Welcome to Breaking Geek, a column where uber-geek Nick “Dollface” Doll offers commentary and reactions to the most interesting news of the week (or whatever else he wants), using his expansive knowledge of all things geek! This issue is our latest “Breaking Geek Discussion” with input from LRM’s Editor-in-Chief, and my friend, Joseph Jammer Medina, as well as LRM contributors Cam, Seth, and Kyle.
Here at LRM, we love movies (who doesn’t?). In 2018, we have more options than ever to consume these tantalizing treats filled with magic, emotion, and absolute spectacle.
I’m not just referring to the many services and devices that allow you to view movies at home — though that will be a part of this Breaking Geek Conversation — but rather the many offerings found today at your local theater. Now, more than ever, theater chains (like where I work) are fighting against your urge to stay at home, some offering alcohol, true dining experiences, reclining chairs that beat your La-Z-Boy, and premium format screens such as IMAX, RPX (Regal), and XD (Cinemark) that offer more channels of sound than ever before.
Yes, we all love movies at LRM, yet we also have different preferences when it comes to how we view them.
Dollface: If I could afford it, I would ALWAYS go IMAX to every movie offered in the format. Yes, these newfangled Digital IMAXs are not the same gigantic IMAX screen you remember, but with only one or two movies a year max that shoot even a single scene in the original 70mm aspect ratio, you’re still getting that extra 26% picture that Marvel Studios is always touting.
I like it big and loud. I’d like to see every movie offered in 3D in both formats, if I enjoyed it — if I really enjoy a movie I watch it 3-5 times at the theater, as my job allows — as each is a slightly different experience, and sometimes 2D is best, though I like to know for sure.
I love recliners and being able to bring a beer into the theater, but I can’t stand actual food service, as it distracts from the film and sometimes these types of theaters keep the lights too high. I was at an establishment in Denver that kept the lights at trailer level the entire movie so they could serve food, so I could barely make out Black Panther in any scene that took place at night.
Finally, if I could watch every movie in a sold-out house, I would. Even if I’ve seen a movie, I can feed off the audience reaction like I’m seeing a movie for the first time. There is something exciting about being in a theater full of people excited for a big film, and as someone who doesn’t understand sports, the theater is my church.
Jammer: When it comes to action films, IMAX is generally the way to go. Few things beat that giant-ass screen and the steep incline of stadium seating that true IMAX offers. In a close second, I’d opt for those LieMax screens — you know, the ones that have the IMAX branding, but whose screen is much smaller. They may not live up to the standard IMAX in terms of overall size, but you’re more than likely able to get a comfier seat out of the deal since the seats tend to be spaced out much better.
Though, when all said and done, I’d argue there’s no perfect way to experience movies. Each film is different, with there be other strengths and weaknesses to each viewing type. I adore watching movies at home. Sure, I don’t have the biggest screen, but I’m able to keep my lazy-ass at home. It’s cheaper, more intimate, and I don’t need to worry about being stuck with a terrible audience. In a state where I used to live, there was no goddamned respect for the art of film, and you had people walking in and out like nobody’s business. It felt more like I was in an airport than a movie theater. This doesn’t get better the further east you go in the States, which only drives me inside more. Any film that doesn’t have an explosion is often much better suited to the small screen. I’m really weird in that I don’t like seeing comedies with audiences. I’ll laugh when I damn well please, thank you very much, and like being able to take bathroom and beer breaks when possible.
This may make it seem like I don’t care for the theater experience as a whole, I’d disagree. I don’t think there’s any one perfect experience for viewing a film. Today’s advances in tech allow us many options based on one’s own living situation, money on-hand, home theater setup, and just how engaged you need to be while watching a film. It’s for that reason that I think there’s no better time to be a film fan. I may slant towards a home theater setup now, but next month, I may change my opinion altogether, and I’ll be happy to have these options available to me. Cam: I am going to be the heathen of the group and fly the flag for home viewing. Whilst I enjoyed the cinema experience when I was younger and TVs were awful, these days I can watch in crystal clear HD or 4K for some. Also, UK cinema audiences are far quieter than what I’ve heard about in the US. No one screams or cheers in UK cinemas, or at least none I have attended.
So in a way that’s the only part of the cinema experience I think I’d appreciate more. I’d rather just be sat at home with the ability to pause to deal with children, etc. I attend cinemas now only for the movies I am most excited to see, the rest I wait for Blu-ray or streaming.
I just don’t feel the need to watch a film along with a group of other people to appreciate it more. A cinema visit takes planning and expense for me I’d rather do without. If I could watch all the new movies by ‘renting’ them then I’d do it in a heartbeat for everything save perhaps Star Wars; yes, even the MCU blockbusters.
I’m strange and anti-social that way. I also think I’m a better judge of a movie once I’ve seen it at home.
As a young geek, I can remember the many times my mom, dad, or extended family member would suffer through repeated viewings of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, Pokemon: The Movie, Mortal Kombat, and others. As I got older I could ride my bike to the theater and catch matinees and special summer events. I had great parents who would buy tickets for rated R films like Idle Hands, The Faculty, and The Matrix for me and my friends. Yes, they had permission from their parents! I was there for the Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition and caught my first midnight preview in middle school with The Phantom Menace. Are yuh getting the point? I LOVE GOING TO THE THEATER!
IMAX is great but it’s not necessary to me. It might be the nostalgia that allows me to enjoy traditional seats so much, but it’s also because it feels more personal. Does vastness of an IMAX room make me feel less immersed? I know what you’re thinking, how can that be with such a large screen? I think it’s like seeing a concert in an Amphitheater versus a small Club. I like being with a crowd, but I prefer that crowd to be smaller. Speaking of the crowd how great has it been with movies like The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and Infinity War and all of the crowd reactions? I won’t lie, I do usually seek out a large format screening room for my first time viewing a large Blockbuster like a Star Wars or Marvel Cinematic Universe film. That’s because I’m not so much looking for the movie theater experience as I am the premium way the movie was meant to be seen.
I’ll also point out the romantic environment of a movie theater. How many of us have had first dates at the movie theaters? How many of our parents can remember their dates at a movie theater? Yes, it is kind of cliche, but I love to put my arm around my wife in a dark room and enjoy a great story together. Plus it’s a great date night to give us a break from my toddler.
I guess to sum it all up I feel going to the movies is a total experience where the screening room, the crowd, the concessions, and the movie are all equally important. Yes there are films I want to see in a premium format, but I am happy as can be in a traditional chair with a Coke in one hand and the other arm around my wife’s shoulders. Go and enjoy the movies.
What is your perfect way to view a film? Let us know in the comments below!