A Night At A Screening (or Forgetting What Non-Screenings Are Like)

Last week I got an invitation through Women In Film to attend a screening of “Neighbors 2”. I had seen the first movie and I thought that the second one would be fun to check out. I wasn’t planning on going to the movies to see the movie (I try not to spend money on movies unless they are really the type of movie that needs to be seen on a big screen), so I was pretty excited for the invite to the screening!

The different screenings I get invited to all have their own personalities. The SAG-AFTRA Film Society screenings are pretty much always at the DGA theater and they are the type of screenings that you have to show up early for to make sure you can get in to the theater. There is no food or drink allowed inside of the theater and pretty much everyone stays until the end of the credits (it’s actually in the rules that you are supposed to stay until then). Most of the SAG Awards screenings are like this too. You go to a screening house and line up to get in. They are private events so they are almost always actors.

Women In Film doesn’t always do screening like that. Sometimes they are private events, but they also sometimes are with other organizations too. When I saw “The Theory Of Everything”, that was the fanciest screening I’ve been to. And when I went to see “Miss You Already” it was a screening with other groups, but somehow it ended up being more like a private screening with the crew and a couple of other people (I was one of the random other people there).

I’m aware that I’m probably spoiled with the screenings. Not only does it allow me to see more movies than most people go out to see, but the environment that I see the movies in is very different from what it’s like at a normal movie theater. Most of the time, nobody is allowed to eat or drink so I don’t have to worry about weird smells (I once sat next to someone in a movie theater who ate a tuna sandwich during the movie and the smell was pretty overbearing) or the noise of people eating. Also, at screenings it’s extremely rare to see a cell phone out. Not only are the people at the screening usually too into the movie to look at their phone, but since some screenings are advance screenings you can be kicked out if security sees the light of a cell phone during the movie (security will be standing all around the theater just watching for that cell phone glow). Seeing movies in screenings has fortunately become my norm and I’m so grateful for that. So when I see a screening that isn’t what I expect, it throws me off.

The screening for “Neighbors 2” was held at a movie theater at The Grove, and when my friend and I lined up to go inside we noticed that it appeared that the screening was not just Women In Film but a couple of different groups attending the movie. We got our tickets and got some popcorn (we had gotten dinner at The Grove before the screening) and walking into the theater.

Screening

As soon as we walked inside, I was shocked about how crowded the theater was. We had gotten inside about an hour before the screening and a lot of the seats were already taken (or saved by people putting their coats or purses on them). Also, at the front of the theater there was a DJ, a step and repeat, and a bunch of people there. Turns out, this screening was also sponsored by a local radio station (I think they might have given away tickets to the screening as well). Before the movie started, there was very loud music from the DJ and people climbing over seats to get to the front to play some games to try to win a free poster or frisbee.

Once the movie started, there were a couple of people talking around us and eating loudly (we may have been guilty of eating loudly too since we had popcorn). And I saw a couple of people trying to secretly text or check their phones during the movie even though we had been warned that if you were caught with a phone on that you would be kicked out. I really wanted to shush the people who wouldn’t stop talking during the movie, but I tried to ignore it and enjoy watching it. But this was all a reminder of how spoiled I have gotten with the screenings I’ve been to.

The crowd and the noise didn’t ruin the movie for me at all, but it was a bit distracting. Overall, I enjoyed “Neighbors 2”, but I wished they had focused more on the parents instead of the college students (I definitely identify more with the parents). It was pretty funny and I think my friend and I both had a pretty good time at the movie.

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