The norm throughout the majority of the twentieth century was that the flat screen was an item of furniture, a container that remained in your loungeroom, huge, perhaps unsightly, but also comforting. The television programs you viewed on it served as a warm, comfortable fireplace for everybody. In comparison, the theatre served as a castle, a cathedral, and a worship center. The crowd watched the stars on the screens in perfect quiet as they resembled enormous deities. Although they may occasionally serve as comfort food, movies were usually better than that. They gathered the congregation into lines and whisked them away into a vision of what existence was like and what it might be.
Although it relates to a vast collection of services, including cable VOD, Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, and DirectTV Now, the term “video-on-demand” represents a breakthrough format that has altered how we view, organize, and watch movies. Unless you can remember visiting a video store as the first place to purchase the film on demand, you’re familiar with the sensation of being a child in a sweet shop. VOD is the sweet shop brought straight into your loungeroom, giving you access to an endless buffet of entertainment.
Negative vibes have seeped into the moviegoer’s trip as the selection of content available for home-watching has increased and binge-watching has emerged as the entertainment media intake paradigm. We have all seen or spoken the laundry list of grievances: Nowadays, visiting a movie house is a loud, exhausting, and lifeless affair; you must endure several trailers and even unpleasant advertising.
The dissatisfaction with the movie house experience has become a popular American cliché, that begs the interesting question: Why should anyone miss out on movies in the age of VOD? It is a query with a similarly obvious response: You go to the theatres to see a blockbuster extravaganza film like “The Force Awakens,” “Furious 7,” “Finding Dory,” or the latest recent “Captain America” spinoff type of content that lives and belongs on a large, hired projector screen.
We search for commonality in hopes that as many individuals as possible will view our films. We would also like each spectator to sense that the film is saying anything specific to them. We seek to create a contradictory mass intimacy. Since it might speak to our innate pre-linguistic intellects, cinema is particularly potent. How and where to utilize such resources wisely is the challenge and the filmmakers’ obligation because it could be prone to abuse. Because at its finest, cinema may offer the tangled logic that everyday existence lacks.