10 Reasons to Watch Fewer Movies
1.) Greater Appreciation
It’s no secret that movie audiences – and therefore, movie media outlets – are bored stupid. Greater attention paid to shock projects and publicity stunts are clear indicators that movies aren’t regarded as “special” anymore. The fewer movies you watch, the greater a commodity they become in your life.
2.) Better Digestion
The more you consume, the less you process. If you pick a high-nutrient piece of entertainment carefully, you’ll get more thought, excitement, and pleasure out of it. Also, taking control of your viewing habits and properly compartmentalizing your intake re-trains your attention, allowing for a richer understanding of story.
3.) Less Noise
I’m sure there is a statistic out there somewhere that details how much television a person watches daily, or how many movies people watch weekly. Regardless of the number, imagine the amount of narrative that we ingest on a given day. Next, realize that your brain continues to process all the different parts of these narratives – combined with latent and new memories in your actual life – as you sleep. We’re a society of noise and distraction, and we’ve yet to find out how that relates to stress, sleep, and stability. Having fewer narratives to process again translates to richer experiences, deeper dreaming, and greater focus.
4.) A Return to Awe
We often complain that movies no longer feel mysterious, the way they did when we were children. It’s easy to blame that on studios’ over-reliance on CGI, but how much of that is because we’ve allowed movies to be so accessible and disposable? If you knew Super 8 was the only movie you got to see this summer, how would it affect your anticipation, or your overall feelings about cinema? A trip to the theater should feel like a treat, like a visit to an amusement park or a museum, rather than a convenience store.
5.) More Clearly Defined Tastes
The post-60’s “film buff” has evolved into the Information Age “film nerd”, and a love for quality, personality-defining movies has evolved into a white-washed love for all movies. I think anyone considering movies to be a religion should probably take some time to worship at the altar of Percy Jackson or Limitless next time they get a chance. The medium is clearly fallible. Taking a step back and choosing your entertainment carefully gives you control over the garbage vying for your attention, and will allow for a personal connection to form between you and the movie.
6.) Personal Effectiveness
On that note, movies are only as good as the personal connections and experiences we bring to them. The average movie is two hours long. How many miles could you run in that span of time? How many awesome conversations could you have? How much work could you get done? Watching fewer movies allows us to live life, which not only enriches the soul and our environment, but also enriches the movies we give our time to.
In the same vein, how precious do movies become when they’re leveraged against books, paintings, comics, or music? Instead of ingesting yet another movie, spend that time reading a history book or listening to a philosophy lecture. So much of my film nerd life has been spent tragically illiterate, pouring hours and hours into movies without the slightest perspective on the full breadth of the narrative idea, and how it is functional in other media. Not seeing a well-utilized dolly shot for three months will completely re-energize the technique’s meaning, and calcify cinema’s legitimacy and importance.
8.) Fewer Comparisons
One of the great tragedies of millennial film nerd culture is the increasing trend of movies to be likened to sports. The rise of the “list” and Oscar chatter has pitted completely disparate films against each other like gladiatorial slaves. I’m preaching to myself here, as I am guilty of this on numerous occasions. I wish I could approach every film as my first film as a viewer; not in a naive, insular, childish way, but in a way that understands that every film must function alone, within its own universe, on its own terms.
9.) Voting for Quality
Almost every minute spent on a film sends its producers a message – “Give me more of this.” There is an overwhelming cry from movie audiences for more quality, and less quantity. The easiest way to convey this is to vote with your dollar, and to vote with your time. If a movie looks bad, don’t talk about it. Don’t go see it out of morbid curiosity, don’t exert time or energy on it. Just ignore it. Bad art goes away if you ignore it. If you feel like a movie might be bad, just do yourself a favor and skip out on it.
The less money or time you spend on movies, the more valuable each movie experience becomes. You begin choosing your media wisely, and according to a specific set of decisions. There is a growing sentiment among independent content creators that piracy is a sign of the future, that eventually, all content will be intangible and free. I completely disagree. The act of buying a CD or an iTunes single has, for me, only bolstered my love for what I purchase, and has widened the margin between time spent listening to background filler and time spent enjoying music I truly love. I’ve attempted to limit my theatrical visits this year, as well as my absorption of blu-rays and streaming content, in an effort to keep an account of the movies I see.
Movies are, in our moment, the narrative medium of choice. They have become, and should remain, special capsules of our story. For me, that “special” feeling is going away, and fast. Part of that is undoubtedly age, some of that is cultural climate. I think it’s undeniable, however, that there an invisible movement arising that believes movies are easily digestible content, that movies are made for a moment, like a sports event or a pop song, and then are to be archived and forgotten (unless they are deemed objectively extraordinary). I would urge moviegoers to resist. Don’t go to the movies blindly. Be smart. Movies are not a global economy, to be fed wildly for fear of collapse. They will survive if you don’t go see every lame duck that waddles into theaters or the crimson kiosk at Walgreen’s. Hold steady, and when you find a gem you just can’t avoid, go all out and chow down like it’s Thanksgiving.
That’s about it for this time. Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to keep your eyes glued to The Nocturnal Third’s official site for updates as we approach the release of a film you may or may not choose to see.