To be honest, I really do not like the cinema. The smell of stale popcorn, musty dark rooms and strangers. This is my perception of a cinema in my 20’s. As a teenager, it was quite the opposite. I am now turning to magical Netflix for my movie hangouts in my twenties. Instead of spending $25 on a ticket and a drink, I can now invite people around, bake something yummy and put on a movie or TV show, in my own lounge room! I have been to the cinema twice this year, both times with friends, both times for new release films. I enjoyed myself, however I would much prefer to chat to those friends in a café and spend that money on some great food.
I first learnt about Netflix on my exchange in Sweden. This is also relevant as the man central to this weeks blog is also Swedish! ‘Thosten Hagerstrand was a Swedish geographer in 1969, whom identified constraints that changed the way social planning worked’ (Bowles, K 2015). The first constraint is capability, so can I get there? The second is coupling, can I get there at the right time? And finally, authority, am I allowed to be there?
Growing up in the Southern Highlands, the cinema in Bowral, was one of the only places we were allowed to be dropped off without a parent and socialise with our friends. Public transport was essentially non-existent so we all had to agree on a time in which every one of our parents could coordinate. The capability constraint Hagerstrand was talking about was very much relevant throughout my teen years. The coupling constraint was also relevant to myself and my family as we have to be one of the least punctual families. If the movie started at 7pm, I was running in at 7.20pm texting my friend to come out with my pre-purchased ticket. Always the late one. The final constraint, authority was never an issue. My friend group was generally speaking, fine to be dropped off in Bowral from the age of 14 to watch films and eat dinners, to then be picked up again afterwards. The cinema constraint of course was the film rating, however I do not have a memory of that stopping us.
My family did have Foxtel, however as a teenager I would still actively ask my parents for a lift to watch a movie in town, which was a 30 minute drive. The idea that we were all grown up, being dropped off in town, allowing to eat whatever we wanted, getting to watch a movie, sometimes even our guy friends came. The “excitement” factor of a night out at the movies would not be quite the same with your siblings and parents in the same house. I am trying to imagine what it would have been like 10 years ago if Netflix was around. A $10 membership per month with thousands of movies and films at your fingertips. I do not think it would have change my perception of the cinema as a teenager, just as Foxtel didn’t.
However in my 20’s, being a broke UNI Student, I cringe at the idea of a movie. Spending money, sitting in a smelly room with strangers, having 15 year olds making out a few seats next to you. Hands down my friends and I will opt for a Netflix night. In the home it is more comfortable, you can talk about the funny parts, you can laugh as loud as you want, you can eat baked goods and drink tea for crying out loud! I personally prefer Netflix than the cinema, however I do not think the cinema will be going away anytime soon. Where will all the teenagers go to hangout at night? Where will the first dates go? Where will all the daytime elderly cinema devotees go? Netflix is at this stage is not for everyone. The social scene of the cinema for now is here to stay.
Bowles, K 2015, Strangers in Public: Cinema Spaces, Lecture notes 24th August 2015, University of Wollongong, Australia, Semester 2, 2015 <https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/480228/mod_resource/content/2/BCM240%202015%20week%205.pdf>