Opening the door to a movie theater feels like a religious experience. I don’t even like popcorn, but I will forever love the smell of butter being drizzled on top of everyone else’s favorite snack. I usually sneak my candy in, but I always, and I mean always, wait in line to buy my overpriced Diet Coke. Something about drinking an excessively large soda inside of an AMC theater just does it for me. 

After everyone collects their assorted food and drinks, the search for the right number theater ensues. Walking into a pitch black room, previews barely beginning, we creep up the stairs and slip into our seats. Some people like to skip the previews, but for me and my friends, it’s key that we watch them. We need to know exactly what movies are coming out next, planning a future excursion before this one even ends. There is also an unspoken rule that it’s okay to talk quietly during previews, as long as your conversation revolves around what you’re seeing on the screen. 

When the movie starts, I find my escape. These next two hours are full of sensory overload. When a movie gets loud, it’s really loud. The sound effects and the visual effects, combined with the sugar overload from ingesting a full day’s worth of calories is a rush. This is so special to me because that feeling I get, from start to finish, is one I haven’t been able to recreate anywhere else here at Tulane. This is mostly because, as an extroverted introvert, it takes away the social pressures associated with a night out. Sometimes I want to be with people, but I don’t necessarily feel like engaging in a long-winded conversation. Sitting in silence with someone for two hours is only considered socially acceptable at a place like a movie theater, so naturally, I gravitate towards them.

Another reason that I’m drawn to the movies is because I can escape into the beautiful stories they tell. As a child, I read books from the minute I woke up to long after I was supposed to be asleep, relying solely on the glow of my flashlight. Some readers diss the movies, slapping the “it wasn’t as good as the book” label on adaptations that failed to live up to their expectations. Although sometimes I end up groaning along with the rest of the audience, I try to think about what I saw from more than just my own perspective. Maybe the book was better, but that means you got to witness someone else’s vision of what the words meant to them. That being said, always check the Rotten Tomatoes review before you go. Movies cost money, and you want to make sure what you’re seeing aligns with your expectations.

Finding hobbies in college was something I openly struggled with last semester. I felt like I had an overwhelming amount of free time, and I just didn’t know what to do with it. Escaping to the movie theater was a bit like finding a home away from home. Anyone who’s been in an AMC knows that they’re basically the same everywhere—the same smells, the same snacks, and even the same ugly carpeting. I like exploring New Orleans, getting to try iconic eateries and walking around historical sites. But I don’t think that downplays the importance of finding things that remind me of home. Doing one or two things each week that feel almost identical to something I would have done in Maryland helps me find things to love about our city. It might not be every week, but every once in while, ask your friends to meet you at the movies.   

Cover Photo: Indie Wire