But about fifteen years ago, I almost stopped going to a theater completely. I would go maybe a couple of times to see something I really wanted to see (the Star Wars prequels, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Matrix sequels, four of the Saw sequels). The pull of DVDs, whether purchased or rented, was so strong with top-quality picture and enlightening (most of the time) supplemental features like commentaries and documentaries. I was much more comfortable watching a DVD at home alone and occasionally, with a friend or girlfriend.
Blame it on the cost of seeing a movie in a theater or feeling very alone out in public, I decided to keep my viewing habits to myself. God forbid I hear people who have different opinions on stuff I loved. Especially as I walked out of a movie during the closing credits.
Too often, I would detect a general consensus about a movie from both people I knew in real life and what people wrote about online. There were many times where I seemed very much at odds with what people said or wrote. Defending the Star Wars prequels and praising the hell out of The Matrix Reloaded came across as out-of-touch and clueless. Free speech might be allowed with pop culture, but it seemed like if you didn't agree completely with the general attitude, you might as well find a dark corner to stand in and keep your opinions to yourself.
Slowly a tide turned in me. I realized I didn't have to get too defensive with people who didn't see things the way I saw them. I could be myself and not have to defend myself, unless it's ribbing with friends of mine I've known for years. The tide turned so much that when Hope came into my life, going back to a movie theater was as welcoming as it was when I was young. Having a partner in crime in life makes a lot of things infinitely better.
These days, I don't have to worry if somebody with a loud mouth will spew negativity all over something I enjoyed. I still get defensive, strangely. Seeing movies in a theater is much more rewarding now, especially realizing how special places like the Alamo Drafthouse and the Texas Theatre are. They're places for people who don't want to deal with massive crowds.
In the past ten months, I've seen more movies in a theater than I did in the past fifteen years, combined. A lot of praise goes to Hope, but it's not just that she's willing to see movies in a theater. It's more this idea of, you can be who you are (faults and all) and still get along with people.
I'm very thankful to return to a place I valued so much when I was younger. It's very comforting to know I can like a movie theater more now than ever.