No matter how comfortable your couch or how big your TV, the cinematic experience offered by a theatre cannot be replicated at home. So from terrifyingly quiet horrors to thrilling family films, our writers talk about the movies they wish they saw in theatres.
The Florida Project (2017)
I wish I saw The Florida Project on a massive, bright and shiny cinema screen instead of on my half-broken laptop because, as if it needed anything else to further its heart-breaking story and stunning acting, it is visually exceptional.
Shot on 35mm with a powerful change to director Sean Baker’s trademark iPhone 6 at the end, the strong pastel colour scheme and beautiful rainbows provide a staggering contrast to the story of young mum Halley and her six year-old daughter Moonee growing increasingly desperate in their low-rent hotel housing, just a few streets away from Disneyland. Everything from the dyed green of Halley’s hair to the bright white of a Whippy ice-cream is lovely in its beautiful everydayness.
This crucially doesn’t deny the characters’ faults or romanticise their very real and dangerous problems, but allows a comedic sweetness to shine through, all while making you tearfully angry at the injustices of the world that allowed them to get into this situation in the first place.
Crashing of cymbals and the rapid jazz beats on the drum. Mostly because want to see things in the cinema because they are visually striking this film however is my choice because of the sound. I wish I’d seen this film in the surround sound and the darkness that sharpens you senses to every tingle of a cymbal. Don’t get my wrong the visuals that accompany the emotionally heightened music scenes are equally as transfixing. The anatomy of obsession is something I’ve always been fascinated by and this film does it better than any other I’ve seen. The focus of the main character to become the best jazz drummer and the bullying he endures from his teacher is fascinating and sickening. The music scenes are what draw me to it though for today as I wish I’d been able to utilise the intense surround sound that you get in cinemas. The intensity of those concert scenes would have been so much more on the big screen.
Treasure Planet (2002)
I was so close to picking The Phantom Menace (1999) for this so I could experience everyone’s collective disappointment in the cinema, but I feel like The Last Jedi (2017) midnight premiere really did that for me (hey, at least for The Rise of Skywalker (2019) we were all expecting it to be probably bad). Plus, I don’t want to subject myself to that torture again.
The film I have chosen instead is Treasure Planet. I love Treasure Planet and it is a significant part of my childhood, alongside Muppet Treasure Island (1996), of course. However, Treasure Planet was a box office disaster, and there are a lot of really interesting videos about the reasons for this. It isn’t because of bad reviews! My family actually saw this in the cinema and they say that despite it being a box office disaster, their screening was packed, but I was too young to go. If I could, I would pay to see this film a hundred times over (ok, the film might need a few more than a hundred to boost up its box office), but you know what I mean.
I personally believe that the introduction story-telling scene is one of the best opening scenes of all time. Also, the character depth in this film is insane, and the bond between Jim Hawkins and John Silver is so emotional to watch. The speech that Silver gives Hawkins makes me cry every time without fail. And can I just give some love to the animation? I love the aesthetic of this film, using a 70/30 ratio between Victorian and sci-fi, and I love that Disney tried something new with their animation: a combination of CGI, 2D and 3D Deep Canvas (what they used for Tarzan). This is what ultimately made the film so expensive to produce, but I absolutely love the combination of different styles.
You can tell that this film was an absolute passion project, and it’s such a shame that it couldn’t make its money back. However, if I could go back, I’d urge everyone to watch this movie. It is on Disney+ though if anyone’s interested!
There are many films that I wish I saw in cinema, but the first that comes to mind has to be Moonlight. I watched this just recently last summer and I have no idea why I didn’t watch it sooner and why I didn’t go see it in cinemas. It’s a phenomenal film.
Moonlight is MAGNIFICENT. A specific but utterly symphonic portrait of masculinity in the modern world. Every shot is seared into my brain and I only wish I could see the shots on the big screen rather than my little itty bitty laptop screen. Moonlight is an experience which we should be blessed to have exist in our current, rapturously unsympathetic reality.
