A few weeks ago now, it was a cloudy day and I was sitting at home with mum, out of nowhere she says “Let’s go see ‘Trainwreck’ it starts in 10 minutes!”, so we gather our wits about us and scramble up to the movies, which is only a 5 minute walk from the house (we ran up, so that we could get some yummy sweets and popcorn). As Hagerstrand (1969) explained, coupling is a key human constraint in regard to social planning- whether an individual can get to the location at the right specific time will determine the details of the social arrangement and if it can occur. In this case it was a spontaneous decision and we happened to be doing nothing together, believe it or not and on the plus side it was a rainy day, which makes my family in particular decide on going to the movies more.
There were no constraints for mum and I, as Hägerstrand also emphasises is the importance of time in human activity. “Time has a critical importance when it comes to fitting people and things together for functioning in socio-economic systems,” he noted. Hence, a given location may be near an individual, but if a person cannot allocate enough time to travel to it, spatial proximity alone will not be enough to allow the person to visit it. Mum and I were in the same place together and made an impulse decision to go, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that type of coincidence happens often. I have had other case’s of making plans to go to the movies and they fall through and well, life gets in the way.
Mum and I were 5 minutes late and because of that the line wasn’t big, so we got our tickets straight away. The snack bar line on the other hand was around the corner which I found ironic and made sense, everyone obviously bought their tickets at the same time and therefore their snacks too. We spent a million dollars on two choctops and popcorn to share (movie snacks cost more than the tickets).
Have you ever gone to the movies alone? I never even considered going by myself, even if I really wanted to see a film and no-one else did… I just wouldn’t go. Hagerstrand’s three human constraints explore social planning and how it works- these being; capability, coupling and authority. Going to the movies alone seemingly has an effect, I feel in comparison to going with someone is a sign of loneliness, my brother on the other hand, loves going by himself, he likes the idea of not having to talk to anyone and get out… but I like to be able to discuss the movie after with the people I watched it with, who enjoyed it, who disliked it, and seeing the reactions along side mine.
Isn’t it funny how we get to really appreciate what we had only once it’s gone? What happened to ‘drive in’ cinemas? Netflix.
With the introduction of Netflix and the massive increase in illegal downloading, Australian cinemas are experiencing a significant decline in attendance. No longer is it necessary for Australians to leave their homes in order to see the latest blockbuster, I can watch that movie by myself now! However, rue Detective director Cary Fukunaga has said audiences need to accept some responsibility for the ‘death of cinema’ (umm ouch). “He told an audience at the Tribeca Film Festival that he has chosen to release his new film Beasts of No Nation on Netflix because more people will have access to it”.
Maybe it’s not our fault in particular, but audience’s have to accept that the fewer people who go to cinemas, the faster their decline. Many of us love to go to movie theaters. Their demise would truly be a sad thing. It’s not just watching a film on the big screen: it’s an atmosphere. It’s having strangers around you to laugh and cry, jump and eat popcorn. Cinema brings people together.