Sometimes it is awesome to see a movie from the front row of the theater. On Friday night I went with a friend to see "Lars & The Real Girl" in Pasadena. Due to my parking ineptitude, we got there late and ended up in the last two adjoining seats, in the front row of a small packed house.
The only two movies I'd seen previously from this position were the first "Mission: Impossible" and "He Got Game." both of them fairly cutty, stylized and loud. At close range, the audiovisual effect was headache-inducing. I think MTV was invented for its venue, that is, the TV, and experiencing that style on a screen that is very much larger than you and very near your head is probably not healthful.
But seeing "Lars" down in the front was fantastic. There was something about seeing these HUGE heads enact these very small sad/funny moments that was really compelling. There is no flashy editing, and there are enough long takes to let the eye wander around on that vast plain of screen, and explore, and get lost. It probably is my new favorite movie anyways, because it's wonderfully written, acted, filmed, and all that stuff, but I suspect that on a smaller screen, at a safe distance, it would be less whelming, more easily confused with all the other bittersweet indie movies. But because it was way too close, its intimate ordinariness was really uplifting, it was like a rock concert of ordinariness: long pauses, pores and all.