While movie dates are the typical arena for courtship, I've been less fond of them in real life. I once made the mistake of going to Sin City with a potential beau; I loved it, because it was mean and violent, noir-ish and very sexy, while he emerged from the theater green and sweating. It was not a love connection. Even when both people are equally interested in the movie, it doesn't make for a really satisfying romantic experience: there's that blocky arm rest, which derails all cuddly moments; there's the investment of what feels like a ton of money into a two-hour chunk of time, so we had better like it, dammit; there's the fact that I pee every ten minutes and the return to a darkened movie theater, to someone whose face might not etched in my brain, is the epitome of social awkwardness; and, when faced with the comfy alternative that is throwing on DVD and making out on the couch, movie dates start to look downright bizarre.
When we asked my sister what she wanted to do for her twenty-third birthday, she replied, "The same thing I did for my eleventh birthday: see Toy Story." I had forgotten that it's sometimes hard to corral five adults into doing the same thing at the same time. I was excited: movie events like the long-awaited third installment of a wildly successful, childhood-defining, technologically ground-breaking don't come along every day (or do they?). I hadn't seen a movie in theaters since, what, Zombieland?
I've seen more movies this fall than I have in a long time, courtesy of a new beau who digs cinema and likes to see new movies on the big screen. I saw Tron: Legacy with this guy, along with Back to the Future (!!) and Black Swan and Seven Samurai. We tried to see a movie New Year's Day, a tradition that dates back, in my family, to the Stone Age (the 1960s), but we only got as far as the Chinese food part of the Chinese-and-a-movie part of the agenda before we realized that we had seen everything and/or had zero interest in movies like Marmaduke.
My family is pretty firmly in the let's-rent-a-movie camp; my parents watch a lot of movies (or, in my dad's case, "watch" a lot of movies: his eyes are closed and he's snoring away) on the couch, with blankets tucked in around them and a big bowl on popcorn between them. Family Christmas traditions when we were younger included a yearly family sleepover in the TV room. Snuggled together, with Tim Allen transmogrifying into Santa Claus on the television, wired on cans of Coca-Cola and wearing matching flannel snowman pajamas, my family felt very much like a unit. I think this is a product of spending my middle-school years marooned in Manotick, an amenity-free village on the outskirts of Ottawa. A teeny library and a couple video shops were the only source of filmed entertainment - going to the movies meant a trip into Ottawa proper, a journey my parents were loath to make in the wintry, icy months.
Plus, when I was a kid, movies = magic, for sure. I think this is mainly because my main source of cinema was the Disney vaults, a place that gifted me with Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and Aladdin, and Robin Hood, and Fantasia (a movie that my toddler sister had be be escorted out of, screaming, due to scariness...too many brooms is a frightening thing). As I got older, I began to realize that not every movie was a good movie; most kid's movies aren't dreadful, but a lot of the schlock that's produced for teens and young adults is virtually unwatchable. Growing up was definitely bittersweet, at least for my film-buff side.
Now, I read reviews for flicks I'm never going to watch, stream documentaries, buy second-hand movies, and occasionally rent something. My parents, when I'm home, always offer a movie night, although their tastes have changed over the years and I'm not always interested in the latest German depress-a-thon. I love cuddling up in a movie theatre, or on the couch, to watch something fun, or thought-provoking, or just entertaining. Because that's the bottom line, past dating and family nights and all that jazz. Movies are supposed to be fun.