The Irishman's Al Pacino And Ray Romano Talk Why The Theater Experience Is So Important

Ray Romano in The Irishman

If you wanted to, you could wait until November 27 and watch Martin Scorsese’s star-studded crime epic The Irishman on Netflix from the comfort of your own home, but that doesn’t mean you should. The director and his cast still believe that the optimal way to see the film is in theaters, on the big screen. The Irishman’s Ray Romano offered his take on why the theater experience is so important, saying:

It’s also the shared experience. When there’s those silences and it’s compelling and it’s heavy. Just to know you don’t know any of these people, but we’re all feeling the same thing. That’s part of it.

To Ray Romano, it’s not just the quality of the presentation, the giant screen and the immersive sound that distinguish the theatrical experience from watching a movie like The Irishman at home. It’s also that oft-cited communal experience of watching a movie in theaters with an audience. As Ray Romano tells Today, when you watch a movie in the theater, you are sharing an experience with a whole auditorium full of people that you don’t know.

There is something special about the unspoken human connection that is formed among a group of strangers, as they all react to the story they are watching unfold onscreen together. As Ray Romano says, that shared experience means that everyone in the theater can sit in utter silence and stillness, holding in their breaths during a heavy moment. The same is true when the theater laughs during a funny moment, tears up during a sad one or cheers during a happy one.

It’s cool to know everyone is feeling the same thing and we’ve all had great theatrical experiences that possessed these qualities. To Ray Romano, this is what separates the experience of watching a movie theatrically from watching a movie at home. Even if you have unlimited funds to afford a great home theater and you can invite a bunch of friends over, you can’t really replicate this.

Piggybacking off of Ray Romano’s opinion about the shared theatrical experience, fellow Irishman star Al Pacino, in a seemingly inescapable component of this film’s press tour, invoked Marvel movies. But he did so in a positive way, saying:

With some of the other films, the bigger, more popular films, the Marvel films, do have that experience. It’s an event the same way a sporting event is an event. They go to it, you’re there.

Al Pacino is absolutely right. While his director Martin Scorsese may lament Marvel movies as not cinema and liken them to theme parks, they do compel audiences to experience them theatrically. Everyone wants to see MCU films in theaters together and they are a great example of that cherished theatrical experience.

Just think about how people were left in shaken silence after Thanos snapped his fingers and half of the heroes disappeared, or how theaters full of people lost their shit when Mjolnir flew to Captain America and when he said ‘Avengers Assemble.’ That feeling, in a room full of strangers is no more replicable at home than the compelling and heavy moments in The Irishman.

Of course, nowadays, that room full of strangers is often the problem with the theatrical experience as theater etiquette is often ignored and people talk or arrive late or use their phones. And so that wonderful theatrical experience often carries an asterisk, noting that experiences may vary. Still though, judging by the early reviews, you’ll want to experience The Irishman in theaters, that is, if it is playing near you.

The Irishman opens in limited release on November 1 and drops on Netflix on November 27. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to see what other movies are coming to theaters this year.

Nick Evans

Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.