I felt it was necessary to abandon our usual SIWI format for this special post, and special theater experience. Watching 1D’s (Yeah, we’re close enough that I call them 1D.) concert film, created from their performance at San Siro Stadium in Milano, was unlike any experience I have ever had in the friendly confines of a musty, stained cinema. Imagine the craziness surrounding the premier of a Harry Potter film or The Dark Knight, and then multiply that by two and add hundreds of screaming girls — ranging from prepubescent screechers to hormonal howlers — to the equation.
Allow me to set my record straight: I have of course seen One Direction: This is Us, the band’s film released last summer, and I shamefully admit to having seen them live this past August, on the same tour that this newer film follows. The first film mixed concert clips and behind the scenes glances at the quirky fivesome of admittedly hilarious Brits. I expected Where We Are to bring a similar vibe. I was mistaken. The film instead begins with a painfully long interview, during which Louis comes off a little crazy and Niall a little mute and Harry a tad slow, followed simply by the entirety of their San Siro performance.
One would think that watching a concert from afar in a theater thousands of miles away months after the actual performance would dull the fervor of 1D’s fanatics. I should have known better when I found my seat, overhearing a passionate argument between two young girls regarding their ability to see Harry’s face from their current position. Moments later, the lights in the theater dimmed, and screams broke out. Not out of fear but out of pure ecstasy. I had heard these screams before, ringing out through Gillette Stadium when the band arrived onstage, but this theater did not allow for dispersion of noise quite like the Patriots’ home. Instead, the sound overwhelms you. It doesn’t help that the high-pitched hysteria returns each time Harry appears or Niall does his Ian Poulteresque celebrations or Liam twirls his goddamn microphone.
Stepping back from the ear-ringing moments of my evening, I can say I learned some valuable lessons. For one, the Official Movie Law — “Thou shalt not clap during the film for any reason, except if it’s Miracle — holds up after watching Where We Are. Also, young girls have no regard for Official Movie Law, evidently. On a happier note, the dudes of 1D really do seem to handle their fame well, staying somewhat humble and maintaining goofy demeanors. Of course, their accessibility is dangerous given the emotional volatility of their audience. A girl in the row behind me proudly screamed when Niall turned towards the camera onstage: “HE’S LOOKING INTO MY SOUL.” I can’t say I felt the same, but it seemed to be on the mind of much of the crowd.
Anyway, to answer my question, NO, I don’t think I should hate myself for continuing my mild fandom of One Direction. Was I sort of dragged to this movie by one of these Harry-loving fanatics? Yes. Did I sort of love seeing them in concert the first time? DON’T JUDGE ME. Turning to our normal SIWI questions, you should be happy the film only hit theaters for a couple days. It was not worth the price of admission, which granted you access to ear pain and social discomfort for the most part, and watching it with your mother or a date (GUESS WHO DID BOTH AT THE SAME TIME? JEALOUS?!) probably wouldn’t have been so great, unless one of those two happens to be a twelve-year-old girl, in which case I hope prison treats you well.
I’ll keep listening to Harry, Zayn, Louis, Liam, and Niall. Maybe I’ll even see them in concert again. But never will I ever again enter the murderous, horny rampage of 1D in the theater. Consider yourself warned.