Plus: the movie that ended the Cold War, assigned!
We see numbers and the numbers tell us people aren't streaming movies at home at the rate you would think. Streaming is evolving into a TV show driven business, if you really care about the future of movies, go in person when you can. That goes double for Indie and foreign films.
This begs a question of mine re my viewing at home. Is it my infernal ignorance? Or do directors routinely cut the tops of heads off to fit a shot? Because I keep thinking I have the wrong aspect ration, but in every single one the head is slightly topped off. Not all of them. Just some close ups.
So, my personal touchstone for the "magic of cinema" has always been Lost in Translation. I saw it opening weekend in an actual theater, and the movie is slow and meditative in a way that really forces you to engage with it on its terms...when you see it in an actual theater, without distractions. When you watch it at home, even with the best intentions, you'll get distracted during its quieter moments by whatever's going on around you or whatever household chores need to be done, and once that's happened, the entire ambiance of the film is lost. Giving up control of a few hours of your time to a movie is a unique thing, and when it works (to quote Nicole Kidman), it's just magic.
I agree about seeing great films in theaters. The dark, the quiet, and maybe most importantly, the enforced, sustained attention to the screen, all make the experience radically different. And some movies just don't hold up well when reduced and fractured and stopped and started endlessly.
I DID get to see both Casablanca and The Godfather in theatres (long after having seen them multiple times on home screens), and both were glorious. I took my teenaged son and his best friend to the latter, and his friend had to leave at a certain point, because the moral horror of that movie, in an environment where she couldn't easily turn or walk away from the events, was too much for her--even for a kid who reveled in physical-horror movies. Limbs getting torn apart, she could handle. The damage to Michael Corleone's soul, she couldn't.
I'd bet anything that she wouldn't have had the same reaction on a home screen.
While I agree that the theater experience is the best way to see a new film, I suggest that technologies do matter. I say this as someone whose grandfather was a singer and actor in the late 1800s - even wrote terrible plays full of stereotypes. A brother was in a rock band that peaked with one performance at CBGBs. Another brother was a reporter who wrote film and theater reviews. So my family loves performance and theater.
I spent my teen and college years at the art house theaters in NYC including the old Thalia. But with the advent of true HD TV as well as streaming... well maybe the theater (for film) is passe.
We have seen the same with music. While live music is fun in a good venue, stadium shows often suck and a live outdoor show at a festival often is good only for those close to the stage. I consume all my music out of an electric player at home. Or almost all.
So maybe for movies or film, we have mostly moved on.
I have not been in a theater for a film in maybe 10 years. Again, I used to be waiting on line in NYC for a first run movie. Saw Patton and Annie Hall in NYC in decent well run theaters. But the multiplex is not the same as a great theater. Love live theater too. Once saw Wendy Hiller in a London Theater from un upper circle seat - the acoustics were perfect.
And at 71, well now I can stop the film when I want to use the bathroom, so not going back.
So with you on the theater experience and lobbying former theater goers to get the heck back before they all disappear.
"Rocky IV" will be the film that future humanity centuries hence will use to teach new generations all about the '80s in the space of just 90 minutes.
It lacks ninjas, but that's about it.
As to the aspect ratio thing my wife would tell you that I’m that way (or worse) with theatre sound systems or live concerts. I especially bitch and moan about artists who don’t preview their venues to see how it’s going to sound. Peaky upper bass and boomy midrange are just two of the things that drive me nuts.
I had a theater that I LOVED going to... until they did renovations. Not an Alamo Drafthouse, but the other Texas theater/dinner chain: Flix Brewhouse. Having a burger and 2-3 beers while watching a movie was one of my favorite activities. However, they changed the seating to exit row airplane style; narrower with no ability to pull up the armrests (I like to put my arm around my wife). Plus, who doesn't like sitting on heated leather seats in the middle of the summer?
The theater went and fixed something that wasn't broken.
You can probably see Casablanca on a big screen this weekend! Fathom events has it playing on Sunday in my town, and I'm gonna go.
Man, these stories about them not projecting in the right aspect ratio always give me hives. I mean, I understand the exhibitors are under financial pressure that impacts the staffing levels, but like, isn't there a way to automate this in the software or something?
Can't tell if your comment that Rocky IV single-handedly ended the Cold War is tongue in cheek or not. I always heard WarGames (1983) and The Day After (also 1983) had more influence on Reagan's way of thinking.