Monday, April 25, 2011
I want to be alone (at the movies)
Going to the movies by myself is one of the things I really love to do.
It hasn't always been this way. The first time I went to the movies alone was only a couple of years ago. I can't even remember what film I saw. I do remember feeling incredibly self-conscious and convinced that everyone was staring at me, wondering why I hadn't brought along a friend or a boyfriend. I kept remembering a story my sister had told me about when she went to the movies by herself and this group came up to her, asked if she was saving the seat next to her for someone else and she had to respond that, no, actually she wasn't waiting for anyone.
For anyone who doesn't make a habit if going to movies solo it's hard to explain why it feels so nice. I like seeing movies with other people too, it's just that there's something super-indulgent about doing it alone, particularly because it's often at slightly odd hours of the day: like a Sunday afternoon as opposed to a Saturday night or in the middle of a working day - one of my favourite pastimes when I have a day off from work. There's something good, too, about feeling completely autonomous, that makes it more enjoyable. If I think a movie's shit I can walk out. I don't have to worry about whether the person I'm with is enjoying the movie and laughing in the same places I am. I don't have to discuss the movie or offer an opinion after it's over. I can just enjoy it (or not), think about it (or not) and then get on with my day or night.
With all that in mind it occured to me yesterday while I sat in one of the cinema as Luna Leederville watching Barney's Version, that there is a right and a wrong way to go to a movie alone.
1. Don't get there too early. Nothing will make you feel more self-conscious than sitting by yourself in a cinema for 15 minutes before the film starts, especially as the cinema starts to fill up around you with couples and groups of friends. You will be convinced everyone is staring at you and depending on how weird and uncomfortable you look, you may be right.
2. Don't get there too late. I arrived late for a solo screening of Let Me In, a remaked of Let the Right One In. It had been a sudden decision to go (I was in Leederville, it started to rain) and so by the time I entered the cinema the credits had already started. Unfortunately the credits were really really dark and I couldn't see A THING. I had to feel my way to a chair only to realise as the room gradually lightened that I was sitting... almost on top of of the cinema's only other (male) occupant, who presumably thought I was some kind of weird sexual predator.
3. Look nice. I always check out other people who are at the movies by themselves, whether I'm there solo or not. Rightly or not I have a tendency to group them automatically into two classes: people who enjoy seeing movies by themselves and people who have no choice but to see movies by themselves. Generally speaking the former look respectable, well-adjusted and don't have weird stains on their pants. They also look like they might have taken a shower in the last week or so.
4. Don't see Barney's Version. Seriously. Scott Speedman is insanely hot and charming, Paul Giametti is good and Dustin Hoffman is excellent but the last movie I saw with this much forced mawkishness was Forrest Gump. And I really didn't care much for Forrest Gump.