There truly is a catharsis to watching a movie like they’re designed to be seen. RED isn’t making 8K cameras because your Galaxy S8 really, can, like, handle it, dude. Kick back in the dark (feet off the seats, seriously, unless you want to be the only one to enjoy them exactly once) and hold your own hand in the scary bits for a change.
Get there early
There’s a whole thing (a circlejerk, if we’re honest) about how trailers take too much time so, really, you should arrive fifteen minutes after the blah blah blah. This is code for not wanting to talk to the people you’re going with. Luckily, you’re taking yourself and the inner dialogue, if you’re like me, never stops.
Shout yourself popcorn and lollies, and make sure you don’t go to a cinema that doesn’t serve alcohol. That rustle of the lolly bag means literally nothing to literally everyone in the theatre with you. If anyone says anything, they have to lynch the first person that drinks their fucking enormous Coke all the way down to the bottom and makes that horrible noise. It happens. Get over it.
Know what you’re in for
I can’t, in good, aspiring filmmaker conscience, recommend that you see bad movies. Only masochists believe in so-bad-it’s-good and the whole point of a solo date is so you can love yourself. Use Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes, and a trusted review site (try Variety if you’re a conservative that still loves the deco of the Regent Theatre but totally understand why it had to be turned into a more commercially-sustainable venue, or the A.V. Club if you have a degree in, well, anything) to make sure you’re seeing what you think you’re seeing.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t surprise yourself. Do that if you want. But why go to the trouble of leaving the house if you’re not gonna do your best to make sure you have a good time?
TURN OFF YOUR PHONE
NO, REALLY, AT LEAST PUT IT ON SILENT AND KILL THE BRIGHTNESS
This is as much for you as it is for everyone else in the cinema. There’s a reason ushers don’t really use flashlights to show you to seats anymore. Turns out dark rooms are super good at amplifying little bits of light that are exactly as bright as your fucking iPhone screen, Karla.
You’ve got until the second production company credit at the start of the movie to put it away. That’s the deal. Nothing actually important in the history of humanity has ever happened on Twitter, if it needs to be responded to you won’t see it on Instagram, and the soft vibrate of a phone call is enough of a reason to leave if you have to.
If you think it might be a real thing, you have one second. One. That’s an impressionable ad‘s worth of time and that stupid new comment on that stupid Facebook page you manage for literally no reason doesn’t require more from you than that.
This bit’s easy, provided you’ve done the rest.
No, seriously, relax. It’s a solo date. You’re here for you and no one else. Feel free to disagree with the otherwise great reviews. This is your chance to notice how the colour grade in most scenes is almost invisible but there’s that one shot… Soak it up for an hour-and-a-half. For two hours. Three.
Try to remember what a holiday feels like.
Fall asleep if you have to (or want to)
Just fucking do it. It’s happened to everyone. It’s not disrespectful. You need sleep more than Spielberg needs to know you saw every frame of his movie and there is no better excuse to (as per step four) shut off from social for a bit.
A $20 nap can be totally worth it sometimes. Cinemas are always beautifully air-conditioned, you’ll be sitting alone so no one will care (unless you snore, but you won’t because you’re polite), and you can even read about the plot, themes, that one continuity error that sir_generic_username on Reddit noticed and plans to put on his Hollywood-headed CV if you need the social cred more than the sleep.
If you’re in Brisbane, try the brand new Elizabeth Picture Theatre where I saw Blade Runner 2049 (amazing) and will be seeing The Last Jedi (also amazing, already).