I wasn’t exclusively a hermit back in the old days.
Those Woody Allen movies I’d grown up watching had promised me that when I moved to The Big City, I’d finally meet people as witty and sophisticated and intelligent as I thought I was — and I did. Our gang went to all the “cool” opening nights — a new Tim Burton film was a must-see the day it came out, along with anything starring Nicolas Cage, Winona Rider and Johnny Depp.
We also gathered mournfully at my place the day the news about Allen running off with his step-daughter broke. Somebody cried, but I can’t remember whether or not it was me. I never went to another Allen film again, with my friends or anybody else. I didn’t realize until later that that event marked the beginning of the end of my lifelong movie mania.
When Pulp Fiction arrived to great fanfare I was the last person I knew to go see it — and I wasn’t impressed. Tarantino was just “quoting” a bunch of movies I’d already seen.
Then Hollywood came down with sequel-itis, for which there seems to be no cure.
Almost all Toronto’s rep cinemas are closed now. So are most of the beloved downtown venues like the Eglinton, the Uptown, even the one-time world record holder for “biggest multiplex.” (Canadians were instrumental in inventing and developing the megaplex.)
All were torn down to make way for more condos, with higher profit margins per precious square meter.
(And in the case of art-house theaters wedded to old technology, the cost of printing and shipping 35mm films around the country is ten times the cost of a digital print.)
But would I set foot in any of these cinemas now, even if they were open?
I honestly don’t remember the last time I saw a first run film in a theater. Between the awful selection of “new” movies (mostly remakes) and other people’s cell phones, to the idiots who — this happened when I went to the 2000 theatrical re-release — bring screaming toddlers to The Exorcist, I don’t see why I should bother.
How much longer will movie theaters of any kind survive?