I have gone to movies alone since college.
It’s no big deal.
Yes, the first few times you’ll feel like everyone else in the theater will stand up and point out you’re alone, marking you like you’re not one of the pod people in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”
After a while, it’s actually fun.
I like going by myself because I can see what I like, when I like and I can sit where I like and simply enjoy the movie without worrying that the person with me is not enjoying the film as much as I am.
I did it for years before I became a paid movie critic and I still do it.
Of course, when you’re a movie critic you get paid to see movies, and you sit and watch the whole thing no matter how nightmarishly bad it is.
Most of the time, if you’re working, you see the movie at a screening set up by a studio and filled with people who got tickets from radio promotions or they’re on one list or another to see the movies.
Where I live, two rows are generally reserved for press and we don’t have to wait in line. (I didn’t say going alone was without perks did I?)
The studios want critics to see the movie with an audience so you can hear them react and hopefully it will help you like it more.
If the studio doesn’t care if we see it with other people, they will have a closed screening just for critics and those are generally during the day. I’ve been known to stroll in with breakfast from some fast food joint and have something that isn’t popcorn while the film plays.
On really bad days, I’ve laid across theater seats to watch movies, but that’s only when it’s people I know.
I watch movies in a different way from most of the population. I am watching acting, sets, looking for holes in the plot and I put my whole attention to the task, blocking everything else out. I’m in one of two positions, seated deep into the chair, or sitting on the edge with my elbows resting on my knees to give my back a rest.
I’ve been told I look like I’m ready to bolt when I sit forward like that. Nah, after an hour or so I need to move, and that’s how it’s done.
Even after I left my job, some studios were nice enough to keep inviting me to screenings. I didn’t go for a long time but a few years ago I started going again.
Yes, I get in free to those. It’s cool.
I recently was accepted into my state’s film critics group and this year for the first time since I let my job, I’ll be getting screeners of films the studios hope will win the big awards early next year.
I have plastic bins full of screening copies of all kinds of movies. I will get a lot of movies that won’t open in my market until well into next year, but I need to see them by early December, so I become the coolest relative in the world for the holidays because guess what’s at my house? Everything.
For years, all my nieces and nephews thought most movies had a runner at the bottom of the screen saying it was the property of such and such studio and to call the FBI if you paid money to watch this.
Some especially big holiday movies will have my name inscribed in some code somewhere on the disc so the FBI can come right to my house if I break the law.
This means I will be watching as many as three movies a day in my living room on my big screen TV with surround sound and I do not want to be disturbed. My husband has learned not to talk to me for any reason.
It only takes a few judicious pauses combined with the “Look of Death” shooting from my eyes for him to remember that, yes, this IS work.
Secretly, I am very excited to get to do this again. It really is the best job in the world and I get to do it in my living room.