I do think if I saw this film in cinemas, though, I would be the one embarrassingly sobbing at the back, desperately trying to wipe my tears away as I leave. I don’t understand how anyone can make it through the ending of this film without literally having their heart ripped into a thousand tiny pieces. I remember full on sobbing at 3am that my whole body hurt, so maybe not seeing it in cinemas saved me some embarrassment.
Also, Ashton sanders’ career should have the same momentum as Timothee Chalamet or Noah Centineo. He should be in a new movie every year, he should be on magazine covers and red carpets. He was incredible in this movie and he deserves a big and succeessful career in Hollywood. Mahershala Ali is also the best person ever. What a screen presence he has. The orange juice scene will stay with me for a very long time.
This is one of the most important movies to me, from a filmmaking and personal standpoint I feel safe saying it had a significant impact on my life and I truly wish that I had saw it in cinemas to experience that magnitude of brilliancy for the first time with everyone else rather than experiencing it 3 years later, on my own, at 3am.
A Quiet Place (2018)
Everybody hates it when you are watching a movie and there is someone talking. People causing a disturbance can completely break your emersion and enjoyment of a film and I have definitely fallen victim to it. And a film where keeping silent is even more important has got to be A Quiet Place. And I wish I had been at the cinema to experience it.
A Quiet Place isn’t my favourite film, not by far and there are many other films I’d also love to watch in the cinema but this John Krasanski film would have been a unique experience. And actually, give me the opportunity to watch a film in peace and quiet without Brenda and her annoying 5-year-old chatting up a storm crinkling all sorts of sweets. Being able to watch it in a cinema without anyone talking or making noise would have been such a cool experience and fun with everyone struggling to keep quiet when trying to eat popcorn.
Of course, I did get this experience myself when I watched it but that was me alone so it would have been more fun if I was with friends. It’s no surprise that I was beyond excited for A Quiet Place II just so I could get a taste of that cinematic experience and I was even tempted to go to a double screening. And then coronavirus happened and it got delayed.
I now know true sadness.
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Dread it, run from it… my love for Thor: The Dark World still arrives. Not quite sure why I never got to see this one in the cinema but oh boy I want to now. It’s funnier than Thor (2011) (“Oh dear, is she dead?“), has some incredible action set-pieces and a brilliant score. And Natalie Portman saying sea bass a lot.
But I really, really want to see it for that end-scene. To see Loki, dismissing his magic that disguises him as Odin in front of Thor, sitting on the throne on Asgard. How magical would that be in a cinema full of (forgiving) MCU fans? Loki is one of the most iconic villains in superhero movie history, and ending the film with him getting his way is both unexpected and, I think, amazing. I mean, come on – the scene paved the way for Taika to make Anthony Hopkins (!) impersonate Tom Hiddleston’s Loki in Thor: Ragnarok whilst Liam Hemsworth impersonates Thor and Matt Damon impersonates Loki. Try and follow that.
It’s one of the underrated gems of the MCU and gets way too much hate. I’m just as annoyed I didn’t get to see that Chris Evans cameo on the big screen. Someone start a petition to get it back in cinemas with me?
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
At the very core of filmmaking is the ability to create a communal experience who will get an audience to empathize. While watching a movie at home can approximate this feeling, the culmination of this experience can only truly be felt in a theatre.
In this respect, it is undeniable that Spielberg knows how to engage an audience. As one of the most popular of his films, E.T. is a perfect example of this. From the first encounter with the alien, to the iconic shot of the moon, I would have been absolutely thrilled to witness this film in theatres for the first time. As told by my mother, who was there when it first came out, the cinema was packed, so much so that people were sitting on the steps of the cinema (fire safety was not a thing in the ‘80s).
The wonder of extra-terrestrial life seen through the eyes of a child makes for one of the most universally beloved tales portrayed in cinema. It is inspiring, heartfelt, and imaginative. It has affected pop-culture irreparably, and like many other Spielberg projects, it unanimously moves an audience without resulting cheesy.
Every child should be shown this movie, possibly in the quiet yet energetic environment of a theatre.
Last modified: 8th May 2020