As a kid, I regularly went to the movies. With my paternal grandparents, it was perhaps the only activity that was agreeable for all ten grandchildren, and for my parents, it was a strong quick-fix birthday party. Much like air travel aficionados who reflect back on the evolution — and some would argue unraveling — of the air travel experience, I find myself lightly impacted by present day film-going culture, the changing experience of going to the show.
While one may often be the loneliest number, I have no problem seeing a movie solo. In fact, I go almost weekly on the way home from work. What’s scary, bordering on obnoxious, though, is the way the multiplexes have taken over. My favorite theaters are the small ones. Not necessarily always “art house” theaters, I appreciate the ones that show only 3 or 4 films at a time. Back home, I was treated to a few local options, including two from the Landmark brand. They go beyond the watch-and-go blockbuster theaters, as they boast communities. Midnight movies over the summer, quirky staff members, and tickets still available at student rates in a crappy economy? Winning.
In New York, I’m surrounded more by AMC and Regal franchises than anything else. I feel lucky, though, because we do have plenty of smaller options scattered around. By my office, I frequent — no, really, I’m mayor on Foursquare — City Cinemas 1, 2, 3. Last night, I ventured out to see Albert Nobbs, and while I was probably the youngest member of the audience, I was comforted by the familiar faces of the City Cinemas crew, people who now know my film preferences and concession combinations (small popcorn, medium Diet Coke). I’m a regular.
My taste in film has changed over time, but my love for the experience remains strong. It’s my $13 luxury.