“Today I’ve been completely shaken by the events last night in Colorado. When I should have been excited about having had a fun midnight movie outing, I found myself feeling guilty about it. I was debating how to handle it in my Dark Knight Rises write up. Those of you who’ve been reading know that my write ups are more blog entries with personal experiences than straightforward critiques. Do I mention something about this or not? There’s been so many tweets and facebook status going around, I didnt wanna seem disingenuous. But the fact of the matter is, I consider myself part of the movie community, even if it’s a small part, and I feel greatly affected by what happened.
I first saw the news shortly after I woke up this morning. A blurb here and there on twitter. A headline on IMDB. Honestly, I didnt think too much of it at the time. Maybe it’s because I was running on three hours of sleep, but I just didn’t process it right away, and just dismissed it. Soon after I got to work, I started seeing more headlines, and it started to hit me. I read a few articles, and got to one that was particularly detailed. At that point I was in full on freak out mode, and it just sort of set a shadow over the whole day.
Part of it was the feeling that it could just have easily been the theater I was at. No, I wasn’t anywhere close by. Hell, I was a whole two timezones away. But if it was just a random incident, it really could have been any random theater. Even if the end credits were about to roll for me right as the opening credits were wrapping up for them, I was still doing the exact same thing at the exact same time. That’s what is scary, in a life-is-short manner of thinking.
But that’s not what really gets me. It’s sad, but we do live in a world where crap like this does happen in the most ordinary of locations. What hits me hard about this is that the movies are my ultimate safe place, and now my sanctuary no longer feels sacred. Yes there’s the escapism inherit to watching a film, but it’s intensified by going to a brick and mortor theater. I’ve gone by myself or with a group so large we took up an entire row or more. I’ve been in sold out auditoriums, the only one in the room, and once even had an entire auditorium rented out for my group. The movies are where I go when I need to escape, when I need to get my mind off something, when I have nothing else to do, when it’s too hot to stay in my apartment, when I’ve run out of conversation topics. I’ve been on my birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving. I’ve gone at all hours of the night and day. I’ve gone in multiple states across the country. I see action movies, dramas, comedies, kids movies, new releases, throwbacks, special screenings, sneak peeks. I’ve gone in costume, and in pajamas. It’s the only non-location specific place that feels like home. I go through withdrawls if I go too long without my fix. And I feel like it’s been taken away from me. I dont mean to belittle what happened and make it all about me, but the truth of the matter is that the effects of it are more far reaching than the obvious.
The effects on every day movie-goers are gonna be long reaching. AMC is banning masks and toy weapons, and very rightly so. There’s talk about an uncertain future for midnight premiers, but I hope that’s just talk. Who knows what kind of effect it will have on the film’s box office take, but honestly, who cares about that. The portrayal of violence in film is gonna come into question, and I pray there’s no knee-jerk overreaction. I could go on a long rant expanding on that, but we’ll save that for some other time.”