As far back as I can remember, movie theaters have been a huge part of my life. Be it an AMC Multiplex or a small independent venue like the Somerville Theater, sitting in an oversized, cushy faux leather chair and sitting back for a few hours has always been a huge treat for me. Although I can watch movies from home, it is still an utter joy to go to a movie theater, pay an exorbitant price for popcorn, and sit back and watch whatever, because no matter the movie, movie theaters are just a great place to be. It broke my heart when movie theaters closed at the beginning of March; theaters are my favorite place in the world, and to be away from them just felt wrong.
I was incredibly excited to hear, then, that on August 20, movie theaters across the state of Massachusetts would be reopening, despite the Somerville Theater, my favorite movie venue and preferred place of worship would not be.
Intent on filling as many seats as possible, theaters reopened by showing classics, such as Back to the Future, The Empire Strikes Back, and Grease. I bought a ticket for Inception’s 10th-anniversary event, excited to revisit a modern classic which I barely remembered. Noah Wells ’22, a fellow cinephile, and I bought tickets for August 21, and we eagerly awaited the chance to be back. Both of us were excited about the movie: he had never seen it, and I hardly remembered anything other than that it made my 11-year-old head explode. We were far more excited, however, about the idea of going to the movies: the smell of popcorn, sodas, candy, and throwing bits of popcorn at those who have the audacity to use their phones during movies. We met up in front of the AMC multiplex in Boston Common and got burgers at the McDonald’s a few blocks away before the movie.
We were in for a rude awakening when we were told by the usher that concession stands were closed—they were forbidden by the Commonwealth to serve food at this point. I was both surprised and disappointed. The last time I had gone to a movie without popcorn was Joker, and that was probably the worst movie experience I had had. Still, I thought, it’s good to be in a theater.
And I was right; about halfway through the movie, I realized that my bad experience with Joker had nothing to do with popcorn, because I had a great time at Inception. It is a great movie, one perfect for movie theaters, and meant to be played LOUDLY.
Being back in a movie theater was a religious, almost surreal experience, one that, taking health risks into account, I am not sure I would recommend to the average person. For me, it was like being in my grandparents’ house after it had been sold, when all the pictures had been removed; the furniture was there, but it wasn’t the same. It felt like a rough sketch of being in a theater, with the little details all gone. When the pandemic ends, and we can all finally be elbow-to-elbow watching something that might be great, good, or terrible, I would emphatically recommend that everyone go to the movies. But right now, I would advise those who do not love movies as much as -if not more than- breathing, to just stay home.