In choosing the “home” side, it is easy to understand that financial limitations, physical handicaps, and personal preferences that make it much better for a lot of people to enjoy movies at home.
There is always the thrill of getting out of the house and going to the big theater. There is theater popcorn with stinky butter. There are hot dogs that have reached their prime from roasting or submersion in brackish water for days.
There is a screen so large that the real world dissolves. The sound is so loud that a huffing tyrannosaurus can knock us all out of our sticky seats!
For film stars, the Koch Bros and lottery winners, home entertainment systems can give some serious competition to the local megaloplex.
For the rest of us with our cable and our DVD players, we don’t have to hide out in the bathrooms, then sneak from theater to theater to ditch a disaster and find a better film.
Home distractions and interruptions are a hazard to serious film viewing. The theater allows full focus on the movie, unless Betty and George in the fifth row decide that NOW is the time to work out their problems with George’s flirting or Betty’s wandering eye.
At home, we can stop the movie and deal with interruptions. The theater enforces a continuous and seamless viewing experience. Without stops and starts, the movie will make more sense…that is, until the stinky popcorn runs out or the bladder is unhappy. Then parts of the theater film are lost for good and there is no instant replay.
These days, films have bloated up into three and four hours extravaganzas of film making self indulgence. This means that there will be bathroom breaks, food breaks and squirming around while some stranger of dubious hygiene does the funky chicken dance while trying to get to a middle of the row seat. This trauma lingers with a person and guarantees that a part of the movie will be lost, never to be retrieved.
No worry, most of the scenes are useless anyway. But at home we can take a nap. Loud explosions or screaming will inevitably wake us up and bring us back in time to see enough carnage or rompaging sex to give us our money’s worth.
Wait a minute! That man was shot three times, got beat with a night stick, ran for a mile, scaled an 8 foot wall, crawled out of a massive train wreck and now he’s making love standing up?
There’s no such luck in the theater. There, we are forced to sit and watch while a couple discusses their completely boring and irrelevant “relationship” issues or someone walks through FX for fifteen minutes, doing nothing.
We have too much time on our hands during these long movies. At the theater, we can’t fast forward, so we start to wonder how people who haven’t eaten, brushed their teeth or bathed for a week can make love in grassy fields that are full of bugs and snakes. Wouldn’t they be hungry by now? Do those women ever have periods? Why are there always parking spaces and cabs that show up right away? Why is everyone driving a Buick? They just threw up! Don’t they stink?
In the theater, there are talkers, squirmers, belchers, farters and humans who insist on being humans. How dare they?
Sometimes the whole audience is laughing so loud that we miss the rest of the joke. In live theater, the actors pause in order to let the laughter die down before they give the next line. Movies don’t care about us, so everyone in the scene just keeps plowing along. At home, there is rewind!
Being able to back up and view again gives big points to at home viewing. It is wonderful to go back and review a complicated scene. But some depraved at-home people have dirty and horrible motives and will repeat a sex scene five or ten times for about, say 10 minutes, in order to see if anything got past the censors.
Shame on them. They should stay at home.
DVDs and Blue Rays have “extras”. The home viewer can use these extras to learn more about the critical elements of the film. The extra features have stuff that will bore us to death while making us wonder how much extra we paid for them. Unless there are incredible FX, major historical facts or a serious monster or a coupon, none of this extra gift stuff matters.
Sex scenes are too scary when people are 12 feet high. Plus, it’s just downright embarrassing to sit and watch gargantuan, simulated sex people while jammed into reclining seats amongst a mass of strangers, some of whom will invariably start shifting around and breathing funny.
At home, we can go on line and read the gossip about who is gay or has really terrible cellulite. Or we can hit Wikipedia when those “intellectual” disagreements break out. And they will break out because we are at home where everyone can talk at will!
Humans lose the capacity to shut up at home. No one is immune from the need to talk about something in the home viewing environment.
At home we can talk to the movie, creating an interactive audience participation experience. We can’t do that at the theater unless we go to the Grand Theater in Oakland where audience participation is a great tradition that enhances the film experience, and no whining White people from Piedmont are allowed to ruin the experience.
In the end, watching movies at home is much more palatable than sitting in beer-fart infused seats or wondering what it is that those unique smells represent when they waft from the air conditioning vents.
Shoes will most likely not stick to our floors at home. At home, strange people’s rear ends will not usually pass by within inches of our faces. We know where the popcorn butter came from and we know when we purchased the hot dogs.
After a home movie, we do not need to burst out of the megaloplex, then barge ahead for half a mile on legs that have been deprived of circulation for three hours. We do not need to worry about the car starting or the drive home.
And no way do we need to stop on the way home to get milk and eggs, because we already went to the store in preparation for home movie night!
Here’s to movies at home, with few exceptions for adventure films or FX specials.