Monday, July 11, 2016

Experiences over Things: Film

photo by Roman Bonnefoy
 I was just perusing my calendar for next week, and I noticed that our town’s weekly summer "Movies Under the Stars" selection is Wall-e, and I got excited. I loved Wall-e when it came out. I think we originally watched it at the drive in, and I really enjoy Disney’s classic ability to blend lighthearted humor with sweet sentimentality. But I haven’t seen it since, and a quick internet search tells me that was 2008. No wonder I am excited.

I haven’t intentionally avoided it. Although I don’t really see the need to own movies any more, I know I could have rented it again. My library is sure to have it. I could have streamed it online. But there are lots of movies out there on my list that I haven’t seen, and I will probably never catch up. Which is why I love summer, and its outdoor movie screenings.

There is something great about serendipity, that turns something fairly simple into a lifelong memory. This is why it can be so fun to get lost on vacation, or run into someone you know in an unexpected place. I love seeing what films my hometown, and the cities around me are showing. They lean towards kids films, which is fine by me. And with some spare time on a road trip, I’ve been known to follow the signs for “free movie tonight”

It takes a movie and turns it into a greater experience, with the added touch of serendipity in the offerings. The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking, Jurassic Park and the Apple Dumpling Gang benefit immensely from a setting with June bugs hovering over the grass, fireflies flashing in the dark, the smell of popcorn and cotton candy floating in the cool night air.

Film can always be an event, but the nostalgia of those little home grown outdoor screenings, which, like a visit to the drive in theatre, and our time honored tradition of birthday cake ice cream to go with it, makes it all the more memorable and valuable. As for next week, I can’t wait.

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