Sunday, April 28, 2013

Theater Going Experience

            I re-watched "Django Unchained" last night at my college's movie theater, it was the last movie they would be showing for the semester, it is the last weekend before undergrad finals begin, the movie is a huge success, the showing is free to students, all of these factors contributed to the place being packed.  And I would like to say that I have a sort of complaint: people laugh at weird times.

            I read an article by a black movie critic about the "Django Moment" when a black audience member will hear a white audience member laugh at some point, and get mad about there being nothing funny on screen.  I have a similar complaint, but it isn't a black/white thing, it is a smart/dumb thing.  Stupid people laugh at things that they are made nervous by.  Stupid people laugh at things that make them uncomfortable.  Stupid people need to stop going to theaters cause this shit is annoying.

            At one point the protagonist shoots a man with what amounts to a 1850's sniper rifle.  The man getting shot is helping his son plow a field.  The kid watches his father fall to the ground and die.  It is a sad scene that is referenced later as an important moment in Django's growth as a gunfighter in a hard world.  People laughed.

            At one point three slave traders are transporting a cage filled with three men and have to move dynamite from a pack horse to the cage, they throw the dynamite in and the slaves are scared.  It is an illustration of cruelty.  People laughed.

            A character is about to be castrated.  It is a dreadfully scary scene.  People laughed.

            There are funny things in the movie.  It is hysterical at various points, there are little things that happen even in the most explosively violent parts that elicit a chuckle.  But none of these things are in that camp, these things are supposed to be watched and felt on a different wavelength.  If you are laughing at these parts, then you are watching the movie wrong.

            What is more this is the sort of crap that falls into the "theater experience" people claim is part of movie viewing.  Presumably the other parts are sticky floors, burnt popcorn  ambient body odor, people checking their cell phones (something will provoke me to murder one day) and the film reel randomly failing in the middle of a presentation.  Theaters are kind of shit when you get down to it and I am wondering more and more why we hold them up so much.  Why did I re-watch a movie specifically to take advantage of it still being in a theater?  Seriously, why?  I could have rented the thing for 50 cents and had a lot more control over my viewing.  Could have bought it and been able to see a lot more of the features.

Seriously, can't they just shut the fuck up?
            This will probably not answer the question but I keep thinking of it.  I recall a science fiction show called "Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex".  "Ghost" primarily deals with cyber terrorism in the near future through the eyes of a group of talented counter terrorism and computer specialists.  In one episode a series of mysterious deaths prompts them to investigate, they discover that the deaths all had to do with people just plugging into a particular server, and then never leaving, eventually their bodies just starved.  So the lead investigator goes into the server to see what is the issue.  Turns out the server is the brain of a great movie director, the director was so sick of compromising his vision of his perfect film he decided to just turn his brain into a virtual reality theater to show the movie on a loop.  The people who died were so enraptured by the film they just watched it over and over until they died (kind of like those morons who killed themselves after watching "Avatar").  What is funny is that the inside of the server actually does take the form of a theater.  It's not that people are watching the movie in a private room, people are together in a massive room and can hear the murmur of each other's reactions, they can hear each other cry and laugh and experience art.

            So in a show entirely about the future  and technologies impact on the human experience, people still will get together to watch movies collectively in a dark room.  Not to discuss them afterward (because they never stop watching it) but because they feel that being a part of an audience is inherently part of watching a movie.

This show tends to be a good mix of the Cerebral and the Action.

No comments:

Post a Comment