Going to the movies
On the Bright Side
February 18, 2023
I love going to the movies, and as near as I can recall, I always have. My folks took me early on; in fact, before my conscious recollections of childhood kick in, I'm told my folks took me to see Peter Pan at a drive-in when I was a toddler, and I spent half the time hiding behind the car seat because I was afraid of Captain Hook and the crocodile.
I don't have a first-hand memory of that, but it makes me laugh to hear it because as far back as I can remember I've loved being scared at the movies – and I still love going to see scary films. I love most films these days, with the possible exceptions of zombie movies and over-the-top comic book/superhero films (and I'll even happily go to see those if they have a compelling story).
The thing is, I've been going to movies since before I can remember, and I'm still going to the movies in my ripe old 70s. And the key words here are "going to," as in getting-out-of-the-house-and-going-to-a-movie-theater.
I do watch movies at home sometimes on my television, and I enjoy them (I really like visual storytelling in all its forms), but for me there is something special about going to a movie theater. Whether it's a fun-filled, action-packed or just plain-silly escapist movie, or a heavy, thought-provoking, life-altering film, or anything in between, I prefer seeing them all in the manner in which they were meant to be seen – on the big screen.
Not everyone agrees with me, I know. Thanks to the pandemic closing most indoor public venues for a few months a couple of years ago, and people still being hesitant to place themselves in a closed setting with other people – not to mention the costs of going out vs staying in – streaming at home is becoming more and more popular and movie houses have taken a hit.
While some people predict that streaming will take over the movie industry completely, it's hard for me to envision a time when I might not be able to go to a movie theater. And to tell you the truth, I don't see that happening for real because I know a lot of other people love going to see stories on the big screen too. But I do worry that some theaters, especially the smaller ones, are hurting and we may one day be left with choices that are few and far between, and therefore even more costly.
I go to Tehachapi's Hitching Post Theaters regularly, but I also go out of town sometimes for a movie experience when it is one I can't get here in town. For example, some friends and I went to Lancaster on my birthday (a special occasion!) to see "Avatar, the Way of Water" in 3D, which we all loved. In fact, we enjoyed the movie so much that a couple of weeks later we went to see it again in 2D at the Hitching Post.
I love the Hitching Post Theaters, even if it doesn't have 3D capabilities. It's a smaller, older theater – not as fancy as some – but it is the hometown theater with local owners and employees, and that makes a huge difference. Prices may be up all over everywhere, but the HP has still managed to keep prices lower and be the best deal around. I have my HP movie card and I have the T-shirt.
As far as I'm concerned, you can't beat going to the movies at the Hitching Post. They do a great job of bringing in a variety of movies for their four screens. The individual screening rooms are small and intimate (no bad seats), but you still get the big screen experience, plus the shared-experience feeling when watching a movie with other people in attendance.
Unlike bigger city theaters, at the HP you don't have to sit through a half an hour of ads before your movie comes on; the still ads before the movie start-time are of local concerns you might want to know about. The seats are comfy enough, and there are several snack bar choices (and the popcorn is fresh).
All in all, the Hitching Post (on Green Street downtown, across from The Loop newspaper office) is a treasure in our little town, and I really appreciate them for doing such a good job for movie lovers like me. I love going to the movies, and I love going to see them in our hometown movie house.
If you like your streaming services but every now and then find yourself missing the big screen experience, give the Hitching Post Theaters a try. Maybe I'll see you there.
© 2023 Mel Makaw. Mel, author of the newly published book On the Bright Side, a Collection of Columns (available locally at Tehachapi Arts Center and Healthy Hippie Trading Co), has been going to the movies since 1950-ish and looking on the bright side for various publications since 1996. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.