I initially decided I wasn’t going to join the online Star Wars ticket buying frenzy this past Monday. There were going to be so many showings, I thought, it was going to be impossible not find one. But then the unveiling of the new trailer got closer and closer, and I kept seeing posts from friends who had gotten their tickets. And I began to realize that yes, I could probably find a show that Thursday night. But that it might be at 12:30 in the morning if I waited until December. So I grabbed a ticket for the 8:00 show lest I be stuck hanging around for hours, like a dog scratching at the door to be let in.
But unlike the last time we got the first new Star Wars in over a decade, I didn’t gather the gang together and plan a mass outing. I didn’t even tell anybody. Because as much as I enjoyed geeking out with my friends as we waited for the lights to dim back in 1999, this time around, I don’t want to feel responsible for anyone’s experience but my own.
I’ve pretty much come to the realization that I enjoy seeing movies by myself more than I do being in a group. I don’t have to answer questions, or hear them being asked. I don’t have to worry that the friend I cajoled into coming along isn’t enjoying themselves. I don’t find myself looking to see how they’re reacting. I don’t have to get into an immediate debate as the credits roll about what we just saw. I can just watch the movie, and deal with my own reactions to it. I can get as excited or disappointed as I want, without the prism of companionship to pass it through.
So yeah, it’s pretty much the cinematic equivalent of, “Get the hell off my lawn!”
It’s not about being anti-social. You want to meet for dinner before? Do drinks after? Sure, I’m all in. But I want my immersion. And that’s just not going to happen when we have to fight to find five or six seats all in a row, and when five or six people are watching the movie in five or six different ways.
Now you might ask how is that different from sitting among a hundred strangers. Well, I don’t feel a sense of responsibility for them. I can stake out my own space, and it’ll be my space, no matter how crowded it gets. And once the movie starts, I can just drown them out and make the conversation solely between me and the screen.
So I’ll be there with you all in spirit on December 17th, even if I’m not there with you in person. I’m sure we’ll have plenty to talk about afterward, but while it’s going on? Just let me be.