A quiet place 2 and find the relief of a movie theater
No amount of ammonia and elbow grease can completely remove decades of spilled soda and oozing buttery popcorn. Like a benign trap, a movie theater floor will always maintain a loose, sticky grip on the bottom of your shoe. Regardless of the luxury upgrades and leather seats, the faded armrests and groaning seat backs will always greet you with a warm reminder of the masses who shared this space before you. And when the lights finally go out and this monolithic rectangle of light finally comes to life, you too will be transported from a dark and dismal room to a world invaded by killer aliens or sent back in time to witness the punk-rock birth. an icon.
During the last weekend of Memorial Day, Paramount’s A Quiet Place, Part II and disney Cruel came to Hollywood’s rescue to deliver the most important box office part of the pandemic to date. But more important than the dollars and cents was the symbolic reality he represented: a return to movie theaters.
A Quiet Place, Part II marked the first movie I saw in a movie theater in about 15 months. In normal years not besieged by unique global pandemics, I tend to see a new movie about once a week. For someone who has turned their passion into a profession, the new normal of the last year has been to adjust my habits. Movie theaters, usually a haven of excitement and joy, were suddenly hostile environments that presented great risks to my health. There is far worst tragedies and evils that plague the world, of course. But being unable to return to your favorite place was, to say the least (and in my most professional opinion of the reviewer ™), a huge disappointment.
My parents divorced when I was 6, and to spend quality time with me and my older brother, they each resorted to their own activities. Frequent weekends at the movies and TV nights at home with microwave popcorn became staples of my childhood. Psychoanalysis here is not difficult. My way to watch Star wars like a little one to review Cruel last week is a straight line and obsessive.
So, heading back to the theater to see a much anticipated and often delayed major release for the first time since March 2020, with both dear people and complete strangers flanking me on all sides, has been a relief. A breath I hadn’t even realized I had been holding back. I wanted to go home.
Immediately, the essence of cinema returned to its place. The long queues where you collect snippets of conversation. (“Did you hear Cousin Eddie get a promotion?”) The 23 minute previews that turn us all into Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down reviews for a moment. The disturbing but strangely comforting sounds of the restless bodies around you. The common and shared understanding that is built around the collective panting of a jump of fear or laughter after a punchline. Everyone, even disconnected before entering that particular house, connected by the same emotions at the same time in pursuit of the same experience.
Films have always known how to unite us in this way. Despite the growing division of our daily lives that divides us into opposing and conflicting camps of opinion, allegiance and belief, we all look for the same thing in a movie theater. We share this with each other, subconsciously or not. The big screen reinforces our similarities while celebrating our differences.
Coming back to the movies not only brought me closer to those I was with, it also brought me closer to people in general. This is the most normal experience after more than one anomaly locked in my apartment. I reveled in the popcorn and soda clogging the arteries I devoured, danced on the sticky floors, and stretched out in my decidedly non-lounge chair. I was back in my place.