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The Cinematic Experience

There’s something to be said for the theatrical film-going experience.


There’s something to be said for the theatrical film-going experience. The smell of the popcorn, the insane lineups, the super-sticky floor full of stuff you don’t want to know the biological contents of. The pressure of deciding what I want to eat and drink during the movie. Going to the bathroom right beforehand, so I don’t have to miss three very crucial minutes in the third act.


I swear under my breath every time at the laundry-list-litany of insanely obnoxious commercials that play for compensatory trucks that I have zero interest in. Either that, or advertising for something utterly baffling like NFTs that I still don’t understand at all. I enjoy watching the trailers, even if I’ve already seen them a hundred times on YouTube.


The lights finally dim, and thefilm starts. For ninety minutes, to two hours, I sit in a dark room with a bunch of totally random strangers, who share a wholly communal experience with me. I love watching great movies, just as much as I love hate-watching bad ones. The worst kind of movies to me are the middlingly average affairs. The 3/5s that are just fine, one might suppose, but you totally forget about twenty minutes later.


As someone who frequents the theatre at least once a week, having them shut down for a year was particularly tough for me. The theatre is my home away from home. It’s my sanctuary. The place I feel the most safe and comfortable, and I’m so happy that it’s back in full-swing. Or at least seems to be. Knock on whatever preferable wood is in knuckle-distance.


Give me a dirty, grungy crime movie from the master himself, Martin Scorsese, my favourite film director. Give me Mean Streets, Goodfellas o rGangs of New York. My two favourite writers are Quentin Tarantino and Aaron Sorkin. I absolutely adore the sound of dialogue. The first five minutes of The Social Network forever changed how I write scripts. Richard Linklater taught me through The Before Trilogy and Slacker, to always put character and conversationfirst over plot.


You can have the greatest movie plot of all time, but literally none of that matters if the audience aren’t interested in the characters. Make no mistake dear reader, for characters in movies don’t always have to be likeable, but they do have to at least be understandable. My cinematic voice is my own, but I wear my idolized references like a bleeding heart on my sleeve.


Maybe the best high I ever had, was smoking a nice chill indica joint in my backyard. This was a couple years back. My body felt immediately warm, and my head still totally clear, which was key. I went down into the basement Cave of Wonders, sat on the big green comfy couch and put on a Blu-Ray copy of The Dark Crystal. That movie’s still incredible all these years later, when you’re stone-cold sober. It’s somehow even better when you’re totally high. The absolute artistry that is the puppeteering remains unparalleled. RIP Jim Henson. If I ever have kids one day, that’s definitely one I’ll need to show them. If you’re into something decidedly more intense and uncomfortable, try hotboxing with your bong in the bathroom right before throwing on Under The Skin. A.K.A. the trippy sci-fi movie where Scarlett Johansson plays a seductive alien, who seduces and kills all of the eager men trying to pick her up. I’ve been meaning to rewatch that again, now that I think about.


Movies have always been my first love. I eat, sleep and breathe cinema. The film that made me want to be a writer/director was The Empire Strikes Back. I was that kid that would have lightsaber fights in the backyard. Even in the cold, harsh, subzero Canadian winters.


In many ways, I’m still that kid to this day, and always will be.


Mary-Jane


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