Movie Goings (American Ultra)

Choosing a film to watch in this day and age is quite difficult, especially with the abundance of choice and the multiple ways in which we can view a film. With the introduction of Netflix and other online streaming services, DVD hire shops and even purchasing a DVD (as well as the cinema), the human population is strapped with choice and there will always bee something for anyone out there. The film, my friends and I chose to go and view was American Ultra – “A stoner – who is in fact a government agent – is marked as a liability and targeted for extermination. But he’s too well-trained and too high for them to handle” (IMDb, 2015).

Although I invested way too much of my viewing into the plot of the film and didn’t really take a great look at my surroundings (which I probably should have watching this kind of movie just incase there was a hit put out on me and a bounty offered, in which case I would have needed to prepare myself), although what I did notice was quite interesting considering my speculation before I got to the cinema’s. My friend’s and I lined up in the queue, ready to buy a ticket for the 9:30pm session of American Ultra, and I realised that the people in the queue were all there for the same film. Was this film highly anticipated to be a well-done and worthwhile film, or was it just a casual Saturday night of which these overaged young-adults wanted to enjoy, just as myself and my friends wanted to? Either way, I payed my $24.30 for 1 movie ticket, a choctop and a medium Lemon Squash (a bit over-priced if you ask me) and I made my way to cinema 1, of which to my surprise, the cinema was quite full already.

In terms of Hagerstrand‘s constraints, being capability, coupling and authority constraints, I wasn’t very limited by these, nor were my friends. Choosing a 9:30pm session time meant I could still enjoy a meal out for dinner and give my friends time to finish work before we travelled to the cinema. With access to my own car, not having to dependent on my parents or siblings dropping me off, coupling constraints weren’t much of a concern, although the younger people in the audience of the movie theatre that night might have had some difficulty accessing a car, given that they are too young to drive or their parents would have to go out of their way to get them to the cinema. 9:30pm was also the latest viewing time because there were no midnight release films on that night, so we were on a strict time frame to get there and be seated at the right time to watch the film in its entirety. This usually proves difficult when myself or my friends have work beforehand, although this time around, we all arrived on time and safely.

Given we arrived just on time, my brother completely ignoring our seat numbers and just sitting in the next available row, we all took our seats and watched the film previews that are always aired before the film. Given the context of the film, all the previews we viewed were of a thriller or horror genre. American Ultra wasn’t anything of a horror, although heightened my anxiety proving it was quite a thriller as well as a comedy.

Before the film had even begun though, we ran into trouble when a group of people wanted to sit in their seats given to them on their tickets, unfortunately we had already gotten comfortable and sat, so they were happy to sit in the row behind us of which people moved when they realised that had actually sat in their wrong seats also. When it comes to assigned seating, I’m not sure I quite understand it. Why would you want people to sit in particular seats during a movie? Is it the aesthetic that pleases you? Do you want order in the court (theatre)? Or is it just a prerequisite for potential movie theatre brawls that are popular on YouTube hoping that one day the theatre will generate record-breaking revenue based on that one fight? I understand the need for it when there are popular viewing sessions, given the amount of people, choosing where you want to sit can become chaotic and possibly ruin the experience (interacting with other people, ugh). Assigned seating is a waste of time given that I actively avoid sitting in my assigned seat whenever the cinema is empty, given that I like to feel rebellious and I am curious to actually see the lengths of which the movie theatre staff will go to have their own way in terms of seating.

In saying this though, 9:30pm sessions seem to be popular among young adults considering it is too late for young children to be out-and-about, but too early to go to bed or retire to your home after a long night. In my opinion, it is a much more appetising experience and I actually enjoy going to the films then, actively seeking not to stream them online, but instead, supporting the industry in buying a ticket and watching the film in a contextual setting. This may not be the case in 5-10 years though, with the online streaming service revolution, who knows where a contextual setting will be appropriate… at home in your bedroom, in a public room streaming on a big screen (quite like a cinema), or will all this piracy eventually die off with all these new laws and regulations.

All in all though, academia aside, American Ultra was a thoroughly enjoyable film and I ‘highly’ recommend it to anyone that enjoyed Zombieland, Adventureland and other liked-minded films. Cinematics were simple but effective and the plot seemed to flow well. Although I tend to watch any movie that cast both Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart as leads (no, that doesn’t mean Twilight).

Further readings:

Online and On Demand – Trends in Australian Online Video Use

Cinemas in Australia – Market Research Report (2015) – TV TRENDS


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Twitter: @TJLeussink
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One comment

  1. […] discussing what a public mediated space is, to the roots of public participation and the studies of collaborative ethnography, BCM240 has shaped a new way of thinking for me as an […]

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