So here’s the thing: I think it’s OK to go back to the movie theaters. I’m sure that suggestion might upset some readers, but I’ve given it a lot of thought and if, like me, going to the theater was something that was essential to your happiness prior to Covid-19, I think it’s OK.
Big movies aren’t coming out, so there aren’t big crowds. In fact, I’ve gone to the theater three times in the last few weeks and in all three instances there was no one within 20 feet of me.
Everyone who was there was wearing a mask, and the staff was following some very thoughtful protocols, including blocking off entire rows and selling limited seats.
In short: I felt 100% Covid-safe when I went to the theater. And I can’t understate how good it felt to see a movie big and loud again.
One of the films I saw, John Lee Hancock’s The Little Things, wasn’t even that good; but I loved every second of the experience.
What I’m saying is that home viewing, even with huge TVs and amazing sound systems (I have both, as most do these days), still doesn’t come close to the theater experience. And I’m a little worried that folks have maybe forgotten that over the last year and might not return to the theater.
So if you do plan to check out the showtimes and return to the theater, you’ll immediately notice that things aren’t quite what they used to be. The studios are still being bashful about what they release, essentially shelving their expensive and prestige titles until the world is up and running at full speed again. The movies are, after all, a business.
So what can you plan to see when you check the times?
Well, there are still new releases. They just aren’t that exciting. For example, if you wanted to see a just-released film right now, your options would be Long Weekend, Boogie, The Father, Chaos Walking, Raya and the Last Dragon, Tom & Jerry, The Marksman, The Croods: A New Age, and I Still Believe.
Boogie and The Father are both probably worth watching but probably don’t require the big screen treatment. The others, well … not great. Look them up only if you’re extremely bored.
The real appeal in going to the theater right now are the archival screenings they’re doing. For example, right now as I write this week’s column, here are some of the movies playing at the Jefferson Point theater: Back to the Future, Forrest Gump, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Three extremely entertaining films. And they’re changing it up pretty much on a weekly basis, if not daily.
The AMC theaters are leaning into nostalgic titles for the most part. And I get it, and I enjoy it.
But that being said, I’d love it if they played Taxi Driver or Do the Right Thing or even something like Minority Report or Beverly Hills Cop. Or, if I were to really dream, imagine if they booked a Cassavettes film or, say, did a Wim Wenders retrospective.
Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know two things:
(1) Do you think it’s OK to go back to the theater yet?
(2) What archival release would get you worked up?