At The Cinema: A Life Spent At The Movies

Picture a “first encounter” scene. Chances are you have just pictured the infamous “finger touch” scene in ET. Evidently, cinema has a way of infiltrating our subconscious. More often than not, we compare our real lives to make-believe scenes in movies. For example, we now have Disney to blame for unrealistic dating standards. The rising standards are due to shows like High School Musical and Camp Rock, in which the characters sing songs and arrange elaborate plans to win over a girl. Moreover, John Wick and James Bond movies exemplify how we generally picture violent scenarios. The cinema has well and truly made its way into our lives, whether we are aware of it or not.

People sitting in a cinema watching a movie.
More often than not, we find ourselves sitting in a cinema, enjoying a movie.
Source: Image by Krists Luhaers on Unsplash

Movies And Me: The Affect Of Movies

When I was young, movies terrified me. This was because the shows were either too violent, too adult; or on the contrary, too cute and ridiculously unrealistic. I was also afraid of the dark. That is until I went to watch a movie with my school friends. It was a barrier-breaking experience which taught me how to face my fears. What movie did I watch? Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Yes, I threw myself into the world of loud explosions and otherworldly characters and have been addicted ever since.

This is an exciting time for modern cinema, what with Parasite being the first foreign language movie to win Best Picture at the Oscars, calls for diversity in casting, and the recent uprising of different characters and genres. Being an avid follower of all things cinema, I am constantly intrigued by the current entertainment circuit. Therefore, I am what most people call a cinephile. In the year 2019, I watched a total of 33 movies in various cinemas all around Malaysia. So I got to thinking. In the process, I realised I have been a movie fan my whole life. Evidently, movies have not only influenced me, but also the world around me.

Everything I learned I learned from the movies.

audrey hepburn
british actress, famous for “breakfast at tiffany’s”

Cinema: Uniting Families On And Off Screen

Recently, the cinema scene has seen a demand for more family-oriented content and environments. In Malaysia, GSC Cinemas has introduced Play+, a child-friendly cinema to encourage younger movie-goers. This cinema boasts bright-coloured seats and beanbags, a mini playground with a slide, and even tables for diaper changes. This provides the perfect environment for young children to have fun with their friends while watching a movie on the big screen. It also means older viewers can have a break from noisy children in the cinema. This is because parents have the option to buy a ticket for the child-friendly cinema, thus creating a more silent environment for the adults in the other cinemas.

However, GSC is by no means the first to introduce this concept. TGV Cinemas and MBO Cinemas have also released their family-friendly cinemas, making Malaysian cinemas child-friendly once again. This phenomenon is not only limited to big cinema chains, but some smaller, private cinemas such as CineboxPD and Amenic Film Space have also embraced child-friendly cinemas by having beanbags and fun spaces.

People at CineboxPD enjoying a movie on bean bags in the cinema.
Bean bag chairs at CineboxPD. Family-friendly cinema for the perfect movie night.
Source: CineboxPD

In my experience, family-oriented has another meaning. I found that through watching movies, I can connect with my family on a new topic of conversation. Movies bring up many areas of discussion, ranging from politics, economics, society, discrimination, and filmmaking, among others. I find that these topics manage to ignite deeper conversations within my family and friends, which in turn builds stronger relationships.

A Series Of Cinematic Events

We can all relate to the fact that our lives are similar to movie series. Our lives go through different chapters; we meet different people and do different things every day. I think that’s why we see so many movies with sequels and prequels, which eventually turn into series. A great example is the Marvel Cinematic Universe and what they turned the Avengers series into. In fact, the movie series resonated with audiences so much so that the concluding movie, Avengers: Endgame, became the highest-grossing movie ever in cinemas. Series are becoming a new long-form, story-telling tool. It allows a storyline to be told over many years. For example, the Star Wars franchise has captivated audiences for 43 years now.

Me posing at the Iron Man exhibit of the Avengers exhibition.
Just me geeking out at the Avengers exhibition! This exhibition was held at Pavillion KL throughout 2019. I just had to experience it for myself!

Due to all these popular series, cinema operators are trying to make their cinemas more comfortable. They have introduced more varieties of food and drinks, departing from the usual popcorn and Coke to hot-dogs, chicken nuggets and even French fries. The seats have also evolved, from couple seats to bean bag chairs. With all these amenities, cinema operators have capitalised on them by hosting movie marathons, especially when a new movie is released. They hosted 47-hour marathons of the entire Avengers franchise when Endgame first debuted.

Spiderman:Far From Home tickets in a huge cinema.
My ticket for the premiere of Spiderman: Far From Home. These were limited edition tickets redeemed from a popular taxi hailing app. Yep, I’m an Avengers fan.

Cinema: A Voice For The Masses

In today’s society, we witness many social issues and injustices. Movies have become an effective tool to talk about these issues. Crazy Rich Asians and Black Panther increased representation of minorities on the big screen. Captain Phillips and 1917 talked about the issue of war. Joker and Parasite explored the stark disparity between social classes. On a lighter tone, movies can also remind us to be more humane in today’s fast-paced world. Movies like Frozen and Fast and Furious remind us of the importance of family. Other movies such as Yesterday, Bohemian Rhapsody, and Rocketman depict the human endeavours and experiences of famous celebrities, and remind us that nothing comes easy.

Other significant, influential and important movies include:

Tickets for Late Night. I got them for free through my university.
Free tickets from my university to watch Late Night. It was the first time I entered a cinema full of lecturers and academics! Stress much?

A Cinema Focusing On Friends And Family

So, which cinema should you visit? Maybe the big cinema chains attract and entice you. But maybe you desire something more intimate, more friendly, more flexible. Allow me to introduce CineboxPD. CineboxPD is a privately-owned film space perfect for communal movie nights and movie-viewing parties. They offer all the perks of a cinema without all the common restrictions. Food and drinks are allowed, picture and video taking is encouraged, and most importantly, you can make as much noise as you want! CineboxPD also provides all the best movies and series that have long left the big screen. Therefore, there’s no more need to worry if a movie is still available.

At The Cinema: The Final Scene

As the curtain closes on our exploration into the world of cinema, it is worth noting that cinema still holds an important role in today’s society. On the back of Parasite’s recent win at the Oscar’s, South Korean authorities decided to upgrade the homes of underprivileged communities in the country. So, why not take a few hours out of your daily schedule and delve into a movie, no matter the genre, setting, or style.

If you want to binge these movies comfortably with your friends, why not try out CineboxPD. They are a private film space perfect to chill out and watch movies in Port Dickson, Malaysia. Check them out at @cineboxpd on Instagram.

If you’re looking for something to do after watching that movie, check out this article about glamping in Malaysia.

Derrick PANG

About Derrick PANG

English language major with a love for teaching and a seasoned volunteer with NGOs, Derrick is a familiar face in teaching English and live skills to underprivileged communities around the world.

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