The other night I had the opportunity to see one of my favorite movies, American Graffiti, in theaters. (For a brief description see the earlier post ‘See These Movies.’) It was amazing! Most of my favorite movies are older movies and many of them I regret not having the opportunity to experience them in theaters when they first came out. Thanks to the American Film Institute I was able to remedy that for one of the films on my small list of films I most wished to see in theater.
American Graffiti had been on that list because of the completeness of the nostalgic atmosphere created by the film. It is easy to become lost in the era when watching the movie, and I always felt it would be even more complete if seen in a dark theater with a large screen and engulfing sound where everything and the only thing you experience for those two hours is that film.
I was right! Those familiar with the movie know the impact and greatness of the almost none stop soundtrack. Also, the sounds of all the cars were amazing and exciting. One of my favorite elements of the film is filming of the street and cruising at night (the movie take place almost entirely at night). The shining cars, street lights, neon lights, headlights and reflections all clash and blend beautifully in the dark of night when the streets were most full of life. And all this is even more beautiful and spectacular on the big screen, in the dark room.
Something I was curious about before seeing the movie that night was how being so familiar with the film would affect the experience of seeing it in a theater. Fortunately, knowing the lines before they were spoken only added to the anticipation, excitement and enjoyment of the film. It was also great to see the film with the crowd that showed up. They were all movie fans and particularly of American Graffiti. American Graffiti is the kind of movie that gets better the more you see it and it was clear most of the audience was well acquainted with it and were enjoying it deeply.