Britt Laughs Loud and Often

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Not even Tinder could find me a movie companion.

I think it’s fair to say that I’m a very passive movie viewer. It’s not that I don’t like movies, but I don’t think I have ever in my entire life arranged to go to the movies of my own accord. I simply never think about it. I don’t even keep track of upcoming movie releases. I resent seeing movie trailers trending in the Facebook news bar. Especially when the news is that some movie trailer “leaked a day early” and everyone is excited. What the actual fuck is that about?

So normally when it comes to the cinema I am the kind of person who gets swept up in the plans of other people. Someone invites me and I have about a 50-50 chance of commiting. If you’re after a story about an upbeat person loving life I’m sure you’re beginning to realise that you have clicked the wrong link my friend. It’s all buzzkill here.

Coupling Constraints (Hägerstrand 1970)

A coupling constraint refers to the need to be in one particular place for a given length of time, often in interaction with other people.

So it was hardly surprising to find myself on Thursday evening realizing that I had not yet arranged to go to the movies with anyone, despite the fact that I was actually required to do so for uni. It was a part of this week’s blogging task, in which I was tasked with arranging to go to the cinema with someone in order to write about the personal and cultural experiences of ‘going to the movies.’ So I started to ask around a bit on Facebook, even going so far as to make a status about it calling out to anybody who might be free on Friday or Saturday.

Capability Constraints (Hägerstrand 1970)

Capability constraints refer to the limitations on human movement due to physical or biological factors.

Eventually fellow classmate Britt decided to step in and suddenly everything was as it should be. She was deciding what to see, when to see it, and where. I didn’t even mind that I’d have to catch the train for one hour to get to Shellharbour. I gave me a chance to play Danganronpa 2.

Of Course what was absent from this conversation was the local knowledge needed to understand that around Britt’s way they like to name stations after the places where they aren’t located. So instead of getting off at Shellharbour Junction – where Britt was nowhere to be seen – I should have gotten off at Oak Flats, where she was waiting to pick me up.

The car park at Shellharbour Junction.

Authority Constraints (Hägerstrand 1970)

an authority constraint is an area (or “domain”) that is controlled by certain people or institutions that set limits on its access to particular individuals or groups.

A few texts and a phone call later and we were in Britt’s car on the way to Greater Union Shellharbour, where we were still on track to watch Trainwreck. When we finally walked into the large, sweeping lobby of the cinema complex – adorned with multiple arcade games and claw machines – I was met with a series of new and tedious challenges. The cinema where I grew up and have had the most experience is an independent, local business where ticket prices are based on age and concession cards (students and seniors pay less than “Adult” prices). Apparently cinema chains like Greater Union have all this plus a loyalty program involving a membership card that takes 24 hours to activate, where ticket prices are reduced on weekdays. Britt has such a card, I do not. After I purchased my slightly more expensive ticket and a salted caramel choc top (which was fantastic by the way) I made my way around the corner and down the massive corridor of numbered theatre rooms. Led by Britt, who was holding the largest “medium” popcorn I have ever seen (apparently she gets free refills as well; that loyalty card is ridiculous), we took our seats right in the middle of what I can only assume is one of the more modestly sized theatres.

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This is basically what my Facebook feed looks like these days.

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Then the movie began.
Now, when I say that “the movie began” of course what I mean is that the ads began. At this point Britt leant in closer to explain that she hates the ads, but loves the trailers. This is because “they let me see what exciting movies I’ll be seeing later on,” she explained.
“That’s disgusting,” I replied.
Then the trailers started playing.

Half an hour later, after being fed the prerequisite amount of bullshit, the movie began. I have never been to the movies with Britt before, although I have sat with her in enough lectures and tutorials by now to not be surprised in the slightest to find out that Britt laughs loud and often in movies. I don’t usually like watching comedies in theatres because they have always been an uncomfortable reminder that what I find funny is often out of step with what other people find funny. I remember feeling like this in The Simpsons Movie when I discovered that people actually do laugh at Itchy and Scratchy skits, and that people still found that stupid “Spider Pig” gag from the trailer as hilarious as ever. Although I will readily admit that I, too, thought Trainwreck was pretty funny.

As part of this weeks blog task I was asked to have an educated guess at what the near future of movies might be. When I interviewed my father a few weeks back about the introduction of television into the home, he mentioned that at the time people heralded this as ‘the end of cinemas.’ Obviously that didn’t happen, but it’s interesting that people seem to think that the internet is having the same effect on movie theatres today, despite the fact that 2015 has seen some massively successful movies like Jurassic World, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Furious 7 (Box Office Mojo 2015). Screen Australia (2015) have also shown that the average number of people attending movies at the cinema has remained relavtively stable over the past 40 years, although there is a slight decrease in the frequency with which these people attend per year. So I don’t see movie cinemas dying out any time soon, howvere it wouldn’t at all surprise me if virtual reality technologies started to become incorporated into the movie experience in the same way 3D has in the past (Occulus 2015). Although I think safety (particularly for women and minorities) would have to be considered for the use of VR in a publically shared space.

When I finally got home, after Britt kindly gave me a lift, I finally took care of my Greater Union Loyalty Card.

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