Sometimes sitting in the garden feels like the biggest ever BIG SCREEN.

Dad I’ve really got use to our home based movie nights. I was thinking that I’m not sure I ever want to go to the cinema again. Too many people. Too much stress.”

Going to the cinema has always been a bit of a lottery with our Son. We need to carefully manage the process. Arrive before the queues start to form. Carefully select a movie time which will be quiet. Sit on the very front row as this is likely to be empty and you won’t get anyone in front of you. Then keep you fingers crossed that no one sits close to us. Wait till everyone else has left before we depart. So many stress points for both our son and parents. We’ve had to leave movies within minutes (or even before they have started). Slowly the number of movies he would endure the cinema stress would reduce rapidly. Before the virus took hold it was down to just Marvel movies. So no I am not surprised that he’s backing away from cinemas. Sadly I think he won’t be the only one.

It’s not helped that our cinema options are limited. The only cinema he would go to in the end was a large muliplex in the city. It ran early morning showings which where usually empty. Unfortunately they have redesigned the cinema. Bigger, armchair like seats have been installed. Bigger seats means less seats. Less seats means fewer chances to find space. Which means the screenings feel so much busier. For someone with Aspergers that is a major issue. So are the cinema trips over? Well if they are then I have so many memories from them

  • Taking mum to see the Horse Whisperer. She hadn’t been to a cinema in many many decades. She was a little taken aback (and very relieved) that PATHE News wasn’t shown before the movie and she was amazed that people didn’t wait for the credits to finish – as a child she had to wait for the national anthem.
  • Taking son to see one of the Smurf movies and realising we were the only people watching it. Having your very own giant big screen is such a cool feeling.
  • My first date with my partner was to see The Phantom Menace. Unbelievably our relationship survived that experience.
  • Going to our local cinema in the nearest market town. It always looked such a small cinema from the outside. Unbelievably it was actually way smaller. We watched Black Panther with a couple of his old school friends and it felt like we took up half the seats. A screen probably smaller than most peoples TV and with just a handful of rickety old seats. That was the main screen, lord knows how small the second screen is.
  • I was brought up in a seaside town where the cinema was on the beach. During a high tide the gents toilets would flood.

Photo from Trip Adviser

  • Went to see the Blues Brothers at that cinema and someone let off a stink bomb. Only the very hardy got to see the end of that one. Luckily a head cold and a blocked up nose gave me a distinct advantage.
  • Went to see BMX Bandits there as well. It was absolutely heaving. Unbelievably two kids sneaked in bikes and started riding them around during the film. A week later a famous Oscar winning movie was on and no one turned up. Summed up the town really.
  • My first trip to a cinema was to see Digby The Biggest Dog in the World. Yes I am that old.
  • Before I met my partner I remember going to see JFK with a long time girlfriend. Foolishly it was the midnight screening. I fell asleep after the first few minutes and woke as the credits started to role. Strangely I was able to fill in the missing 3 hour gap and actually felt that I had not missed anything.
  • My partners mum wanted to go to the cinema as she hadn’t been in years. She was a devout Quaker so we looked at various religious film options which the local specialist cinema would offer. One film looked very promising. It was a 2 hour documentary about monks living on a remote site. The monks had taken a vow of silence so the movie only featured background sounds, no talking and no music. After seeing the various options her mum opted for the cartoon, Chicken Run and loved it.
  • I took son to see Captain Marvel. Unfortunately his muppet Dad took him into screen 3 rather than screen 2. As soon as the movie started it was clear that the movie running here was Dumbo. Unfortunately Dumbo in 3D. We didn’t have any 3D glasses so we had to rather embarrassingly trudge out.

So just maybe our cinema days are over for the foreseeable future. That’s kinda sad but if that makes our Son happier then that’s fantastic. There is something reassuringly nice about watching a movie premiere wearing your old comfy jogging pants with a big bowl of popcorn on your lap. Also in full control of the movie options, so we can decide to switch films at any stage. So here’s to the days of the home based cinematic experience. Time to create some new memories.

