Cinema Ethnography

Source: DVDs Release Dates 2018, The Meg. Accessed 21 August 2018, <;

It’s 8:30pm. My housemates and I are nosily enjoying our rather late homemade burrito bowls that I whipped up for “Vego Thursdays”; an episode of ‘Friends’ blaring loudly through the tele as Joey begins to discover a budding relationship between Monica and Chandler in Season 1. I chew my beans and rice quickly, frequently glancing down at my phone to make sure I don’t miss my ride. It’s movie night at Hoyts Warrawong, and I am waiting eagerly for the 9:10pm screening of ‘The Meg’ with my boyfriend. 

The car horn beeps. It’s time! Scooping the last spoonful of guacamole into my mouth, I grab my Student ID (gotta save those dollars!) and at a brisk walk, march my way down the steps and into a silver Commodore Ute. 

The drive took 15 minutes from my house in Wollongong (plus another 10 for a quick snack stop at Crown Street Woolworths), and we arrive at 9:05pm. The last time I had entered a cinema was in my hometown of Armidale, where there was only one singular cinema that was small and always cramped and uncomfortable. I had barely set foot inside and this was already better! 

There was no queue at the counter, so we flashed our ID’s (yet would later discover that we ended up paying the same price anyway), and were offered a selection of snacks and drinks. 

“No thanks, we’re good” Chris answered abruptly. 

I tugged on the corner of his sleeve and gave him the classic ‘puppy eye’ stare. 

“Come on, let’s get some popcorn. We don’t do this very often… pleaaaaaaase!” 

His eyes rolled back in his head. 

“Fine. We’ll take one large popcorn.” 

The tall blonde haired boy behind the counter smiled at me.

“Great! You’re in seats 11 and 12 in row M, but it’s a quiet one tonight, sit where you please.”

We walked along the dark, narrow corridor of Cinema 6 and made ourselves at home somewhere around in the middle aisle. There were a few others speckled throughout; flicking through their dimly lit phone screens in an attempt to avoid falling hostage to the blaring advertisements. I reached into my handbag for the Maltesers I’d bought from Woolworths on special for $2.12, and combined them with a small handful of popcorn – yep, that’s a thing!

14 minutes of overly loud advertisements passed, and the cinema suddenly fell eerily quiet. No rustling of packets, no crunching of snacks, no quiet chatter. In fact, it was actually like that throughout the duration of the film apart from a few snickers here and there in response to some rather ‘unrealistic’ scenes. It was warm in there too; the smell of perspiration somewhat masked by the overpowering aroma of triple butter popcorn. 

Come the 113th minute, I had just about reached my limit of jump scares and heroic actions of bravery by Ruby Rose against a monstrous prehistoric shark. All in all, the movie was pretty mediocre, but for something I don’t experience often, I enjoyed every minute.

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