Why I Went To The Movies 4 Times

Photo by Felix Mooneeram on Unsplash

I don’t know if movie theaters are open where you are. But in Tucson, Arizona, the indie chain Harkins opened its doors on August 28, Galaxy Theatres on September 3, and Cinemark on September 4.

The last movie I watched in theaters before the pandemic hit was The Hunt on March 16. The first one I saw when our quarantine eased was Unhinged on August 28.

I say ‘eased’ because things haven’t really gotten much better or worse here. Despite what the news will tell you, my friends, family, and I haven’t experienced radical changes in furloughs, government assistance, or sickness. Only an increase in paranoid behavior.

Let me clear. The pandemic is serious and the coronavirus exists. Something exists, and it’s making many people sick.

We should be safe and socially distance ourselves, stay home when we can, and wash our hands frequently.

But I haven’t been able to ever effectively quarantine. My job doesn’t allow it. It did for three weeks, but then I had to come in.

I work for a TV News Station. We gather stories out in the field regarding the coronavirus, the upcoming election, and the recent protests. We conduct on-spot interviews and hunker down in 115-degree heat to collect b-roll.

I’ve been as safe as possible. I wear my mask everywhere and I keep my distance from co-workers and friends. My job is risky and it scares me sometimes, but I feel it’s my duty to assist my producers or reporters to deliver content to people.

Once, we had to go inside the home of people who previously tested positive for the virus. I was uncomfortable with it. I went home and washed my clothes three times before dipping them in sanitizer. I sprayed them with Lysol. I stayed away from everybody for a few days after.

But soon enough I had to go back out.

And a week later, I went to California. I held the gas pump with a wipe whenever I filled up. I only ate food inside my car.

When I got to California, my girlfriend and I continued to play it safe. But sheepishly, we made the bold move of going to Mission Beach — having consumed Vitamin-C boosters and wearing our masks — where not one of the 100 plus people we saw wore masks or distanced themselves.

It was stupid.

Then we went to Wilson Creek Winery in Temecula. These folks were a little safer, but when the wine tastings came the masks were off. Nothing safe about that.

I was back in Tucson for four weeks after that and didn’t feel anything. I kept my distance from everybody at home, but people I interacted with later didn’t report any symptoms. I didn’t experience any.

A week later my brother landed an opportunity to live in New York City, the city of his dreams. He needed a co-pilot to drive the minivan across the country. I chose to go with him.

We drove through New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma; Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, D.C.; Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and finally New York.

Wore our masks through it all.

Socially distanced.

Only ate in the car.

In New York City, we even road the subway at times to save ourselves financially from an Uber.

Two weeks later I’m back in Tucson and I’m back on the job.

I haven’t felt anything but I’ve come to this realization: I can’t have been this lucky.

There’s just no way.

With a million plus cases and more rising in the United States, how could I have not caught it somehwere along all those states? At the winery? In the subway? On the plane back home?

I was careful and safe, but nobody can be safe forever being exposed to all that crap. I could have antibodies, but I highly doubt that. I could be asymptomatic, but the few people I’ve been around since have felt nothing.

It just doesn’t make sense.

So, to tie this all up, I didn’t hesitate to go to the local theater when it reopened. The seats were spaced out, every other row roped off, and none of them even sold at half capacity.

Not even Tenet.

This isn’t a suggestion to brazenly storm theaters, elbow-to-elbow. This is just the personal account of someone who could have and should have caught the coronavirus by now, but hasn’t. And neither has anybody close to me or at my job for that matter.

Maybe people are being safer and things have gotten better. But I don’t really believe that.

So why go to the movies?

Shit, I don’t know. I love them. I love seeing them big and hearing them loud. I love being in a distraction-free environment where all you can see is the screen. If I’m seeing it for the first time, it doesn’t even matter what it is.

And I wouldn’t have gone if I didn’t feel comfortable. I felt uncomfortable boarding American Airlines with 50 other passengers. But if I’m honest, I was more scared of the flight than the virus (I have aerophobia).

As for the movies themselves, they are worth the 5 month hiatus.

Unhinged is about as good as any movie you could see after being cooped up forever. It falls apart in the third act and Caren Pistorius does nothing but scream into her phone. But Russell Crowe is the menacing man-baby of Lawrence Tierney and Oliver Reed, and he’s fire to watch.

The Personal History of David Copperfield is fun period piece fodder. It’s whimsical and over-the-top but I’d much rather watch it than read the actual book by Charles Dickens.

Tenet lies somewhere between highly entertaining and frustratingly ridiculous. I know Christopher Nolan wants you to think in this movie, but don’t. Please, just don’t. Waft in the action and the editing.

And The New Mutants is actually not that bad. Sure, it’s far from a great movie, but it’s leaps and bounds better than Dark Phoenix, X-Men: Apocalypse, The Wolverine, Wolverine: Origins, and The Last Stand.

I’ve seen every new movie there is at my local theaters. If the crowds increase and the cleanliness slacks due to busyness, I won’t be coming back. But I’m eager to return to cinemas, and so far seeing late-night shows on weekdays has put me in rooms with no more than 5, maybe 7 other people.

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