Fellow Ephs, I am going to be honest with you: What’s even the point of living in a rural New England college town if you are not even going to pretend to take advantage of its most charming amenities? True, Tunnel City Coffee runs basically at capacity, our proximity to nature is not wasted and some students even wake up early on the weekends to go to the farmers’ market, but is there anything quainter than a single-screen theater? A bit further south, and it would probably even be outdoors. Seriously, with Images Cinema on our side, Williamstown exceeds even Stars Hollow, Conn., in charm. Unfortunately, it seems to many students, Images may as well not even exist.
My silly romanticism aside, watching a movie at Images really is a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours, and as a regular attendee, I cannot help but be disappointed by its relatively low attendance. Whether it is a Sunday matinee, a Tuesday evening or a Friday night, it is rare that the cinema is even half full.
I get it; you are busy. I am, too. But you are probably not doing homework every waking minute. I know Netflix gets its fair share of use by Williams students, and a blockbuster opening never fails to bring a few Ephs to North Adams for a midnight showing. Next time you decide you are going to have a casual Friday night watching a movie, why not watch one on a big screen? It is plenty cozy to qualify as a quiet evening (tea is prominently displayed at the concession counter, and there are blankets available if you want to snuggle up). Or you could live a little and see something on a Monday night. Your problem set is not due until Friday, anyway. Furthermore, the cinema is hardly going to break your bank at $6 for a ticket, even if they’ve tragically ended Two-fer Tuesdays.
Now, if you are going to tell me that Images only shows limited-release, artsy, indie flicks that you are not interested in, I have two things to say to you. Firstly, none of those are adjectives that should make you lose interest. Sleepwalk With Me, for example, was hilarious and moving in the Louis CK style that I know so many of you love. The fact that we get the opportunity to see so many limited-release movies should be seen as just that: an opportunity.
Secondly, if you believe that Images is a stranger to Hollywood, you’re probably not paying attention. They just finished a run of Life of Pi, which TIME compared to Avatar, of all things. Perhaps not the most thrilling comparison, all things considered, but it should tell you something about the type of movie it is. And while Lincoln, which is coming soon, may have been killed at the theater (again, har har … sorry), but that’s only because it opened the same weekend as the final Twilight movie. We might not have gotten the chance to see Skyfall, but they did carry Argo, dissimilar but still a major spy movie. The last six Oscar-winning Best Pictures have graced the cinema’s lone screen, and I would wager this year’s winner will have as well.
What I am saying is this: You have no excuse not to take advantage of our theater. Images may not be likely to fold any time soon, but that is only because of donations. It certainly does not get by on ticket sales and concessions. Think about it: Do you not want to be part of one of the very last single-screen independent theatres in America? It is nearing its 100th anniversary, which will be in 2016, and the amount of Instagram use by Ephs makes me certain that at least some of you share my attachment to old things. Nostalgia for things we never experienced basically defines our generation.
More than a few people have told me that finally getting to Images is on their Williams bucket list. That is crazy. By the time you have graduated, I hope it has been crossed off your bucket list so many times that it is no longer legible. Make me happy, make yourself happy and make our friends in town happy. Go see a movie.
Christopher Huffaker ’15 is from Calgary, Alberta. He lives in Morgan.