Streaming films at home means you’re watching from inside a kind of isolation tank — whatever you’re feeling or not feeling, it pretty much belongs to you alone (and possibly to your significant other or kids), and is probably being expressed in some sort of muted fashion.
But things are a lot different when you see a dynamically effective film with a responsive audience. (Remember?). Key moments can feel like emotional explosions or symphonic crescendos, and they’re really quite intense.
Yesterday on Twitter Edgar Wright launched a conversation about this. He began by recalling a major moment when he saw Adrien Lyne‘s Fatal Attraction in a packed house. Wright: “Anne Archer‘s line to Glenn Close over the phone, ‘If you come near my family again I’ll kill you’, made the place ERUPT in applause.”
In his Criterion Bluray High Noon commentary, film prof Howard Suber claims that 1952 audiences went nuts when Grace Kelly, a devout Quaker, shot one of the bad guys (Robert Wilke) during the final gunfight. I can understand that. It’s quite a payoff.
Many have spoken of great audience excitement when all the superheroes gather for battle at the end of Joe and Anthony Russo‘s Avengers: Endgame.
One of my favorite audience reactions happened during a showing of Ridley Scott‘s Alien (’79) in an Upper West Side cinema. As Sigourney Weaver‘s Ripley is preparing to leave the Nostromo inside a small space cruiser, she returns to the Nostromo’s danger zone (i.e., where H.R. Giger‘s alien might be lurking) to look for her cat “Jonesy.” The audience (especially the African American members, if I’m allowed to say this) started howling when she did this. “Ohhh, mann…whatchoo doin’? Jeeezus….fuck the cat, man…FUCK THE CAT!”
Please share any such moments from your collective memory pools…thanks.