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  • Writer's pictureGen Lee

Missing The Norm(al)

Good morning, and in case I don't see ya: Good afternoon, good evening, and good night!

As we are approaching the end of the term, I feel like more and more students are reminiscing about past on-campus activities and social events. As a first-year, I’m not exactly sure what I lost after this year shifted to virtual classes because I’ve never experienced anything in-person. However, one thing I do know is that I’m desperate to see a FilmSoc screening in the Norm. Honestly, I’m desperate to go to any movie theater. That being said, in this post, I’m going to be breaking down what I think makes the movie-going experience so special.

With Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services taking over, movies have become relatively easy to access. You can pull up a movie from 1982 with a simple click and if you don’t have time to finish a film in one sitting, the pause button is waiting there just for you. I love me some quality binge-watching and I may spontaneously combust if Korea doesn’t get Disney+ soon. With all that said, I still think actually going to the movies is the superior method of watching motion pictures. If you don’t agree with me, here’s a breakdown of why the cinema is better than streaming at home—and no, I will not be taking any questions, comments, or concerns.

My main and probably strongest argument is movie theater popcorn. That’s it. That’s the whole argument. You can tell me it's bad, it’s low quality, over-priced, etc… but I know we all get some every time. Movies aren’t complete without the popcorn. Yes, I can make some at home but it’s not the same. It’s about the experience—the debates over sweet or salty, the balance of tucking the bucket into the crook of your elbow while picking up drinks and napkins, the aimless patting around in the dark so you can shove a handful of popcorn into your mouth without missing the movie by looking down—which you don’t get at home. I am also willing to bet 10 dollars that if you’re watching a movie on Netflix in your bed, you are not going to get up and make yourself popcorn. Not in that lethargic, “haven’t-moved-in-4-hours” state.

In addition to popcorn, I cannot be the only person who kind of misses that strange ‘stuck-in-a-time-loop’ feeling you get when you walk out at the end of the movie. Feeling like you’ve been in hyperspace and everything and nothing is moving at the same time. Walking down the long hallway of movie theaters, walking out the doors only to find the sun is suddenly gone and it’s half past midnight. Or if you enjoy a daytime cinema trip, suddenly being blasted with all the light and sunshine in the world. I feel like that vibe carries the same energy as going to the airport at 3 am for your family vacation and I strangely miss that chaos.

Being able to set aside time to enjoy a movie also has a sense of productivity. If your quarantine experience is anything like mine, you’ve started a lot of new shows and binge-watched them season by season. I’m taking synchronous classes while living in a timezone 16 hours ahead of Vancouver, so I’ve definitely spent a couple of hours watching Netflix at 3 in the morning to kill time before my next class. If streaming services were a procrastination tool to begin with, the pandemic has truly tested my limits of over-consumption. I loved physically going to the theaters because it gave me a break from all of my schoolwork. Nowadays, I’ve just been stuck staring at my screen for hours like a zombie.

Meeting friends and socializing is obviously a key feature of cinema dates. I think the socializing that comes with the movie-going experience is something everyone values. As a talkative person, I love chatting about the movie afterward with my friends. The pandemic has taken away a lot but the more time goes by, the more I realize the little things that made me happy and provided stress relief. I know a lot of other people are feeling the same as I am and I just hope everyone is holding on and taking care of themselves while distancing. Fingers crossed that everything gets better soon and we can all enjoy the superior movie viewing method again.

Thanks for tuning in and I’ll see you in the next cut of the B-roll!

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