Fuck, I miss the movies.
There seems to be this idea, among people who consider themselves casual movie watchers, that if someone says they are really into movies they must mean they watch sophisticated movies. Oscar nominations. Film festival indies. Black and white classics. Silent films. Like there’s an entire mahogany shelf in the middle of my living room with nothing but The Godfather on Blu-Ray in the middle of it, a tasteful spotlight pointing directly at the case. Like, not only do I watch these “higher-class” movies, it’s all I watch, and if you tried to get me into a Batman movie at gunpoint I’d instead bite on my cyanide-filled fake molar.
This is only coming from personal experience, and maybe I’m reading too much into it. I feel like I’ve had some iteration of this conversation with every new coworker I have ever met.
New Coworker: So, what do you like to do for fun?
Me: Oh, my husband and I see a lot of movies, we try to go once a week!
New Coworker: Oh, so did you see Highfalutin Oscar Nom Movie That Came Out Last Week?
Me: No, last week we saw Marvel’s Newest Seizure.
New Coworker: …because Oscar Nom was sold out?
Me: No, we just wanted to see the Marvel movie more.
New Coworker: So you’ll see it next week?
Me: I mean, maybe? But we’ll probably see Remake of Nineties Sitcom Into an Action Movie, that one’s getting some good press.
New Coworker, now crying: O…kay.
What I’m saying is, there’s this expectation with some people that if you go out of your way to specify that you like watching movies, then you must mean something “better” than the stuff they’re watching. And I can’t speak for everyone, but that’s not what I mean at all.
Is There a ‘Gastropub’ Equivalent for Movie Theaters?
As with all things, I blame foodies. Or, rather, this concept of ‘foodies’ that I don’t think exists as broadly as magazine editors want us to think. You know, the stately, refined, sort of high-pitched and prissy type, definitely holier-than-thou, stalking city streets in search of the most exquisite foods to sate his delicate palate, in his waistcoat and expensive Italian shoes. This ‘foodie’ or ‘gastronome’ as he most certainly prefers to be called will only eat at restaurants that are a) reserved out for months, b) owned by certain household-name chefs, and c) only take the Amex Black card. He holds his breath when he drives past a McDonalds and he doesn’t tip.
I’m sure there are some people out there like this. Remember kids, if you can dream up an asshole, that asshole is out there somewhere, waiting to cut you off in traffic. But, really, a foodie is just someone who likes to eat for the sake of trying new things. I don’t think there’s anything in the Foodie Oath that says it is has to be expensive food, or hard to find food, or fucking deconstructed. Anybody who has eaten at every fast food joint and has Opinions on who has the better burger/fries combo could be a foodie.
You know who’s a foodie? Guy Fucking Fieri.
If you hadn’t heard, we’re all on board with Guy Fieri now, and the fact that we weren’t sooner is a moral failing on all of our parts. Just because he looks like ska music was personified and then immediately electrocuted we all decided he was stupid and ignorable, and then he had the audacity to make a television show specifically about the fattiest, greasiest food across the country, just because that’s the kind of food he’s passionate about, so we just threw him in the trash and mocked him relentlessly, like we’re all above eating barbeque brisket or a double bacon cheeseburger every once in a while. I don’t know him, and I can’t find much about his personal life to tell me what kind of dude he is in real life, but basically we all judged a book by its donkey sauce and we should be ashamed of ourselves.
My Point is That I’m Into Movies the Same Way Guy Fieri is a Foodie.
Have you ever actually seen an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives? That man loses his got-danged mind over a meat-lover’s pizza with the exact same breathless enthusiasm any of those other Food Network stars get excited about a mother sauce. He fawns over these cooks and chefs the same way that kid down the hall in your college dorm who always dressed in black and listened to nothing but classical piano would fawn over Rachmaninov. Guy Fieri is out there right this second, standing over the shoulder of a dude who owns a restaurant in a strip mall, drooling on his shirt, waiting for this absolute master of his craft to be done with a motherfucking biscuits and gravy burrito so he can deep throat it and scream in ecstasy about mouth feel the same way the douche your roommate is dating screams for complete silence every time he decides he needs to watch Citizen Kane again.
Guy Fieri is a man who appreciates the passion and the artistry that go into the foods your everyday John and Jane Schlub are enjoying. That’s how I am with movies.
For the record, I do see Oscar nominated movies and indie darlings. I paid money to see The Lighthouse, and the last movie Peter and I got to see in an actual movie theater before the pandemic shut all joy down was Portrait of a Lady on Fire and we loved it. It’s just that I’ve also seen all the Marvel movies in theaters. And the Mission Impossible’s. And every Fast and Furious movie. I love horror movies like It Follows and Midsommar. I also love slasher movies and Insidious or whatever Blumhouse is putting out these days. My favorite movies are Jojo Rabbit, Goon, and Into the Spider-Verse. I love camp. I love schlock. I’ve seen Twister and Con Air more times than I can count because in the ‘90’s and ‘00’s they were my ‘if I find this on cable somewhere I’m watching it now, no questions asked’ movies.
I’m not putting forth some opinion like ‘the movies for the everyman are better than the movies for the elite.’ I’m not trying to put forth any general opinions on movies whatsoever. I’m trying to say:
When I Say I Love Movies, I Mean I Love All Movies
I love going to the theater and getting snacks and sitting in my seat and getting that excited, goosy feeling when the lights go down.
I love the trailers, and getting to view the challenge of being able to condense a movie down to two and a half minutes and have it be inviting and mysterious at the same time.
I don’t like when people talk in a movie because they’re distracted but I fucking love when people audibly react to the movie: gasps, cheers, screams, that one time in Chronicle when the teenager two rows in front of me went, “I know they did not just kill the black guy first.”
I love getting so into a movie I completely dissociate from reality and walk back to my car in a daze.
I love seeing movies alone, sitting in an insulated bubble, knowing I’m the only whose joy from this movie I’m in charge of, and no one will distract me.
I love seeing a movie with my husband, and then going to a restaurant or bar and dissecting the movie for nuance or hidden features, and if this one sounds elitist please note the movie that had us talking for the longest was X-Men: Apocalypse.
I love watching terrible movies at home, having fun with how ridiculous they are.
Movies are a passion of mine, something I don’t think I would ever want to write for but also something I’m never going to get tired of watching. The next time I tell someone I like movies, I need to find a way to convey what I mean: not like some slim critic in a weird looking hat and smoking four cigarettes at the same time creaming himself over the latest inscrutable black and white feature from someone we’re all pretty sure is a space alien anyway, but like Guy Fieri, standing mercilessly behind whatever director Disney managed to snag for their next Star Wars movie and salivating behind their backs until I can watch all the pretty nonsense and scream about the meaning of the lightsaber’s color.