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The relationship between movie theaters and streaming services still hasn’t settled. From some corners, there’s irritation. From others, there’s outright hostility, especially toward streaming giant Netflix. As such, there are few better ways to get a crowd on your side at CinemaCon, a convention for the theater industry, than by taking a shot at Netflix, and that’s exactly what seasoned veteran Helen Mirren did when she took the stage to hype her upcoming movie The Good Liar.
I love Netflix, but fuck Netflix. There’s nothing like sitting in the cinema. The lights go down, that incredible moment of excitement and anticipation and relaxation because you know you are going to be completely entertained for two hours.
CinemaBlend was in the audience at the time, and it’s worth exploring the context a little more, beyond that sexy “I love Netflix, but fuck Netflix” pull quote. Mirren implied to the audience they shouldn’t go make a big deal about what she was about to say, and it should absolutely surprise no one that it took about thirty seconds for the quote to immediately be all over social media. In fact, the only thing that happened faster was the theater owners erupting into mass approval. No doubt some people will make a big deal out of it, but I think the larger message she was implying is actually really important and points toward where this whole streaming vs theatrical battle should go.
Most of us love Netflix, but Netflix is not a replacement for going to the movies. It is a supplement to going to the movies. There is some content that is better watched in your pajamas in a comfortable position, and there is other content that is best watched on a giant screen with aggressive sound and overwhelming visuals. There are some moods that should compel you to grab some friends and head to the theater, and there are some moods that should compel you to stay on your couch. Most of us love Netflix, but at times, we all need to say fuck Netflix and do something else.
Mirren’s film The Good Liar is scheduled for release on November 15th. It co-stars Ian McKellen and is directed by Bill Condon, who wrote Chicago and recently directed the live action Beauty And The Beast. It’s about a couple that begins dating later in life, and while the specifics are being held back, there’s clearly a lot of lying and deceit beneath the surface, some of which is admitted and some of which is not. It looks twisty and intense. Needless to say, I have high hopes. In fact, I can’t wait to watch it in theaters… and then hopefully rewatch it sometime in 2020 on Netflix.