Things you only know if you grew up loving the cinema

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It’s a tough old time to be a cinema. New Bond flick No Time To Die has been delayed (again), other major studios have announced heavily delayed schedules or even pulled some films from cinema release entirely, and now Cineworld is temporarily closing all its venues in the US, the UK, and Ireland.

In honour of these embattled institutions, here are seven things you’ll understand if you grew up absolutely loving the cinema.

1. There can never be enough popcorn
Sure, cinema popcorn costs more than the pack of Cobs in the supermarket over the road but it just isn’t the same.

Popcorn actually used to be banned from cinemas when they first started out. Movies were silent at the time and popcorn would have been a big distraction. Also, cinemas were trying to emulate the theatre experience and, typically, had beautiful carpet and ornate rugs that they didn’t want popcorn being mashed into.

Sound was added to film around 1927 and with that a wider clientele was introduced to the movie-going experience since literacy was no longer a necessity to watch a film. By 1930, attendance to movie theatres had skyrocketed and street vendors saw an opportunity. They bought their own popping machines and sold popcorn outside the cinemas to moviegoers. And the rest, as they say, is history.

2. Lying about your age doesn’t (always) work
Whatever the grown-ups might say, trying and failing to lie about your age is an essential part of teendom.

The Australian Classification Board was created in 1970 to classify or rate all films that came into Australia. The early years of the system bought us these four ratings:

  • G for ‘general exhibition’, carried over from the previous ratings system
  • NRC for ‘not recommended for children under 12’ (previously X, A or not suitable for children. This later became PG for ‘parental guidance’)
  • M for ‘mature audiences’ (later became M 15+ from the late 1980s until 2005)
  • R for ‘restricted exhibition’ (previously SOA or suitable only for adults. This later became R 18+ in the late 1980s).

The MA 15+ rating was introduced in 1993, to flag content that was too strong for the M classification, but not so much so that the content should be restricted only to persons over the age of 18.

You probably managed to sneak into a few NRCs underage, but you probably got caught and blacklisted when trying to talk your way into an R rated movie 5 years too early.

Note to self: don’t claim to be 31 with your homework peeking out of your bag.

3. Some age restrictions are there for a reason
Those who did successfully watch an R-rated movie too early might have wondered whether the sleepless nights were really worth it.

We all have at least one movie that scared us witless as kids and it was probably viewed by peering through our fingers at the screen.

4. Dating can be stressful
There’s a reason the cinema is a staple of early dating. “It won’t be awkward,” we thought, “because we can just watch the movie, and then we can talk about the movie.” This is true, right up to the point where you mistake them reaching for the armrest as an early attempt at handholding.

5. Manners do really matter
There are two ways you might have learned this lesson. You might have sat there silently seething while a film was irretrievably ruined by the loud snacking and chatting of a group two rows back. Or you might have been in that group and received a sharp lecture in public morality from your irate fellow moviegoers.

6. It’s good to have a long attention span
Most Netflix watchers now have a list of movies they’ve never finished. Maybe they got bored, they got sidetracked by another tab, the phone rang, or – by far most likely – they fell asleep. Cinemas force you to engage with a film, with no distractions, mobiles off, and enough surround sound to wake Sleeping Beauty. Two hours really isn’t that long.

7. Jaffas are too expensive to roll down the aisle
How many Jaffas were sacrificed to the aisle that you could’ve eaten?

What memories do you have of going to the cinema as a kid? Do you still enjoy going to the cinema? What’s the last movie you watched?

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Total Comments: 2
  1. 0

    these days the popcorn is a health hazard

  2. 0

    My brother and I often went to a Saturday afternoon matinee at the local picture theatre. Mum gave us enough money for price of admission, plus a penny or two for a penny lolly stick or similar. That lasted us all afternoon. We walked there and home again.
    There were usually two full length films plus a newsreel and a cartoon or two. A good afternoon’s entertainment for a couple of kids.



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