I still check my Moviepass app sometimes, the same way I dig into the same drawer once in a while, hoping to find another quarter or two to add into my laundry money.
Today was one of those times, but I located First Man on its devastating list. No way! The long-awaited modern day masterpiece was playing at the TCL Chinese Theater five blocks away at a walking distance, and I don't even have to pay for it? (You know what I mean by "not paying.") So, I checked my wallet. Okay, the Moviepass card is still there, good. Then, I hit the road at around 12:30 pm and, on my way, I checked in to a 12:45 pm matinée.
And, of course, it didn't work. The clerk couldn't explain why it even appeared on the app since the theater wasn't even affiliated to Moviepass anymore. I felt like I was asking for a discount with a coupon that expired about a year ago. But I was there, and I wanted to watch the film, and I was told that this movie deserved to be watched in a theater at the highest resolution possible. Okay, let's do it.
That'll be twenty-five dollars, she said. And, it's in MX4D!
That put me into a mini dilemma right away: Do I want to be judged by my fellow arthouse cinema aficionados for watching the critically-acclaimed Venice-Telluride-TIFF-going First Man in a theme-park-ish setting, where they rock your chairs and spray water in your face, and call it the fourth dimension?
Hell, yeah. I walked across hundreds of crawling tourists on the Walk of Fame and a roadblock for the premiere of the Halloween remake in the middle of the day; I was already too deep into this to quit.
Surprisingly, the motion of the chair synced with the camera movements most of the time. The only time they sprayed the water was during a scene where one of the characters stood in the rain, which, together with the rich color and the sound design, indeed reminded me of a chilly rainy day. There were some weird timings: I'm sure riding a 1960's car isn't exactly like sitting on a massage chair. But, since the film stayed with Armstrong's POV very closely, especially during the launching scenes, it sorta added to the experience during those sequences.
The conclusion—watch First Man on the biggest screen you can find, and if it happens to be MX4D, count yourself very very lucky.
(I like the film. It has an amped-up "film look," which was nostalgic, appropriate and beautiful. Not going to say too much. Watch it and form your own opinion.)