I’m beginning to wonder if I should give up on going to see movies at the multiplex.
Ordinarily we can go several weeks between visits, preferring the smaller theatres in town, but with the Oscars coming up there’s been a sudden influx of larger releases we want to see. But even though a couple of the films have been very good (Children Of Men, Pan’s Labyrinth) and several others have been worth seeing (such as last night’s choice, Babel which was intense but could have done with some significant editing), the the overall experience is far more exasperating than entrancing.
The problem is the noise. I enjoy being in an audience that is noticeably affected by a film. I have no problem with people making the occasional aside to the friend sitting next to them, preferably in a low voice. And I can handle people asking lots of plot questions when they’re watching a film at home. But every movie audience we’ve been in this year has included people who insist on talking through significant chunks of the film.
I’ve become well practiced at asking people to keep the noise down, but by the time I’ve decided to get up and ask, a significant portion of a film has been interrupted. It’s a discipline in which I don’t want to be practiced.
Watching films at home on DVD doesn’t have nearly the magic of a good cinema experience. But sometimes I can’t help but wonder whether those experiences have lapsed into myth, and whether it would be better to give up on the possibility in favour of actually getting to watch movies.