I’ve found myself missing one thing more than others during this quarantine…
Dramatic reveal, I know. But that photo was from the premiere line of Catching Fire (I didn’t actually get to see it that night—long story), and finding it really brought me down memory lane. Plus, there’s way more drama to come in this post.
So… I miss movie theaters.
I miss the feeling of walking down the poster-filled walls, knowing you may see a movie that will change your life forever. (Mostly talking about Marvel movies here, of course.)
I miss the feeling of heading to the bathroom in the middle of a flick, going through the dark hall, completely alone, and smiling to yourself because you’re so happy to be in a theater. (I’ve done that a lot.) And then, of course, rushing to pee as fast as you possibly can.
Burnt popcorn smell, 80s-looking carpets, trailers I know every word to… just everything.
Movie theaters are truly my happy place.
To further emphasize my obsession, here is a long-gone paragraph from the original draft of my first novel, In the Sky:
“My feet must have known where they were taking me because somehow, I end up inside my favorite movie theater, sitting in my favorite chair, and have no idea how I got there. I crumble in my chair, replaying memories of Khloe and I dancing through the aisles during our favorite movies and sleeping across four chairs during our least favorite. Of all the times when she snuck in soda and it exploded; of all the times I cried for silly reasons like a movie I already knew the ending of. Of that one time when the unexpected happened on the screen in front of us and I had a mini-heart attack, clutching my knees to my chest and shaking.”
The “movie I already knew the ending of” was The Dark Knight Rises, which I saw a whopping three times in theaters… and sobbed every single time when it turned out Bruce was still alive.
“When the unexpected happened on the screen” is probably best described in this melodramatic journal entry about a particular Twilight finale:
“The entire audience screamed involuntarily, and my whole body started shaking and convulsing like I was about to fall out of my chair. I was gripping my knees for dear life as the terrified tears rolled out of my eyes. Because he was holding Carlisle’s head.” –Nov. 16, 2012–
This photo? From that night.
Here’s another journal entry from 2012 (evidently, a killer year for my movie-seeing career) all about a certain favorite franchise of mine:
“While I was sitting, watching the previews go by, my heart started to pick up its pace. When the theater went black, my body was impulsively and actually shaking. Then the movie started. The screen was black and white text came up telling everyone what exactly The Hunger Games were. Then all the words disappeared leaving the small words ‘The Hunger Games.’ By this point, my heart was about to explode.” –March 25, 2012–
I may have been ridiculous in my journal, but I wasn’t wrong. I remember the feeling so vividly. I still get the same one when that damn Marvel intro comes across the screen…
I know people are going to be scared to go back into movie theaters after this is all over. I know a ton of movies have gotten pushed back or released to streaming instead. I know movie theaters will probably be the last thing to reopen and that even when they do, it’s going to take time (and probably a vaccine) before people are comfortable in them.
I know all of this, but I want to believe that they won’t outright die. They may forever change—everything will—but I can’t believe they will go away completely. I just pray there are more people like me, people who still crave that theater experience, who will fight for them.
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