Going to the movies

Lorna and I have always been big movie buffs. When we lived in London, we saw 150-200 films a year for many years. We also started a film club which met every month. The principle behind this club was that one member of the club had to show two films with a theme to the rest of the club and also write a short essay before the screening on that theme. It was A for Anouk Aimee; B for Warren Beatty; C for Courtroom Dramas; D for Brian DePalma; E for Extra-Terrestrials; F for Fantasy; G for Cary Grant; H for the Hays Code etc. We did the alphabet twice and it was fun. We saw many films that we wouldn’t have chosen ourselves and expanded our film literacy.

We then moved out of London and had children. The cost of babysitting significantly reduced our desire to go to the flix, so we installed a cinema downstairs in the basement. As the children got older, we introduced the children to all sorts of movies and caught up with the films we had missed from the children’s infant years.

In Hong Kong, it was easy and cheap to see films and we would again go twice a week or more. It was great to watch more Asian films (Japanese, Korean, Chinese), none of them the type that were screened at the Guildford Odeon.

When we moved to Atlanta, we moved within 5 minutes of 22 movie screens of movies. It wasn’t a deliberate choice, just a happy coincidence.

So what’s different about going to the movies in America? A few things:

1. There are fewer local adverts. I miss the local adverts that UK or HK show for the local Tandoori and jewellers. It’s mostly corporate adverts here. Actually, as we don’t subscribe to American TV, it’s good for us to see a few American adverts.
2. The food is similar, but the popcorn is sold in bigger buckets – containers genuinely the size of small dustbins. Even Nancy cant eat her way through a bucket. Usually there is a choice only of salt or butter. I confess that we smuggle in food and drink from home, something that in the UK you probably wouldn’t get away with.
3. The price is quite a bit lower ($8 or £5 per ticket). One of the movie theatres near us is a $1 cinema. It shows movies that are a few weeks old. I’ve not been to this one yet, as I always have seen then first time around
4. Audience reaction is more vocal in the US. It’s not that unusual here for people to burst into applause here (if the film is good). We went to see the latest Lasse Hallstrom film a couple of weeks ago. Unlike some of his previous films, it wasn’t great. The audience of mainly High School children loved it however. They screamed at the scary bits and reacted to every turn of the plot.

They also have a drive in movie theatre in (Southern) Atlanta, something of a rarity sadly in America now. I love drive in movies. People arrive very early at the drive in movie here with deck chairs and huge picnics. I see that there will be some dive-in movies in the summer. What could be better than watching an after dark showing of Jaws in a pool?

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Marilyn Bishop on March 25, 2013 at 12:19 am

    I’t wont be long before you will be eligible to go to the Silver Screen which we have in the UK. For £3.25 you have see a good film, probably a year old, plus a cup of tea, coffee or chocolate plus a biscuit. Now that is good value for money. Mind you, last week’s Woody Allen film – To Rome with Love – was pretty dire – but the critics did warn me!


  2. Posted by Melville on March 25, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    What your mother failed to mention is that the sound system in the local system leaves something to be desired. I only go if there are sub-titles!

    Back in the fifties in Benghazi we had an outdorr cafe/cimema and also a cinema with a retractable roof (quite novel in those days). I agree that seeing a film under the stars has charm and if the film is good enough it does not distract. I remember watching a film set in the Alps one very hot evening but I still shivered.


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