Earlier this evening in a Marina del Rey plex I watched this promotional spot. Nicole Kidman was presumably paid for her services, of course, but right now I’m telling myself she might have done it gratis, just to lay her heart on the line and to possibly help raise consciousness here and there…to remind younger film lovers how it used to be from time to time.
“We come to this place for magic,” Kidman begins. “We come to AMC theatres to love, to cry, to care. Because we need that, all of us. That indescribable feeling you get when the lights begin to dim. And we go somewhere we’ve never been before. Not just entertained but somehow reborn, together. Dazzling images on a huge silver screen. Sound that I can feel. Somehow heartbreak feels good in a place like this. Our heroes feel like the best part of us, and stories feel perfect and powerful. Because here, they are.”
Heartbreak? Perfect and powerful stories? Movies that flip that deep down switch, etc.?
Kidman is describing a kind of theatrical experience that happened every so often (i.e., infrequently) in the 20th Century and up until fanboy movies began to take over about a decade ago, give or take, and certainly since wokester cinema became a persistent presence about five or so years ago, and since cable and streaming became the the default end-game for any Hollywood or English-language film with serious aspirations. You can also find “the Kidman experience,” so to speak, at film festivals.
Otherwise anyone who gets around (Kidman included) knows that the kind of levitation she describes in the spot has all but ceased in the plexes, which have become gladiator arenas and repositories for rancid formulaic crap. Except during award season and even then on a mostly-miss-the-mark basis, the suppliers of commercial fare aren’t the least bit interested in even trying to fulfill the Kidman aesthetic.