In high school, one of my favorite annual magazine issues was the preview showing every movie slated to be released in the upcoming year.

I would pour over the pages, reading titles, synopses and cast lists.

For many directors, I could list just about every major movie they had made. I would look for their names too, filmmakers like David Fincher, Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Martin Scorsese.

Looking at the movie lists, I would start thinking about whether I would see a listing in the theaters, on video or not at all.

Now, I get excited about just a handful of releases each year.

Having grown up in the 1980s, “Star Wars” still captivates me. So when there is a new one coming out, I want to see it in the theater.

But I have a lot more responsibilities now that I did then, so I had not been making it out to the theater as often as I once did. I missed “Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker” in the theaters.

In fact, I think the last movie I got out to the theaters for was 2017’s “Bladerunner 2049.”

Of course in these COVID-19 times, I have not been to the theater at all for a movie.

And it is an experience I very much miss — sitting in a dark room, while your eyes and ears are bombarded by a massive screen and surround sound speakers.

I miss the smell of movie theater popcorn, especially as it would hit you the minute you stepped foot in the lobby, ticket in hand.

I still maintain that the best popcorn I have ever had was at a second-run theater that used to be in Rehoboth Beach, Del. It was the kind of theater that showed movies that had been released at least six months prior.

While the seats weren’t very good, tickets were incredibly cheap and that popcorn was, again, the absolute best.

There are several big-screen movies coming out this year that I hope to see in the theaters. The top priority was the latest cinematic version of Frank Herbert’s book “Dune.”

It is directed by Denis Villeneuve, the man behind “Bladerunner 2049” and “The Arrival,” among other great works.

This is the third adaptation to be produced. A fourth by avant-garde filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky did not happen, but his vision held so much promise, they made a documentary about it.

David Lynch of “Twin Peaks” fame made “Dune” in 1984. While it was a commercial failure, it has gone on to develop a cult following.

Every so often I think to myself, “Hey, I could watch ‘Dune’ tonight.” And I do. And I try to remind myself that I don’t need to watch it again and that it really is not very good.

All this thought about “Dune” and I have to confess that I have never actually read the book.

There is a new Batman movie coming out, “The Batman,” which looks good. I never pass on Batman — again, I grew up in the 1980s so that is a character etched into my childhood, though a very dark character.

Also, apparently “The Matrix” is back with a fourth installment. I guess I will have to rewatch the original three to try to remember how it all worked out with Neo.

All that being said, HBO Max and Warner Bros. have decided to release “Dune” and “The Matrix 4” in theaters and on the streaming service simultaneously, just as they did with “Wonder Woman 1984” last month.

For me, I would prefer to see big, immersive, world-building movies in a theater.

But I also enjoy watching movies at home.

I have long preferred watching movies to television shows. Movies are self-contained stories — for the most part.

TV shows run a story line and conflict out over multiple seasons. Think how long it took to get to a resolution on “Game of Thrones,” and that featured seasons much shorter than what used to be the norm.

Previously, a network series had more than 20 episodes a season. And they could run upward of seven seasons or more. The series “Supernatural” has 15 seasons.

Marvel has changed the movie formula and created a giant sprawling series. I’ve watched up through “Avengers: Endgame.” I’m not sure if I will keep going. Marvel’s cinematic universe is up to 23 movies having been released.

When I was growing up, my father took me and my brothers to the movies frequently. I still remember being told I would not get to go see “Return of the Jedi” one night unless I finished everything on my plate. I did and we went.

And in time, I will be back in the theater again — probably for another installment of “Star Wars.”

Email Divilio at Follow him on Twitter @Daniel_


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