Hensley: There's nothing like a trip to the movies

·4 min read

While the pandemic isn’t over, life has slowly returned to what it was it like back in the early days of 2020. That is if we don’t count $14 hamburgers and $5 gasoline.

I’ve scheduled my first air travel since March 2020 and am already praying for planes, pilots and all the little things that make the miracle of flight happen to be in place at the appointed time. We’ve got people in the office and conversations with colleagues are once again taking place.

Doug Hensley
Doug Hensley

Even better, we’re going back to the movies. Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen the “Top Gun” sequel, (enjoyable) and “Elvis.” It had been a little over two years since I’d been to a theater. My son and I watched “The Invisible Man” a day or so before everything shut down, and then in mid-April this year, we took a group from our church to see a faith-based movie called “The Mulligan.”

The wife loves going to the movies, and we don’t go as often as we could. Say what you want, but for us, it’s an enjoyable experience. The smell of popcorn. The amazingly comfortable seats. Previews of coming attractions. The big screen. Nothing like it.

There’s been a great deal of resiliency shown by the film industry through the years. Remember when there were Blockbuster Video and Hollywood Video stores all over the place? You didn’t have to fight the crowds to see a great movie. You could just rent them and watch in the comfort of your home. I’ve even heard stories of those who would pick up their rentals and then go by the theater and purchase popcorn for the evening.

Then things changed. You could purchase DVDs online or at various brick-and-mortar locations, build a collection of movies and then wonder what you were going to do about that large stack of DVDs gathering dust in the corner. Then streaming services came along and that really took off during the pandemic. People had to stay at home and what better way to do it then by binge-watching movies or television series?

As an aside, I’m not much of a video binger. Too many irons in the fire right now, but I have come across this show I’m really enjoying. Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s called “NCIS.” Don’t judge. When the show debuted almost 20 years ago, our kids were young and nothing much beyond the Weather Channel and Spongebob appeared on our television.

Having missed it then makes it a bonus now. Never watched an episode until a few weeks ago, and now I’m a fan. It’s clever with compelling characters and superb storylines. What’s the old saying: The things we don’t know far outnumber the things we do know.

Despite video rentals and DVD sales and streaming at home, there’s still nothing like an evening at the movies. Theaters have done a great job improving the movie-going experience in terms of food and drink and overall comfort. Few things are as enjoyable as plopping down in one of those oversized chairs, kicking up your feet, and losing yourself in a good movie.

A lot of that was spinning around in my head a week ago as we took our seats for “Elvis.” The reviews I saw ahead of time weren’t exactly kind, but the criticism seemed fair. The movie is, in my opinion, overly long. At the same time, I don’t know how anyone would go about telling the story of Elvis Presley in a concise manner. So much heartache.

The other thing I heard ahead of time is it’s the first movie where Tom Hanks plays an unlikable character. I default to “Volunteers” on that one, but his portrayal of Col. Tom Parker, Presley’s controversial manager, certainly inspires intense dislike.

Then again, we didn’t go as film critics. We went to be entertained, and that’s what is supposed to happen when the lights go down. It’s been nice to once again get back in a theater and witness movie-making magic.

Doug Hensley is associate regional editor and director of commentary for the Globe-News.

This article originally appeared on Amarillo Globe-News: Doug Hensley there's nothing like a trip to the movies