Licitra: The big-screen cinema experience still beats Netflix

The AMC movie theater in Hamilton Township, NJ is well-loved for the experiences it offers, as well as the movies it shows. - Photo courtesy of Steve Elgersma on Flickr

These days, you can watch a movie on pretty much anything, your TV, phone, laptop, tablet, or PC. For most people, that’s a good thing.

Immediate access means that you don’t have to go out of your way to just chill out and enjoy some screen time. I’ll admit that I’ve taken advantage of this luxury myself. Having Netflix sitting there in my pocket helped make the time go a lot faster back in high school, and even now I’ll find myself scrolling through my recommended list on my way back from classes. 

But, with that ease of access comes a significant drawback. You’re losing the true movie experience: the smell of buttery popcorn hitting your nostrils when you walk into the theater; the lights dimming after the previews come to a close; the silence of the crowd as those opening credits begin to play.

Not exactly the same sensation you get when you start watching your movie while standing in line for your coffee at 7-Eleven. 

Going to the movies is something that’s becoming more and more uncommon as time marches on and that’s really a shame. For me, taking a trip to the theater to watch a movie I have been dying to see for months is just as exciting as it was when I was a kid – maybe even more so, now that I’m more aware of why I’m enjoying myself.

No matter your home setup, or how good your new AirPods are, nothing beats the sound quality of  a movie playing in Imax. There isn’t a TV in the world that can show you a film the same way the big screen can. And maybe it’s just me, but the popcorn that comes out of the microwave never tastes quite as good as the popcorn in that giant bucket enhanced with whatever addictive mixture they concoct at the concession stands. 

I get it. For some people, movies just aren’t a big deal. To many, there is no difference between watching their favorite movies on the silver screen or their cracked iPhone screen. But there is more to the theater than just the movie your watching. 

I don’t use the word “experience” lightly. Thanks to the internet, and the millions of trailers that assault our eyes every time we watch something on YouTube, release dates of upcoming movies are ingrained  in our minds.

This process of overwhelming advertising is likely doing more harm than good when it comes to what most people want out of their next stop at the movies. Any surprises the movie may have had in store are ruined before you have a chance to enjoy them.  Instead of picking a movie that you’ve seen a gazillion times before, try something new – something fresh. As hard as it might be to believe, these movies exist. 

Taking a chance on something new is a process my friends and I have been doing for years. And while we have seen our fair share of crap, the times where we were pleasantly surprised made it all worth it.

Movies like “Upgrade”, “La La Land”, “The Greatest Showman”, and “Sorry to Bother You” were never on my radar before and yet I was so glad I had the chance to see them in theaters.

“Sorry to Bother You” in particular had a moment so shocking to the audience that, to this day, I have still yet to see an audience react the same way they did. And that experience may never have occurred if we hadn’t opted to be a little adventurous. 

So next time you’re looking for something to do, try taking a stop at the movies. Bring a group of friends and gamble on something you’ve never heard of.

Take a date on what’s probably one of the best, if not the most cliched spot to go. Or just head out by yourself and get swept up to a world that isn’t your own.

Even if Netflix is just a tap away, don’t forget where the real magic is. Sitting in a luxury seat with a bag of popcorn on your lap and a movie just about to begin. 

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