as a bratty teen, and often times had a hot, older guy taking you to the movies. What could get much better than this?
Life: Shortly after everyone got their own car, everyone started getting a life outside of movies. Sure, everyone still got together once in a while to go see a movie they really wanted to see, but the real movie lovers continued going to the movies and began going for very different reasons: you actually wanted to see the movie. It wasn’t about the food and drink (well, okay still sometimes), the gossip, the shameless flirting, the perfect outfit or the backseat.
As I sat in the movies Friday, I realized how much had evolved throughout the years because of a simple building with a large screen. I sat there in my favorite seat (close to the front), no drink or popcorn in hand, next to someone I genuinely cared about and knew I could grab his hand and waiting in anticipation for a movie I really wanted to see.