Feature Blogs

Is It Ok To Go To The Movies On Your Own?

Created on Sunday, 05 September 2010 20:55
Written by Matthew Toomey

Is it ok to go to the movies on your own?


That’s a question that I’ve been asked many times.  I know some people who would say “don’t be a fool, of course there’s nothing wrong with that.”  I know others who think the complete opposite.  A good friend of mine (who falls into the later category) accidentally locked himself out of his unit once.  He reluctantly went to a movie all by his lonesome while waiting for a spare set of keys to arrive.  I don’t think he enjoyed the experience but maybe that because he was watching Nicolas Cage in The Ghost Rider.


For me, the answer to this question is simple.  I see more than 200 movies a year and for at least half of that total, I’d be on my own.  Don’t worry.  I’m not a loser.  I don’t think so anyway.  In my defence, I say (1) some previews are during the day and most of my friends work, and (2) some movies look that bad that I’d feel guilty dragging a friend along.  I now present The Bounty Hunter (with Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler) as exhibit A.


Maybe it’s just me but I also feel a lot of pressure when taking friends to see a movie.  Often running though my mind is “I hope they like it.”  I hate taking people to something they don’t enjoy.  They may as well of sat home and watched the X-Factor on TV.  Well, maybe not the X-Factor but you get my point.


If the film is a comedy, it’s easy to gauge someone’s opinion from the number of times they laugh.  For other films, it’s trickier.  I’ll often sneak a glance and check their body language to see if I can pick up on anything.  All is revealed on leaving the cinema.  I can put forward the same question every time – “sooooo… what did you think of it?”  Hopefully the answer is a positive one.


As I’ve spoken about before, there’s often a danger in hyping up a movie.  I took 5 friends to see Inception a few weeks ago.  I’d already been to the preview and given the film an enthusiastic thumbs up – my only A+ of the year to date.  Two of my friends hated it and another was unable to form an opinion (due to the amount of time he spent asleep).  I know it’s fun to argue about movies but I still felt somewhat deflated.  I wanted them to like it.  I wanted them to see it for the amazing cinematic achievement that it was.


There are other advantages to seeing a movie on your own.  Firstly, you can sit wherever you want.  Tony Martin and I are on the same page when he says the best seat is the one “away from the f***wits”.  I aim to sit up the back and near an aisle (trying to avoid the major crowd).  I have to make this request every time I go to Event Cinemas because of their reserved seating policy.  It’s good to be away from the bulk of the audience because (1) there’s less chance of having people talk around you, and (2) you can often spread out.


As much as I dislike reserved seating, it can be of benefit if you’re buying just a single ticket.  If a session is almost sold out, it’s pretty hard to find two seats together unless you’re prepared to take on the front row (guaranteed torture for any film with subtitles).  If on your own, you can sneak in at the last minute and nab that one-off seat in the back row.  Hopefully it’s not in between a guy who has smuggled in a kebab and a girl who spends the whole movie typing texts into her glowing iPhone.


Another big plus is that you can see a movie whenever you want.  If you’re trying to line up a group of friends, it can be tricky finding a time and day that fits snugly into their Outlook calendars.  This can be dangerous for movies only getting a small release.  If you wait longer than a week, you run the risk that it’ll disappear and be replaced by more profitable Hollywood fare (e.g. Sex & The City 2 running on an endless loop).


Above all else though, seeing a movie on your own can be a great way to unwind.  I’ve come out of many movies feeling a lot better than before I went in.  I’d hate to miss that awesome feeling just because I couldn’t find someone to see a movie with.


I confess there are times when I’ve felt uncomfortable sitting on my own in a movie theatre.  My case in point - seeing a film targeted at pre-teens.  To have a middle aged guy sitting on his own in the back of cinema full of screaming kids might look a little strange.  Thankfully, my sister sacrificed two hours of her time and saw The Spongebob Squarepants Movie with me in 2005.  I wasn’t so lucky with the Hannah Montana / Miley Cyrus 3D concert movie back in 2008.  It was embarrassing enough buying the ticket from the pimple-faced teenager at the counter.  I really think I need to start taking a pen and pad to these kind of movies.  I need to at least look like a critic.


When I’m waiting of a movie to start, I often peruse the audience to see if there are any other folk on their own.  You generally don’t see too many.  They tend to be more frequent in action films (I’m guessing the wife/girlfriend had better things to do).  Film festivals also tend to throw up more people willing to go it alone.  I guess their love for film outweighs the possible awkwardness that many perceive.  Nice to see.


Am I in the minority when I say yes, it is ok to go to the movies on your own?  I hope not.