What makes movie watching special/unique to you?

Josh.C

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I thought it would be fun to hear from you guys & gals (my brothers and sisters in movie appreciation
) about the various nuances we all share in watching movies. This could be a ritual you go through (picking out the perfect seat, making sure the mix of snacks is just right, etc.), whether you prefer to watch movies alone or with friends, in the morning, late at night, at a busy theater or a hole in the wall, determining if a movie is a "renter" or deserves to be seen on it's opening weekend. Yes, it's a very broad topic.

If you are like me, then movie watching is an art. It is an experience (just like attending a sporting event, a museum, an art gallery...), and it's something many of us are very particular about. Hopefully you will find this thread fun, and we can all share in the joy of film watching. If no-one else gets where I am going with this, then I am just a wierdo and pay no attention to the man behind the curtain


I'll start the thread off with my take in my next post.
 

Josh.C

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There are many things that make movie going special for me. Both going to a theater, and watching at home.

For me, it all starts with getting the right seat. I'm the guy that always gets to the movie early, and is one of the first in line. It only took one time seeing a film from those horrible front two rows of seating, to ensure that it would never happen again.

I always look for a seat between mid-way and the top of the theater, and sit dead middle in the aisle. I enjoy being in the middle of the action (escpecially in a summer blockbuster type film). I always have someone with me, and whoever that is has to either save the seat, or go get the popcorn. Can't watch a movie without popcorn with lots of butter, and a large Sprite.

Probably the best thing about screening a movie with a friend is the pre- and post- movie discussion on the drive to the theater. I especially love the drive home. Usually we start disecting the film before we have left the theater. All of these events add to the experience, and is why to this day, I still get anxious before seeing a film I've been waiting on.

More to come later.

JC
 

Stephen_L

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Following Roger Ebert's formula I try to sit back a distance equal to 1 1/2 times the screen width and dead center to get the best sound mix. Required snacks: Diet Coke, popcorn with lots of the WD40 butter and a box of Snowcaps. Bite of hot salty buttery crunch, then one of smooth creamy sweetness. Ahhhhhhhhh.

My final ritual. If I love a movie I will sit through the entire credits. I like to recognize the work of people who make a quality product.
 

Elizabeth S

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I like to sit a little closer than the middle of the theatre, as smack center as I can. With stadium seating, things are much better -- however; my "arthouse" theatre is still old fashioned, non-staggered seating. What's frustrating is picking out the perfect seat, then someone sits right in front of you during the previews.

I go to 95% of movies alone and find that very relaxing. The more space I have around me, the better -- I find myself easily distracted by those around me. And once the lights dim, people should be quiet. I hate people talking during the previews as they are not simply "commercials". When my sister goes with me, she often gives me a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” for each trailer, indicating how promising it seems. We don’t tend to discuss the film too much afterward, as I think I’m still digesting it.

My cardinal rule during a theatrical viewing is to never look at my watch. I feel it gives you a “sense of place” in the storyline so I don’t want to know. Believe me, I’ve wanted to many times.
Viewing at home is a lot more casual for me and I tend to get up and get food or whatever, so I don’t apply that rule.

I like popcorn or a hotdog as my movie snacks. One particular theatre has a nice big gourmet dog which is worth it (especially because I can add jalapeno peppers to it), but I refuse to shell out $3.75 for a 6-inch dog at the other place.

I used to always sit through to the end credits, but I find nowadays that people clear out faster and the workers are always so eager to come in to clean up. Depending on my mood, I’ll stay or not. I did see the after-credit sequence in “Rocky Balboa”, for example, but missed the one in “Constantine”. (It MAY be related to how much I liked the film!)
 

Tim Glover

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Good thread Josh...I'll post something later tonight about my rituals....some you already know alot about!
 

Chris Atkins

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Great thread, Josh.

Like you, movie watching is an EVENT for me. That's why I love going to see movies on opening weekend with crowds...though that happens less now that we have small children.

My love for film as an event goes back to the fact that the original Star Wars is the first film I ever saw in the theater...and I can still hear those people clapping, cheering, and booing. Then being able to see Superman, Raiders, and Empire Strikes Back in the theater just cemented my love for the spectacle surrounding the opening weekend. Every opening show I go to is, in some way, an attempt to recapture those feelings.

