Smart phones and the death of film

Louis Mellini
Staff Writer

It would be a massive understatement to say that I love film.  I grew up watching all manner of different movies, I remember seeing Ishiro Honda’s Godzilla for the first time and falling totally in love with it, it sparked my passion for film, but when I really delved into the world of filmmaking and movies as an art, this question arose, is there a proper way to watch a movie, and if so, how? The answer is simple, in the theater.
I’ll avoid the pretentious and cut to the chase. In a world where everything is easily and readily accessible through our smart phones, I believe that we have begun to undervalue the importance of going to see a movie at a theater.
We have various streaming services such as Netflix on our phones and in some cases, built into our TVs. We are able to stream the latest movies and TV shows at our command, but because of this, many of us have stopped going to the theater and in turn, have robbed ourselves of the movie-going experience.
Film is art and should be treated as such. Would you rather see a painting on a phone screen or in person? Would you rather listen to your favorite album through your phone’s speaker, or through a great sound system? Everything that happens in a movie is intentional, picture and sound married together to pull out an emotional reaction from the viewer. Your favorite movies were made to be viewed in a theater, not on your phones.
David Lynch, director of such works as Twin Peaks and Eraserhead, said it well. “If you’re playing a movie on a phone, you will never in a trillion years experience the film. You’ll think you have experienced it, but you’ll be cheated, it’s such a sadness.”
This past summer, I visited my family in California and while I was there I made a trip to a very famous Cinerama Dome to see one of my favorite films, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, for the first time in a theater. This was absolutely the most memorable movie-going experience that I’ve had as I had seen a historic film the way the creator intended it to be viewed. Big pictures and loud sound as it was meant to be.
Please, if you want to see that big new movie, don’t wait until it’s on Netflix and don’t wait until you can watch it on your phone. Go out and go to the theater with your friends. It may cost a little bit of money, but you’ll be experiencing the film the way it was meant to be seen, and that in itself should be valued.