97 thoughts on “The Big Screen

  1. Always had a love/hate relationship with the cinema. Early morning screenings are my favourite too but much prefer watching movies at home. Or I did until the arrival of my little one…

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  2. Oh, I felt nostalgic when reading about “Digby, the Biggest Dog in the World”. My first dog, was an Old English Sheepdog, just like Digby. Her name was Honey. When the film about Digby was released in Sweden all owners of an OES in Sweden were invited to the premiere in a big cinema in Stockholm. As you can guess, the breed was not very common in Sweden.
    Now all cinemas are closed here due to Covid-19. I do hope they will survive … I love to go to the cinema.

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  3. I’m very careful of what films I choose to see. Any with strobe or pyrotechnic effects are out as are any that have rapid camera movement as they are just too much of a sensory overload.

    On the other hand, I love our local “multiplex”. Just two cinemas, one with a seating capacity of 41, the other seats 19. The rows are steeply banked, so there’s no worry about the person in front blocking your view, and the screens are large enough so that they appear as large as, or larger than, a “regular” cinema.

    The nice thing about it is that the seating is mostly in the form of 2-person sofas, with armrests that double as platforms for refreshments and meals. Yes, they actually serve platters and light meals in the theatre, alongside the more usual refreshments. However, there’s no popcorn.

    Each cinema shows between five to seven films each day, and the same film will be shown at a different time each day over a period of up to a week. The wife and I usually chose a Tuesday during school hours as it is their quietest time and often we are the only people watching.

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      1. Prices for food here are comparable with cafe prices. In fact our mini multiplex is cafe with the two cinemas “out the back”. Everything that’s available in the cafe that doesn’t require a knife and fork can be taken or served in the cinemas.

        A typical film costs about the equivalent of half an hours work on minimum wage so I don’t think ourrs is too pricey.

        It’s slightly cheaper than the large multiplex in the nearby city (9 cinemas each seating from 200 to 400). And there you’re limited to popcorn, ice cream and sweets at exorbitant prices.

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  4. Fun memories! Do you buy your seats ahead of time? When we go now we go online and purchase our seats ahead of time. Then we figure out how we are going to sit and who gets “stranger danger” if someone by chance chooses the seat next to our crew. Although we haven’t gone in a while and I can’t imagine when we will feel comfortable to go again. Probably best to do the same – just remember the good times we had before!

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    1. We tend to buy them online as last as possible, just before we set off. So we can try to find that quiet zone. It was ok when we had 2 parents as we could surround him. Now I can only wall off one side. Yes we could sit right at the side but the view is not great.

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  5. We have MANY theater (cinema) options here… we have drive ins (which I would take the kids when I was breast feeding and was perfect ❤️ – that’s how my oldest saw Harry Potter lol)

    We also have regular theaters…

    And we have fancy ones that have cushy seats and waitresses for food and drink while you watch movie

    I am not a big theater goer… my kids like it and we used to do sometimes on Fridays if there was something good playing

    I love when we have the entire theater to ourselves – that happens sometimes – I like that

    But I also like the added bonus of being at home where I can pause should I need the bathroom lol or we want more snacks? And at home snacks are not a million dollars 🤨 … also you can just relax and put feet up – even fall asleep… movie tickets are also expensive! (Not tons of movies that are worth those prices 🤨) …we can also yell at the screen or laugh really loud, talk or use phone lol

    I do not mind movies at home vs theater … love at home actually!!

    I don’t like crowds much myself… I feel nervous if crowds are too large… even before this corona thing.

    If the crowd is large … I worry someone is going to go crazy and open fire or something 😳 we have those issues 🤨😠

    So much more enjoyable and safe at home … and with all the options avail for the at home theater – what’s the point for the actual theater?

    Maybe for a date? Or just having that option for entertainment?

    But eh, I can take it or leave it… definitely prefer at home. ✌️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Only been to one drive in movie. That was when as a kid I went to see my sister who lived in Africa. We don’t do them here. They have started doing outdoor mobile cinemas – but these are fraught with problems. The local country house tried to show Star Wars outside but it absolutely chucked it down. To really enjoy a film you need to feel right and relaxed. Here the ticket prices are about £10 per seat. But the food is scarily expensive. End up smuggling your own food in. x

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      1. I suppose where you are weather can be an issue? lol

        Yeah price about the same here – still cheaper at home, in many ways!

