This year is the 80th anniversary of the movie The Maltese Falcon. Pre-pandemic I would be immersed in the machinations of Bogie et al. while I was sitting in a comfy recliner, in the center of the 4th row, huge tub of overpriced buttered popcorn on my lap, a cup of overpriced soda in the cup holder, a smuggled in candy in my pocket.
But not this year.
The nature of movie going has changed this past year. It thrived as an escape from the Great Depression, from wars, from heat waves (there were air-cooled theaters before home a/c). It was only way to see a spectacle before huge TV screens. It was a temporary reprieve from heartbreak and/or loneliness, with the darkness giving a sense of both privacy and community. Movie theaters survived threats of demise even after Saturday Night at the Movies came to our TV screens, dedicated movie channels flooded the cable services, online streaming services offered films 24/7 at our own convenience.
But no longer.
Theaters in my area are open. Tickets are available to see the 80th anniversary airing of The Maltese Falcon. But I’m not ready to return. I’ll watch the movie – complete with recliner and popcorn and soda and candy – on DVD or computer from the house.
I’ll enjoy the movie as much as always, but it won’t be the same.
Comments on: "MOVIE THEATERS – RIP?" (2)
When I lived in New York City I would go to a theatre as much as five times a week – sometimes just stopping on the way home from work. I loved the sensation of seeing something with others – even I was on my own and never spoke to anyone. But sometimes I did — people I would never meet in the ordinary course of my life. On business travel, going to movies kept me from shopping. “Going to the movies” was a huge part of my life. Right now I am thinking that Little Women might be the last movie I saw in a theater – ever.
Our theaters are not open to the public in the normal manner. However, if you want to pay $99 you can rent the largest viewing area in the building and have 29 people view whatever movie you’re chose to come with you. The concession stand is open with the familiar offerings as expensive as always. You have to either bring a DVD or provide streaming of the movie you’ve chosen. And I know because granddaughter and her husband did this to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary just last week. They and two theater workers were the only ones in the place. We have no indoor or outdoor dining in our restaurants either–only take out. Our two favorite restaurants have said they may never go back to indoor or outdoor dining.