For as long as I can remember I have loved going to the movies. The popcorn with way too much butter, the comfy seats, the darkness and the giant screen, I’ve always loved it…it’s always signaled an adventure and an escape. Growing up, going to the movie theater with my family was a special event—an occasion that meant we’d get to travel together into an unfamiliar world where no one knew quite what to expect. We would sit there, watch and then leave reflecting on key concepts of the films and our favorite and least favorite moments.
As I’ve gotten older, the movie theater has become my place of escape for other reasons. During times of heartbreak, intense sadness or disappointment I always (without a doubt) find myself at the movies. For me, it’s a place where I can be shielded from the drama of the “real world”…it’s a place I can go to make everything else mute for at least a couple hours. It’s a place that (as goofy as it may sound) is important to me.
The unspeakably evil actions of a guy I don’t feel is worthy of naming made me question that this weekend after his devastating actions in Aurora, CO.
I went to see Batman Rises this weekend…it’s a film I’ve been looking forward to for years and had been embarrassingly excited about. But on the day I went to actually see the film, I was mellow. Walking into the theater I was greeted by four uniformed police officers vigilantly eyeing people as we walked in. Moviegoers were less chatty and displayed a calmness compatible with mine. A previously sold out auditorium had a few too many empty seats for my liking. And without even realizing it (until I was seated and the previews were beginning to play) I noticed I was sitting not in the middle of an aisle as I usually do, but three seats in from the entrance in the fourth row back. And for the first time in my short span of twenty-four years of life I found myself unable to immerse myself in the film.
I LOVE Batman and I’ve wanted this film to release but I couldn’t stop thinking about when the asshole in Aurora started shooting; when people started to throw themselves over loved ones and strangers in the aisles; when people were able to drag themselves out. I caught myself critically analyzing my fellow moviegoers as they got up to go to the restroom or checked their phones. I couldn’t lose myself in the film because for once, I couldn’t let myself let go of my surroundings— something I’ve done countless times without a thought.
What happened in that movie theater in Aurora, CO was devastating and unforgivable. If I felt on edge and unnerved sitting all the way in a random movie theater in lower Manhattan in broad daylight on a Saturday, I cannot even begin to imagine what the movie-going experience will ever be like again for the survivors of the shooting or the families of the innocent victims murdered in that auditorium. My deepest prayers are with all affected by the tragedy. Such evil shouldn’t happen anywhere, let alone a place people go to lose themselves in a film.