It's two hours till crunch time and I just saw my friend break Darth Vader's helmet. On May 18, 2005, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was being released at midnight. I gathered up 25 of my closest friends and we got ready for a spectacle.
After a tight refresher regiment (I wrote a schedule, see attached photo), we headed over to the Regal Richland Crossing 12 and waited for our lives to be completed. We partook in trivia contests, lightsaber duels, and recitations of favorite scenes, and at 11:00 we descended over a packed auditorium and kowtowed before the 22'x55' screen, awaiting the amalgam of sound and images we would be sucked into like Boba Fett and the Sarlacc pit.
On July 20, the hightly awaited Batman sequel, "The Dark Knight Rises" hits screens everywhere. The talent is impressive, the trailers have been titilating, and advance reviews are solid. Everything's coming up Milhouse.
Work schedules have increased and free time's gone out the window, but I still managed to corral a core group of friends together for the 12:01am screening this Thursday night. We're simply fans of good movies and I couldn't ask for better friends to see it with, but overall I'm interested in something beyond what the film has to offer.
I'm interested in the communal viewing experience. It’s the act of people leaving their homes, sitting down in a room full of strangers, and engaging with entertainment simultaneously. Sure, there's inconveniences, but they build up our tolerance of being annoyed, makes it so when we are ticked off, it’s not so terrible. That woman kicking my seat, that baby crying, that insolent clerk, I can deal with that. Piece of cake. Like Shakespeare in the park or a sitcom filmed before a live studio audience, entertainment is better when you're seeing it with other people.
So go out with your people and see a midnight movie. Hit a diner afterwards and get home at 6am. Tell everyone at work or school the next day how awesome it was. Or it'll be lame and you'll complain about how movies are so expensive and you'll pirate it next time. But hopefully you'll have an experience where a bunch of stunning ladies dress as Twi'leks and dance, or a guy dressed as Dumbledore bums a smoke off you, or someone breaks Darth Vader's helmet and his defeator does a victory lap around the theater, everyone singing an obscure cut from the soundtrack.
Movies are meant to be enjoyed in the company of others. Nerd out a bit. Because if we evolve into a society that just devours media independently, sullenly staring into our devices in a dark room, then the Joker truly wins.