N.Y. Times critic Manohla Dargis, posted on Thursday, 3.19: “With social distancing, quarantines and self-isolation, many of us are now physically alone. I am fervently hoping for the best for us all. When we at last can go out again and be with one another, I hope that we flood cinemas, watching every single movie, from the most rarefied art film to the silliest Hollywood offering. The movies can be exasperating and worse, but they have seen us through a lot, including economic bad times and wars. And there is nothing like watching a movie, leaving the world while being rooted in it alongside friends, family and everyone else. I miss that, I miss you.”
HE reaction, posted on 3.20: The COV-19 solitude feeds my depression and vice versa. I know my life isn’t over, but it’s easy to feel that way. All you have to do is let go and slide down into the pit. We’re all hoping for the best, but the idea of living like this for two, three or even four or five months is shattering.
I’m also having trouble believing that Manohla really wants to watch movies with the unwashed rabble again. The negatives have always seemed to far outweigh the positives of seeing a film with ticket buyers, especially in the big Manhattan plexes. The cultivation levels have plummeted over the last 30 years. As Paul Schrader said on Facebook a year or two ago, it wasn’t just the films that were better in the ’70s but the audiences.
I’ll always love going to invitational screenings, large and small. Ditto screenings at the American Cinematheque Aero and Egyptian, which attract a better clientele. Ditto the Arclight cinemas, to some extent. And there’s nothing better than watching an HD Bluray of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance on my 4K HDR 65-incher.
But seeing movies with Average Joes at the Grove can be tedious and at times off-putting. I’ll never miss seeing films with 21st Century knuckle-draggers. Manohla misses you — I don’t. Not for nothing is the invisible motto of this site “hell is other people.” If I could eliminate die-hard fans of the Fast & Furious franchise by clapping my hands three times, I would clap my hands three times.