I never thought I would say this, but after living in London for 9 months, the American thing I miss the most is the movie-going experience.
I mean, really, go to a theater, buy a ticket, chow on some popcorn, watch the flick, go home. What could really be so different?
Let me count the ways:
- American theaters have better sound systems. I never thought this would be that big a deal, but after straining to listen to dialog in more than one movie, I miss Dolby Atmos.
- American theaters have better seating. The chairs themselves aren’t bad in the London theaters I have been to, but there’s often just a single block of them sitting on a slight upward slope and you begin to feel a bit like a sardine in a can when the seats fill up.
- American theaters have bigger screens. Again, not terrible, but when you’re accustomed to a behemoth, these feel ancient and tiny. This point and all of the previous grievances can be explained by the fact that these theaters are occupying square footage in London, which means there’s only so much space for them. These things are often underground, warm and stuffy, and are, I can only imagine, a pain to renovate.
But I can get over those things. I could forgive the theaters all of their faults if it weren’t for one important, unforgivable thing.
European movie audiences are terrible.
The first 30-45 minutes of every movie I’ve been to in London has been accented by conversations, outrageously loud candy wrappers and tortilla chip trays, and the blue glow of phone screens. And I don’t mean during the ads and the previews. I’m talking about during the actual movie.
It’s seriously distracting.
And even when the furor dies down, the movie can still be punctuated by plenty of interruptions.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE YOU PEOPLE TO EAT YOUR NACHOS??
Now, let’s take a moment to find some perspective. If my least favorite thing about London is the movie-going experience, clearly this isn’t the end of the world. And it never would have occurred to me that this would bother me this much.
But, goddamnit, one of the first things I’m going to do when I get back to the States is go to a movie and I will weep tears of joy into my Twizzlers and it will be glorious.
2 thoughts on “What I Miss Most From America”
So, you are wrong about everything! Well, almost everything. The bit about the British movie audiences (can’t say ‘European’ anymore) is totally true. Other than that, I think you’ve been going to the wrong cinemas (the Odeon on Tottenham Court Road by any chance?) – have you tried the iMax in Greenwich (do ‘The Gallery’ thing http://www.odeon.co.uk/the-gallery/), or the Dome, or any of the wonderful Barbican cinemas (small I know, but they’re supposed to be). What about the various Curzons? Outside of London, most towns will have a full-on US-style multiplex. So girl, you need to get out more!
PS I went to the cinema in Chicago, thought it was awful, old fashioned, dirty, etc.
PPS You are, though still right about the audiences, check out Kermode’s rules – http://www.bbc.co.uk/5live/films/code_of_conduct.pdf
Very perceptive of you! Yes, the Odeon on Tottenham has been the scene of more than a few annoying experiences. There’s a Curzon two steps from my front door, but it’s so bloody expensive. At my favorite theatre in the States, I can still get an inexpensive matinee ticket for the 21+ balcony. But it’s the audiences that have really soured me!