In other provinces, including Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and now B.C., it is possible for a theatre to obtain a liquor license. This is an opportunity being missed here in Saskatchewan – long known for relatively prudish and annoying liquor laws – and something which should be allowed in this province’s theatres. It’s the kind of thing that could help keep smaller theatres going, and help maintain revenue and inspire special events. It’s something that should be considered just because it allows for new and interesting approaches to the film going experience.
Now, I’ve always objected to people doing distracting things like texting in the theatre, so this might seem counter-intuitive, but bear with me. I am not proposing showing up at a serious drama absolutely sloshed, and I’m not saying every screening should come with large pitcher of beer. The newest Pixar feature should probably remain alcohol-free, after all. No, I’m talking about the communal experience that only a theatre provides, and how that experience can be enhanced with a bit of drinking, a lot of people with the same attitude, and everyone looking to have the same kind of fun. It’s the kind of thing that has caused unorthodox hits and is catching on slowly around the world, often to the filmmaker’s own confusion.
It’s not merely bad movies, though copious amounts of beer is the only way a reluctant boyfriend can tolerate the Twilight series, but instead movies that inspire a strange kind of group fun that simply can’t be shown on their own. Things like The Room, a famously bad film about a failed relationships and people throwing a football for no reason. If you attempt to watch The Room on your own, it doesn’t work, because it’s merely bad. You need to see it with a group, and that’s how the film has found its odd form of success – people have developed rituals, dress up as characters, and memorize choice pieces of dialog when they go to a screening. It becomes an odd group event.
That’s the kind of thing that doesn’t work very well sober. It might be kind of fun, but the sheer lunacy of everything that is going on is going to be enhanced with light drinking and a crowd that is more able to make a fool of themselves. The success of such an event would depend on putting ridiculous films together with people who are going to have an entertaining group event making fun of said films. It’s the kind of screening that could use older movies, it could be conducted separately from new films people actually want to see without distraction, and it could provide a different revenue stream for smaller theatres or multiplexes which have a free screen available to devote to such silliness.
I know with my friends, we will sometimes get together for a drink and a bad Nicolas Cage movie, and it’ll be a fun time for everyone involved. We don’t take it seriously, just as an opportunity to have a good time and hang out with each other. This kind of event would be relatively cheap to run – the films don’t have to be new or expensive, just stuff that a big group could get really into having fun with. It’s not the kind of event for everyone, but it has been catching on elsewhere, as people discover pictures that just don’t work either sober or without a group of people. It could find a market here, if we let it.