It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t love movies. To find a college student who doesn’t love movies? Well, that’s just impossible.
Whether your tastes lean toward popcorn blockbusters or arthouse think pieces, cinema offers an escape from the tedium we academics know so well. And while there’s no shame in staying indoors with just yourself and Netflix’s latest imports for company, I firmly believe the way to get the most out of a movie is by making it a community experience; nothing can quite make us forget our differences by laughing, crying and cringing together over characters we’ve only known for a couple hours.
That said, if you live on campus and don’t have a car, even a trip down South Main to the local megaplex isn’t exactly a commodity. Still, there are plenty of opportunities both on and slightly off campus to enjoy a good flick with your friends and fellow Hokies.
Take Introduction to Cinema
I know, you probably didn’t start reading this expecting a promo for another class to add to your busy schedule. However, if you have any interest in getting to know how movies are made and catching a free movie viewing every week, or if you just have a Pathways requirement or Area 6 CLE to knock out, intro to cinema (CINE-2054) is well worth your time. During each class lecture, Stephen Prince discusses a different factor in the production and distribution of a film, then relates the concepts taught in class to a particular movie, which you get to enjoy with your classmates one night a week. Some of my favorites within the curriculum include “WALL-E” and “Blade Runner,” and toward the end of October we watched (of course) “Halloween.”
Catch a midnight movie at The Lyric
Though The Lyric Theatre, an historic gem of downtown Blacksburg, typically functions as a second-run cinema showcasing recent arthouse films, once a month the staff treats nocturnal Hokies to a cult classic film, with crowd participation in the onscreen antics often encouraged. Midnight movies at The Lyric are presented on the first Friday and Saturday of each month at — you guessed it — 12 a.m. Selections for the rest of this semester include “Zombieland” in October, “Slumdog Millionaire” in November and “Edward Scissorhands” in December. The best part? The Lyric is within easy walking distance of most residence halls.
Keep an eye out for screenings by VTU
Remember the first day of move-in this year, when “Avengers: Infinity War” was shown on the Drillfield? That was put on by the Virginia Tech Union (VTU), the student organization responsible for much of the free or discounted entertainment we get to enjoy as Hokies. (The T-Pain kickoff concert? It’s to thank for that, too.) Free screenings of blockbusters like that previously mentioned are often put on by VTU; if a film is released as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you’re almost guaranteed to catch it for free on campus within a few months of its theatrical run. Follow its Facebook page to stay updated on what it will be showing soon.
Host a movie night in the Ambler Johnston theater
If you’re lucky enough to live in East or West Ambler Johnston (or have a friend who does), you have access to a fully-functional movie theater complete with a projector and several dozen cinema-style seats. This room is free to reserve and comes equipped with HDMI connectivity and a Blu-ray player; whether you’re someone who likes to buy physical copies of your favorite flicks like I do, or your viewing is primarily based on streaming and digital downloads, the AJ theater is just as usable either way. The movie nights that I would host during my time living in East AJ were fundamental in forming some of my earliest college friendships; perhaps they can do the same for you.