Moviegoing Rituals

posted by Michael Zoldessy on December 29, 2006 at 8:15 am

Whenever I go to ArcLight to see a movie, as long as I’m with a certain friend, we always buy their caramel corn in addition to their regular popcorn. We have this little routine that she came up with where we eat some of the popcorn first to get our fingertips a bit greasy. Once they’re sufficiently oily enough, we start munching on the caramel corn. One without the other would be just okay, but together they have an unbeatable synergy. I don’t know why it works and maybe it doesn’t entirely in the end, but it’s tradition and any trip to the ArcLight feels naked without it.

Another friend and I regularly see event films together opening night. After lining up hours in advance, as soon as they let us into the theater, we race in quickly make our way to the most center row. At the point we begin counting seats. As if just being comfortable in the centermost seats weren’t enough, we have to be positive that we are at the true middle of the auditorium. Maybe we just revel in the sightlines or maybe we get a certain satisfaction of seeing the faces of the next moviegoers arriving that look for the best seats in the house and find us in them.

Perhaps none is more important to me these days than of course, the theater listings. It used to be that I’d just get excited when I knew the actual times a new movie would be shown opening weekend. Like I care about times now. I want to know what’s playing where.

Again, sorry I’m spoiled. I get to see movies in Los Angeles so sometimes it can be an embarrassment of riches. But I love it! Whether it be Hollywood, Westwood or the countless treasures in surrounding neighborhoods, I gotta say, it’s pretty nice. Don’t worry though. I get slapped back into reality regularly too when I find that a big movie isn’t opening in any of the single-screeners. Then, yeah, I’m not so happy. Each Wednesday or Thursday though, it’s a wide open playing field full of possibilities(not entirely of course, due to the fact that one film will usually play at certain places depending on the studio, I can pretty much tell in advance. I try to convince myself otherwise though to keep the dream alive.).

Moviegoing rituals certainly bring us back into the theaters. They make it into an event and like one of the reasons we all visit this site, prove that it’s more than just what’s on the screen.

What are your rituals for the theater? Do you arrive at the theater an hour before showtime? Have any games that involve the pre-show slides? Come out with it! I can’t be the only one.

(Thanks to traveller2020 for providing the photo.)

We encourage you to share your thoughts on the subject. For comments on the article or the blog itself, feel free to email me.

Comments (4)

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on December 29, 2006 at 9:13 am

Here are a few of mine to get this thread started…

  • I usually have a Coke, though I’m giving up soda for the new year.

  • Normally, I don’t buy popcorn. (I ate enough popcorn for a lifetime when I worked at a movie theater in college.)

  • I prefer to sit in the lower middle of the theater. Aisle seats (especially those on the right) are nice. In stadium theaters, I often sit in the very back row of the lower level — people assume non-stadium seats are bad, but that’s often not true.

exit on December 29, 2006 at 5:51 pm

Michael, you must be fun to go to the movies with…

In the old days I liked to get to the theatre early to explore the place, find a favorite seat, get snacks, take in the ambience, and be happily settled in when the curtains opened. (of course none of this applies today)

I always try to see a movie mid to late afternoon on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. That’s been a steady ritual for many years. Thanksgiving is preferably a big holiday themed movie. Christmas is usually whatever film interests me most at the time. New Year’s Day is typically something that just opened at Christmas and is an event film and/or at an event venue.

Sightlines are very important to me (quelle surprise) – I always want to be dead center, but with a couple exceptions, I always seek out the very last row of the theatre – to ensure no one will be kicking the back of my seat. Most of these crazy plexes are so oddly laid out that the back row is the only place to get eye level with the center of the screen. It’s also affords a better chance of not having your view cut into by someone in front of you.

Exceptions to the back row rule include some of the most famous LA showplaces. I’m not about to disclose my actual preferences there because the seats I like are popular enough. When a current hit went on sale for New Year’s Day, my favorite spot was sold out in a couple hours. Suffice it to say I generally like to be eye level with the center of the screen and NOT below it looking up.

All that said, I still rarely go out to movies!

FeverDog on February 10, 2007 at 1:39 pm

I too prefer the last row of the front section of stadium houses – I like to look up at the screen. Always the center of the aisle too.

Usually get pretzel bites and a Coke, sometimes with either Reese’s Pieces, Twizzlers or gummy fish.

Rare that I go opening weekend – the crowds usually are loud and distracting. A mid-week show — sometime between 3 and 9 pm — works for me.

exit on February 10, 2007 at 5:02 pm

Actually looking UP at a screen is what I hate the most about the thoughtless layout of most cineboxes!

I like to be EYE LEVEL with the center of the screen. Otherwise it feels like we got in late to a drive-in and had to park in the front row right under the screen.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment