I love movies. Love em. But my favorite, my favorite is going to a movie in the theaters. I have experienced more moments of magic sitting in a dark theater watching an incredible story unfold before my very eyes, than I have had in my real, somewhat banal existence.
And I will admit that I am that rare loner movie go-er. I go to escape, to take a break from the riggers of thinking about whatever seems to be occupying my mind, or consuming my thoughts. I can become obsessive … and movies help.
Last night I went to a movie that I had been looking forward to seeing for some time. Last night I was not alone. Last night as I watched one of my favorite superheroes battle one of the best super-villains ever to grace the big screen, I sat with my little sister and my little brother. It was special. It was. The whispering to each other when something cool or unexpected happened, the laughing in unison at the corny one-liners … we shared it all with a theater of like-minded individuals.
It was, as cheesy as it sounds, it was magic.
Meanwhile, some 900 miles away at a similar venue in Colorado, a night that was supposed to be similarly magical, turned to horror… to incredible, devastating tragedy as a real life villain took the theater by way of a sickening siege.
There are no words, none. And one cannot compare tragedies, that’s unfair. But I have only felt this way about one other tragedy, the other tragedy. Where I now have this inability to think about anything else as I try desperately to wrap my head around what happened. Was this movie targeted on purpose? Was it just because he knew a crowd would be gathered there? Who would do this to people, to children, just looking for a few hours of smiles, laughs and cheers?
That’s that obsessive side I mentioned coming out.
But this hit home. This hit me, to borrow a cliché, where I live. As a hobby, I write screenplays. I, literally, think about life through movies, in “three act structure,” in “character arc,” in “cinematic scope.” I have found truths about myself and life generally both in watching movies and in writing them. Movies are the first place I turn when I need a friend, when I need to let go, when I need to escape.
Last night as I shared that with two people I love, that I care about greatly, I briefly thought about how lucky I was, that I have this. This house of wonder to go to and enjoy and live an amazing life vicariously. That I can sit at a coffee shop for hours, where I can live and watch my own movies unfold in my head -- And that I can share in it all with others, that we can all share the magic together.
Today my obsessive demeanor takes hold and that’s all I’ve been thinking about. Today I think about those that have lost that magic forever, those that were taken too soon and that were marred, in all likelihood, for life.
I can’t help but think and ask myself, could I go back? Could there ever be some semblance of magic found again?
I don’t know. Maybe that is far from the most important question. I don’t know. Maybe just having a life to live and to be grateful for that, when others weren’t so lucky is the more important thing. Not being able to enter a theater again, the PTS, all that … all that is second to being alive, to having loved ones to hold and share life with.
I don’t know. My heart and my prayers go out to the victims of this incredible atrocity. And more than that, I hope one day, whether it be soon or a little ways down the road, one day I hope they all can rediscover that which brought them, and all of us, there in the first place. I hope to share in that magic with them again.