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I have a nearly lifelong habit of approaching people in lobbies, asking which movie they’re seeing and why. I know what you may be thinking, “Well, there he goes again, nosey parker.” But I promise you, it’s not an interview; I’m genuinely interested, and, more often than not, personally engaged when someone expounds about what’s motivating them to leave the house, find a parking space and shell out some hard-earned cash (let alone the cost of getting a sitter for the kids or pets), all for the experience to spend some time in the dark with strangers.

Best of friends, siblings, spouses, significant others, parents, kids, young and old, cis- or transgender, native born or transplant — to the person, I detect a heightened level of optimism this season when I ask, “What brought you to the movies today?”

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