Sunday, 7 February 2021

My Most Memorable Moviegoing Moments


With movie theatres closed in many corners of the world right now, moviegoers across the globe are missing out on the unique, cherished cinema experience that can't be replicated at home – or anywhere else for that matter. Because let's face it, there really is nothing else like sitting down in a plush seat with your oversized Coke and warm popcorn in hand to see the latest release – whether it be a bombastic blockbuster at the mega multiplex, an indie darling at the boutique independent theatre or a schlocky B-movie at the local outdoor cinema.

In its most recent issue, Empire Magazine partnered with British filmmaker Edgar Wright to pay homage to some of cinema's greatest ever moments – the triumphant, terrific and sometimes terrifying moments that have made film fans and cinephiles cheer, swoon, sob and chatter about after the credits have rolled. 

As a new dad who most likely won't be seeing a film in cinemas for foreseeable future (whether they are open or not!), I wanted to piggyback off Empire's idea and present a rundown of my most memorable moviegoing moments too. 

As someone fortunate enough to be invited along to my fair share of special advance screenings for critics over the years, there are no shortage to choose from – but I wanted to call out some of the ones that are most memorable. Give them a read below, and be sure to let me know what your most memorable moviegoing moments are in the comments below.

Plenty of people have reservations about seeing a film with a large crowd – that they can be loud, disruptive and detract from the experience – but I'm going to start with two moviegoing moments that 100 per cent benefited from being seated in a packed auditorium. 

First off, Jordan Peele's breakout hit Get Out. From start to finish, Get Out is packed with intrigue and incident, and Peele plays the audience like a harp – stringing them along for the ride before serving up surprise after surprise. But the scene that elicited the largest reaction was without a doubt the 'keys' scene – yeah, you know the one I'm talking about. 

It's the moment we realise the jig is up – and that shit is about the get real. There's a second, even scarier moment in the final scene too – until Peele chooses catharsis over chaos, and gives the crowd satisfaction rather than sadness. Seeing Get Out for the first time with some friends and a packed theatre, and hearing their reactions to the emotional rollercoaster, rates pretty highly on this list.

Another moment that drew a reaction came during the climax of Quentin Tarantino's terrific feature, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. That should come as no surprise – Tarantino knows how to cater to a crowd. Much like the finale of Inglorious Basterds or Django Unchained, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood finally lets loose in the third act – and the moment Cliff Booth (a fantastic Brad Pitt) violently tears into the Manson family members who would otherwise have killed Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) while tripping on acid definitely drew the loudest cheer (and for some, gasps).

My experience seeing Once Upon a Time in Hollywood for the first time – at a special opening night event at Luna Palace in Leederville with friends – definitely contributed to my overall enjoyment of the film. The cinema itself was decked out with special Hollywood-themed decor to mark the occasion, with a pop-up bar serving special drinks, live music and go-go dancers to set the scene before the film started. Even from our crumbling seats in the nosebleed section, the vibe was pretty special. 

In fact, Luna Leederville has played host to a few choice moviegoing experiences over the years – from a raucous Q&A screening of The Disaster Artist with Greg Sestero in November 2017 and an evening with Australia's own James Bond George Lazenby during Revelation Film Festival, to my first viewing of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey in glorious 4K and back-to-back sessions of Alien and Aliens.

Walking out of Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi is another opening night experience I won't forget in a hurry. Not only was it a sight to behold on Event Innaloo's largest VMAX screen, but the moment of stunned silence around the two-hour mark, just after the 'Holdo Manoeuvre', was something else. It's without a doubt one of the best Star Wars moments to date, and sitting in a packed theatre watching it unfold, is a highlight from the sequel trilogy. The fact that it comes at the climax of a 45-minute sequence filled with overlapping strands, each with their own individual climaxes, speaks to Johnson's ability as a storyteller and a filmmaker. 

My fourth pick is another Star Wars film, but a very different kind of moviegoing experience. In September 2019, I forked out to see my favourite Star Wars film – The Empire Strikes Back – on the big screen for the first time, with musical accompaniment by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO). 

Held at Perth's Riverside Theatre with a full 80-person live orchestra providing John Williams' iconic score, the screening was like nothing else – and really gives you a renewed appreciation of how much the music sells an audience on the 'magic' of Star Wars

From the dizzying asteroid field sequence to the iconic finale in which Luke learns the truth about Darth Vader, the rounds of applause from the joyous crowd after each wonderful piece of music from the orchestra made this a special screening of an extra special film. 

I could go on forever; from the glee of seeing Captain America wielding Thor's hammer in Avengers: Endgame, to the collective groan slash buzz that came from the audience when Inception cut to credits just as the totem started to topple, there's no shortage of memorable movie moments to pick from. Hopefully, when all this is over, film fans outside Australia will be able to get back to the cinema too. But in the meantime, I want to hear your most memorable moviegoing moments in the comments. Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. These are some fabulous movie moments. Watching Endgame on opening night was an experience I'll never forget. And I also remember the end of Inception, watching that damn top continue to spin and never knowing if it topples or not (I think it did). I miss going to the theaters.

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