In case it hasn't been made clear enough by my argument for more adult dramas, my love of Tom Hanks, and my excitement over the success of Enough Said , I'm a big fan of movies meant for older audiences. Seeing as I'm a college student, this is a little weird, but my reasoning is simple: movies for senior citizens are just better, both in the quality of the films and the moviegoing experiences themselves. How so, you ask? Let me break it down into five reasons, as based upon my recent experience at Philomena , a movie about old people, for old people:
1. The Movies are Just Better
It's my strongly-held opinion that realistic adult dramas and comedies are generally way better than 99% of the crap that's made each year for teens and 20-somethings. There are exceptions, of course, but the majority of the movies released for older audiences are smart, funny, and affecting. In just this past year, Nebraska, Saving Mr. Banks, Labor Day and plenty of others have all received or are expected to receive outstanding reviews, thanks to their strong writing, honest stories, and bold performances. Philomena, about an older woman (Judi Dench) who, with the help of a journalist (Steve Coogan), searches for her long-lost son, is no exception. It's a small movie, but a marvelous one, powerful and beautifully crafted. I have seen many great movies throughout 2013, and Philomena is without a doubt one of the best.
2. The Previews Are Actually Watchable
Here are the previews I saw before Philomena: Inside Llewyn Davis. Saving Mr. Banks. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. August: Osage County. Now, here are the previews my friend said he saw before Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa: The Best Man Holiday. Thor 2. Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas. Do you see my point?
3. There's No Loud Popcorn Eating
In so many movies, the sounds of people eating popcorn tend to drown out the dialogue in the actual movie. Being a fan of popcorn myself, I'm a bit of a hypocrite here, but there is no excuse for being the person who buys an extra-large tub to eat during The Artist. In movies for older audiences, though, this is never a problem. Popcorn is a rare sight in the grown-up movie theater, because seniors tend to go more for much smaller, and much quieter, snacks like M&Ms and Goobers. In Philomena, I had the misfortune of sitting near a family who took pleasure in chewing their popcorn as loudly as possible, but in the rest of the theater, there was radio silence.
4. You've Got Your Choice of Seats
Frequent moviegoers know that when going to see a just-released film, it's best to get there early. Otherwise, all the good seats — aka the center of the middle-back — will be taken, and you'll be forced to sit in the first few rows, where the screen is enormous and the sound is deafening. Yet when the movie's meant for old people, the situation is reversed. Seniors tend to flock towards the front to be closer to the screen, leaving the seats the rest of us consider the best totally open. When my friend and I got to Philomena, the theater was already almost full, but those seats in the center? All clear.
5. All Confusing Moments are Dissected
Hands down, this is the best part of going to movies filled with older people in the audience. Like I said earlier, normally, I can't stand talking at the movies. Yet when my seatmates are senior citizens, I actually welcome the chatter. Why? Because old people say the funniest things. Take this conversation overheard in Philomena:
Woman: I have a question.
Man: What is it?
Woman: Do you think she'll find her son?
Man: I don't know!
Woman: I hope she does.
Man: Me too. She seems so worried.
Or this one, said during a scene in which Dench's character relates the hilarity of Big Momma's House to an unamused Coogan:
Woman: That movie is so funny! What's the man's name in it? Tyler something?
Woman's friend: I think it's Queen Latifah.
Woman: What a great movie.
See what I'm saying? It's hard to get annoyed at people for talking throughout a movie when the conversations are that entertaining. So thank you, senior citizens, for making my moviegoing experience that much more enjoyable. Next on my list is Nebraska, about a father-son road trip to claim the dad's supposed sweepstakes win; I'm already looking forward to hearing worried senior citizens ask "do you think he'll get the money?" while munching on their Raisinets and moving up to the front rows.
Image: The Weinstein Company