I obsess over getting to the theater early...like you, I can't stand not getting a good seat right in the middle. Drives my wife nuts most of the time, as she doesn't see the need to get there before the previews start.
 

Chuck Mayer

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I love seeing films in the theater. I spend lots of money on my HT, but it's all in pursuit of the "experience". It's still not the same.

1) I am a seat nazi. I want the screen to fill my vision, without having to scan left to right. I prefer the center of the auditorium for audio purposes.

2) Presentation is very important for me. Old prints, misframing, etc PISS ME OFF. It's not because I care about any of that from a tech standpoint...I just want to focus on the film.

3) I love trailers. I try very hard not to miss them. Some trailer experiences are among the best visual/aural in my life...even when the movies weren't. When I am with friends, I do enjoy a snarky comment after a particularly putrid trailer. If quiet and private.

4) I usually like to have a Coke for a movie, but I prefer not to snack. I'd rather eat before a film. Snacking can be noisy. Even the Coke is often skipped...I have a micro-bladder. I always whiz before a movie, sometimes twice, and right before the credits.

5) My best cinematic experiences have been as an adult...I can appreciate films more now than I could when I was 6. That said, one of my favorite movie trips ever was my first viewing of Aliens. My mother told me I had to hold her hand, and she almost crushed it by the middle of the film. After that, I remember seeing the opening show of IJ and the Last Crusade...a landmark for me as a freshman in high school. I also remember with great fondness seeing Scream, Titanic (ALWAYS packed...and opening night - just amazing), and Fellowship of the Ring with full houses. I'm sort of the opposite of Chris...I want all-new feelings
When I was a kid, I loved Yor, Hunter from the Future
Anything amazed me then!

My movie tastes are dynamic, but my love for seeing them on the big screen is constant.
 

Andy Sheets

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Only two things for me are:

Don't miss the previews, and

Get an aisle seat so I can stretch my legs out. I'm not especially tall but it drives me crazy if I can't extend my legs fully while sitting in one place for that long


Edit: Sorry, three things. The last one would be to stay away from other viewers as much as possible. Too much experience indicates that they simply won't be able to shut the @!$% up or quit dithering with their cell-phones.
 

Tim Glover

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Great stuff Chuck...really great.

The Cinema
I think we are much alike in our vow to get the best seat. I won't use your list but mine is fairly close. I prefer n the middle just above halfway up. Seems like the best of both worlds visually and sonically.

I've said this a zillion times and it's still true, nothing, NOTHING can replicate the Cinema. From the smell of the concession to the big screen itself...It's something that might be more intangible too as quite often the print is not that great or the audio is a bit off....it's the sheer spectacle of it all. The excitement that comes before it and the adrenaline rush right after the previews.
For my lifetime, the films that were never the same at home were Star Wars & The Empire Strikes Back, E.T, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Predator, Die Hard, Titanic, LOTR...

Popcorn & Diet Coke:
I almost always have to get a large popcorn and a medium diet coke. I too have a hobbit sized bladder but must have something to drink. I agree that popcorn can be quite distracting but I'm usually done by the end of the previews. Even when I've just eaten I get this.


The Napkin Man:
I do have some issues...surely you all who read my posts know this is true
. I usually get a big whopping handful of napkins. Some of it is for my popcorny fingers but afterward it's for rolling up like a scroll. I then use it to clench during the movie. I don't know why but maybe it's like the cartoon Peanuts with Linus and his blanket. Clenching that or having that in my hand just somehow feels comforting. There, I've gone out and exposed some of my psychological ailments


The Home Experience
I'm a clean freak and must have my house clean and especially the HT room in order for me to enjoy myself. I always prepare the room a little more for company. (this happened ALOT when Club Timobi Wan was opened)
...

Some more rituals are to turn on the monitor about 15 minutes prior to the movie....gets it ready you know
...tweak it a bit specifically for the movie that I plan to watch. While it's warming up I take a shower. The house is all clean and so must I.


Put on some comfy clothing, warm sox and a nice afgan or fleece blanket to surround me.

Make some popcorn and get my diet coke.

Turn cell phone to silent or just ignore! The next 2-3 hours are solely for movie absorption.

Yes, most of my buddies (like Josh.C) are aware of my little rituals and really I can knock most of it out in about 20-30 minutes so it's not the effort it seems.


