Grant T. Mitchell: Where to?

The funny thing is realizing all of the things we miss once they’re gone. With the return of movie theaters and the offerings they have in concessions, as well as films shown on their gargantuan screens, there is certainly a lot to be grateful for.

If you are familiar with my other column, “Film According to Grant,” then you know that I’m a cinephile and huge fan of movies from all eras. This goes without saying that one essential part of the movie viewing experience is watching a movie in theaters.

The sounds of corn kernels crackling and popping, soda dispensers gushing carbonated beverages and cashiers dolling out enough candy to patrons to induce a diabetic coma for all.

All of these wonderful sights and sounds greet you as you pass through the glossy metal doors of the movie theater. While those certainly leave your senses buzzing with a certain youthful excitement only things such as theme parks and festivals have, you haven’t even gotten to the best part yet.

That would be the screening area.

Walking into the screening area for a film is always a fun experience.

Perhaps you had a long workday, are on a date or you are merely going to the movies to kill time. No matter the reason, once you buy that ticket and find your way to your seat it feels like you’re preparing yourself for some great story around the campfire.

That is the magic of the movie theater, it provides us with another place for us to place our attention upon. Through film we can get the most complete experience of storytelling.

Film is the only medium that has visual and audio stimulation tied to the presentation of its stories.

While television and streaming services have also certainly come a long way in terms of bringing a high quality of entertainment to the home without needing to leave and pay the price of admission, there is still a wonderment that comes from the movie theater.

What’s special about movie theaters to me lies in the fact that the screening room is designed to project a story as best it can. The speakers are all around the audience, the acoustics are perfect in the room and the picture on screen is projected as clearly as anything you can see in the outside world with your own eyes.

Simply put, movie theaters are designed to hold audiences in a constant state of captivation and awe.

While a lot of people go to the theater and view films as a form of escapism, my passion and love for cinema comes from the fact that stories offer us another reality.

Not one to escape to, but rather as an extension of the realm in which we already inhabit. While some films may be more realistic than others, every movie can be absorbed as though it is just another part of our current world.

That also goes back to stories that have been told throughout time and throughout all mediums. Prime examples of this are found in stories from different religions.

While I’m not saying film itself should be worshiped and have a following such as religions do, I do believe that the same philosophy that goes into choosing what stories from religious text fit within your life can also be applied in principle to film.

For instance, not every story in whatever religious text you subscribe to will align with your view of life. Subsequently, we all pick and choose ideas and theories which give our lives meaning.

With film, you choose the stories that you want to see and hear, and you decide on the messages to take from those films, as well as the ones to leave in the theater.

With the return to theaters now in full swing, now is the perfect time to reflect and see just what movies mean to you.

Grant Mitchell is a junior majoring in public relations. He can be reached at gmitch16@vols.utk.edu.

Columns and letters of The Daily Beacon are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Beacon or the Beacon's editorial staff.

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