The movies

By John Toth

I was sitting in the super-duper-plex with stadium seating and whatever else goes along with a modern theater these days, prepared to watch this little independent film, a love story at that.
The movie turned out to be forgettable. But, from the start, I was impressed with the theater.
The screen was huge. The picture was crystal clear. The theater has gone digital. What will they think of next?
That shows you how often I enter one of these places.
It was actually an incredible experience. Digital projectors are far superior to the those with film winding through them. You know, those traditional ones.
While my matinee, discount-priced theater experience was fantastic, being surrounded by digital picture and sound, I kind of missed those scratches that used to run down the screen, or when the film actually broke, and I could run to the bathroom without missing anything.
Nothing can go wrong when all the previews and the main attraction are inside a little box in the form of zeros and ones. It’s all perfect.
In the interest of full disclosure, at age 11, I was projecting cartoons on my wall, using a hand-cranked toy projector. I dabbled in Super 8-millimeter home movies for as long as they made Super 8. And, I admit, digital editing is a lot less hassle than splicing pieces of film together.
I still have my Super 8 movies. I need to convert them to zeros and ones. I used to say that I needed to transfer them to videotape, but that also has become outdated.
Now, I am thinking about converting some of my videotapes to zeros and ones.
And, again, in the name of full disclosure, I used to like going to the drive-in theater on weekends. Then, the 1983 hurricane came along and blew it all away.
There was nothing magnificent about the picture, or sound, at the drive-in, but it sure was a lot of fun being there, regardless of what movie was showing. There were other reasons to go to a drive-in than to watch the movie. Shall I say more, or are we on the same page here?
And, how can I forget the dollar movies? We got in for a dollar, but the popcorn was $3. Cable got rid of that concept when it started showing those movies just about the same time the dollar theaters were running them.
I took my daughter to her first movie when she was 2. We watched “Babe.” It’s a film about a smart little pig who wins his owner some herding grand prize and avoids being turned into bacon. I’ve since been eating turkey bacon.
The experience, with that little girl sitting next to me - glued to that screen - was unforgettable.
No matter how big, or little, a film was, whether it was a blockbuster, or an obscure romance film, it had scratches running down the screen by the second weekend. That was all part of the theater experience.
So, why am I not writing this on an old manual typewriter, since the good old days were so good?
They were good because of the memories they formed.
Like watching “Babe” with a 2-year-old, who was fascinated by all of those talking animals.
They reflect the past as my future was being shaped. They take me back to where I was at a particular time in my life.
The past is warm and emotional; the present is problematic; and the future is adventurous.
And the movies are now perfect. I’m curious where technology will take us next. But, for now, I’ve got to get a DVD copy of “Babe.” I found a program that puts the scratches back in.