I love movies. It's what I do.
 

BrettGallman

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First of all, awesome thread.

As for myself, I, like most of you, must have the perfect seat. At the worst, I want to be in the center of the row, but I like for the row to be right in the middle of the theater too.

As for concessions, I can't have anything at all. Chuck, I'm right there with you regarding the micro-bladders. It's terrible, especially if I'm particularly excited for a movie. Sometimes I might have a little popcorn, but for the most part, I do without.

Trailers are a must. I consider them as a part of the package. I never miss them. Sometimes, a good trailer makes up for a disappointing movie.

I pretty much have to see every movie at its first showing, if possible. For some movies, though, I'll wait because it's more fun with a crowd (something like Snakes on a Plane).
 

Josh.C

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Since Timobi chimed in, I must add that it is really cool to have a movie watching buddy that "gets it".

I am a very lucky guy to have an awesome wife, and great friends (like Tim), that share my passion in movie watching.

I compare this to having a great card (or domino's, I'm a fan of '42') partner. It's almost like you know what they are thinking before they ever have a chance to voice their thoughts.

Not only does it provide some fun moments during certain films (a quick glance/facial expression or a well timed comment) but it makes re-hashing the film on the way home so much better. It helps me gather my thoughts about the movie, and get's my mind turning on what I plan to write in my post that night or the next day.

In my opinion it's the same dynamic that makes this forum so great. Thanks Tim, for introducing me to the HTF a little over a year ago. It's been a blast!

JC
 

BrettGallman

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Yeah, it's definately better to see a movie with someone, but even better to see it with someone who understands how you feel about movies. I don't think I know anyone personally who takes movies quite as seriously as me, but I at least appreciate that they try.
 

Patrick Sun

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I try sitting where my eye line is right smack dab in the middle of the screen, so that could be half-way up, towards 2/3 of the way up, and I like being in the middle of the row, as I think being in the middle of the aisle would make people walk into you as they find their seats.
I will never sit up front, close to the screen, doing so for a Michael Bay flick "The Rock" will cure you of that forever.

I usually get the large popcorn with butter/seasoning, large diet coke combo, but I think I'm going to try cutting back on the popcorn and seeing how that impacts the theatrical viewing experience. If a theater has the containers of sprinkle on popcorn toppings (cheddar, ranch, butter, etc), I have a hard time resisting the temptation to slip out of the theater during the movie, and sprinkle more of the stuff on once I get through half the tub of popcorn, even if it means missing a minute of the movie. Thankfully those theaters are only available to me when I go out of the state for the holidays.

If possible, I prefer elbow room around me. I love watching good comedies in a crowded theater, as well as scary thrillers/horror films just to see and hear the audience reactions.

If I miss the trailers, it's not the end of the world for me.
 

Tarkin The Ewok

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Like Patrick, I go for the seat that puts the eyes in front of both the vertical and horizontal centers of the screen.

I love good trailers, and I can usually judge how well I will like the feature by what trailers are shown with it.

I stay for the all of the credits 99% of the time. It gives time to discuss or decompress, there is music playing, I respect the people who made the movie, I paid for the entire running time, and there might be something after the credits.

Seeing movies with an enthusiastic, respectful, and appreciative crowd makes the whole experience better. In recent years, the best crowds were at the Star Wars prequels and The Incredibles.
 

Tim Glover

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Thanks Josh.


Josh and I could write a novel about all our movie adventures, pre-movie discussions & post movie thoughts. We lived in a place that had no theater close by and usually drove 25-45 miles one way depending on what movie to see. It's those times like Josh mentioned that we can discuss things relating to film in general. On the way home we dissect the mother until there's nothing left to....until logging on to the HTF!


The past few months I have gone to alot of movies at odd times and have gone alone (someone give me a tissue
)....but I agree it's MUCH better experiencing these moments with people you care about.

Quick story: Last summer when Josh and I first saw Superman Returns. I'll never forgot that moment....one of the coolest moments ever as we were both in that zone that only a great movie can provide. Right after the now legendary Plane Rescue sequence, we both just looked at each and had this big goofy-nerd from hell grin on our faces. We may have even given each other a high-five
Greatness!

Don't want to hog the thread or change it's tone....The rituals and oddities we do are kind of cool. I look forward to reading other member's pre-game strategies!
 

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