A theater, a good theater, has just an attractive enough marquee to draw us in, and its atmosphere is both rich in character and antiquated. Like any palace, there’s a regality that keeps us alert, so when the lights dim and the show overwhelms us, we’re awake for every second of the ride. The experience is intimate and overpowering, a rush of emotions drowning connecting us while a simultaneous veil of darkness isolates us from the rest of the audience.
It’s a distinct experience you can’t get at home (and not just because the screen is larger). Theaters have a carefully blended aroma of spilled soda, popcorn, and candy. The seats are slightly less comfortable, and you dare not lounge too freely in fear that you might catch the plague from whoever sat in that chair before you. And the sound!
For my 2017 yearly wrap-up, I decided to list my top 5 theater experiences. These are the ones that moved me.
I originally mailed this letter off to the corporate headquarters of Marcus Theatres on February 14, 2014. I included my home address with the letter but never received a response (probably for good reason). It was in response to an advertisement they played before every movie, one they have since removed and replaced.
Dear Marcus Theatres,
There was something about your advertisement, nestled after the previews and before the feature film, that seized hold of my attention. My head was locked into place; my eyes were pried open, directed solely at the screen as that wondrous spot of theatre shimmied its way into the deep recesses of my brain…
…and my heart.
I’ve seen it at least once a week, and like clockwork, the same performance grapples me snugly, like a plummeting Gotham-ite clutched tightly by the Batman amidst a free-fall from Gotham’s tallest clock tower. Like Hooper, submerged in that cage in Jaws, my world was rocked. Shattered. Split in ‘twain from Sir Robin of Locksley’s arrow. Nestled in those comfy theater seats, it was as if I were a fair maiden on Ryan Gosling’s couch.
But I’m not. I’m a man. Rugged. Testosterone-fueled. I eat my fried chicken with my fingers, and I’m heavily Reptilian-brained, like any filmgoer raised during the height of 80’s action cinema. And even I, this hardened, steroid-raging meathead, was sold on a Magical Movie Rewards Card.