Stephanie Hayes: Theaters have been a quiet place and it’s good to be back | Homes and Lifestyle
You are at the cinema. the real movies.
There is that smell. Popcorn with electric butter, rivers of soda, finicky junior mints and sweaty palms. The carpet is still ugly, and the prices are still high.
White lighted posters advertise things you’ve seen at home. You watched Godzilla vs. Kong from the couch, and it was fun and easy. You almost forgot that these creatures were meant to be big.
But after a year of modest living, you began to wonder: is the sofa a cop out, a twig snap against a thunderclap? What did you miss?
So you are here to A Quiet Place, Part II, the sequel to a thriller that blossoms in silence. It was due out in March 2020, and well. Instead of broadcasting like so many others, the film’s creators resisted. Now, as we come out of a pandemic, this is one of the first big movies to be released exclusively in theaters.
You’re late tonight, but it’s always like that. You went to the mall restaurant, or for an ice cream, or the nearby pet store with your date. A night like this isn’t just about the movie. It is a before, a during and an after.
A bored teenager points to your theater and someone else urges you to sit down. It’s about to start, he says, and it’s the darkest theater. He’s excited, bubbling like a 32-ounce Coke.
You forgot how luxurious plush cinemas got before the COVID-19 pandemic. This one has leather reclining chairs with armrests. You remember what theaters felt like: sticky floors, rough seats, weird feet close to the ears.
It’s black. Then you see John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, not shrunk on a TV or crammed into a laptop. They are giants from floor to ceiling. Transcendent. How can someone be so fat? How have we ever looked at it this way? How could we stop?
When the evil beast leaps into the frame, the sound rings out and slams. The walls are shaking and you are back in your memories. You’re at jurassic park and Titanic and Die hard, and you grab your date by the fingers and squeeze.
This film is being made for the moment. It’s post-apocalyptic, a broken family emerging from isolation to flee a supernatural foe. It is painfully relevant. In a scene, there is a literal unmasking.
Our real threat is invisible. Here he has claws and a gaping face, preying on those who dare to make noise. Its targets hide in basements and ovens, dodging the death of the monster and man.
To survive, people have to work together. You watch the characters fumble around, and it’s clear who they represent. The brave. The wise. Those who fend for themselves. Those who despise empathy and the truth.
In the cinema, you are quiet together. You scream and jump together. You share snacks and whispers. You meet old friends. You stumble down the aisles in the dark. You say excuse me and sorry. You have trouble finding a time to use the bathroom.
You go out in pods, sharing opinions and questions. For once, you are arguing over imaginary lands. You received 90 minutes of escape and the gift of a new conversation.
Yeah, maybe you’re too nostalgic. You forget the talkers and the eaters and the dropers. You’re neglecting the perks of the house: the pause button and the pajamas and the refrigerator. But it is okay.
Because tonight there is magic in defeating 30-foot-tall monsters. In a postponed world, stepping quietly inside sounds like something very noisy.
– Stephanie Hayes is a columnist for the Tampa Bay Times in Florida. Follow her on Twitter: @StephHayes and Instagram: @StephHayes. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.