        Hahaha my purse 👛 when we go to the movies is gigantic 😄😄 I pre-stock at the dollar store lol … you get a candy and you get a candy lol 😄✌️ – I’m sure they know people do that – they have never said to me “excuse me mam’ what’s in the purse” lol … and it’s fat!! Totally stretched to limits lol

        If you buy food at the movies 😮 it’s just insane!!! No way am I spending that!!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. We’ve had issues going to for the cinema too. For me, sitting still for that long ramps up my pain issues. Crowds not an issue, though the kids have to sit between me and my husband so a stranger can’t sit next to them.
    The noise is one thing. We always forget to bring headphones so the kids often end up wearing their dad’s woolly hat or their coat in their heads.
    My son used to be further freaked out by any scary bits in the movies. Or any negative emotions at all. We had to leave Inside Out because of all the emotions!
    Oddly enough, we have managed to see and enjoy the last three Star Wars movies. Think the kids are maturing a little? Unfortunately the last time we went to the cinema, on New Years Eve, we all caught the flu. So probably won’t risk going again for a long long time.

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  7. Andrew and I hate crowded theatres as well. Neither of us understand people who go to the movies on premier night. We opt for at least a week later and we go during the day on the cheap day. Unless it’s a very popular movie the theater is usually near empty. We’ve had time when we had the theatre all to ourselves. I guess it’s kind of funny. I hate being isolated, but I don’t enjoy crowds. Neither of us are too fond. Watching movies at home has its advantages. I’ve sat through too many movies that didn’t impress.

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      1. Oh, yeah? We saw that the Joker was in among the movies on our t.v. I said no way! I don’t even want to know. We tried to watch the Solo movie. I was so bored. I tuned our minutes in. I can’t remember what we ended up watching. Some cartoony thing about a family with marvelous mustaches. The parents were terrible and the children were dissapointed that their famIly namd had been so sullied by these terrible parents. Then the adventure ensued. It was actually very interesting. Odd, but interesting. Lol. 😃

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  8. We’ve never taken Ben. He doesn’t sit still through movie night at home, I’m not paying ridiculous prices for him to bounce all over a theater.
    My hearing loss has gotten to the point of needing subtitles unless it’s just an action movie. Again…too expensive. Sitting upright for even 90 minutes hurts my neck, shoulders and back… Nope!
    I haven’t been to a theater in probably 10 years.

    I remember standing in long lines to see Star Wars in the 70s. At a single screen theater😮 I didn’t see Digby, but I was around… mother dropped little brother & me at a theater to see Snow White when I was around 5-6 and he was 2-3… the wicked queen scared the bejeezus out of me!😱

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  9. I remember those days and trying to find a suitable one for your mother in law I can imagine was quite a chore. Great adventures there in the cinema which we call going to the movies. When my daughter was a senior she got out at noon so we would go to a movie on some days. There were always a few weirdos sitting along too.😄

    Sent from my iPad

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      1. It’s strange I had a dream last night where the world had returned to normal yet in every country there was a few thousand who never left the lockdown state. Two different worlds existed here. If I had that dream 3 months ago I would have called it far fetched. Now not so sure.

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  10. It’s a tough one. I think the home cinema experience is a great one. I don’t have the same difficulties as your son because mine are more about sensory avoidance, but even if I’ve enjoyed a film, I often feel a sense of relief when it’s time to leave! Cinemas are sooo loud. I also don’t like the idea of being packed in with a load of other people at the moment, so think we’ll be doing home cinema too for a while to come. I can understand you’ll miss it though.

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  11. I just found out what Pathe’ News was when I did my piece on the Hindenburg. “Oh, the humanity…”

    Flooding toilets and stink bombs. Wow.

    I saw JFK and Chicken Run. Chicken Run was MUCH better.

    The town that is the county seat of my home county has a Cinema that a couple bought and remodeled after a long closure. They brought back the cartoon before the movie and repaired the old balcony. I spent my older teen years and all of my 20s going there. The price was cheaper because they ran movies on second rotation. You got your own popcorn and drinks and, there was a candy machine. It was fantastic.

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