Whatever happened to movies?

Whatever happened to watching movies?

And I don’t mean simply in the theatre. I mean watching them period.

It feels like everyone my age and younger doesn’t watch films. They put on a film – or sometimes attend one in a theatre – , and then spend a handful of seconds or minutes here and there, all throughout the film, checking their phones, or giving their attention elsewhere entirely.

Many of them talk during the film, too, and not just at the music or quiet parts – when actors are in active dialogue.

Half the time, that all then leads to their missing some vital piece of the story or a character, they end up asking questions and talking over even more of the film and dialogue, or they just miss it all completely and have no idea that they missed anything at all.

I no longer wonder at my being given so many recommendations for terrible films – none of these people are even paying enough attention to know if the film is terrible or not. They only see snippets, in the first place, and most good films will seem boring, because they are missing all the wonderful parts that make a great film great.

But does this really surprise me much? I think not. I have experienced consciously for years a lack of people’s being present in life. The same person will tell me the same thing multiple times, as though it is important and new… I pay attention and am present in those conversations, and therefore could tell the story myself, in his or her own words, I’ve heard it so many times.

I’m growing tired of this. Conversations on repeat is exhausting, especially when they carry so much emotion on the telling side.

I watch a film to be an immersed observer of an alternate world for a short time, to experience life from another’s perspective. I do not watch it to fill the time between my comments, to keep me company because I am uncomfortable being with myself. Sure, I have put on a movie to keep me company before, but it is always something I know well, and I don’t talk all over it, even then. Just like I don’t talk all over others, when they are talking to me.

But, even in the cinema, people have their phones out, and seem to have no idea of their disregard for the story that is telling itself on the big screen up front. That is someone’s hard-worked art – a lot of someone’s’, truly. If people aren’t here to experience and honor the set, why bother? They can look at their phones at home or anywhere else, talk with their friends (and over their friends) anywhere else. But either be here or be there – do not pretend you are in either place, if you will not be there fully. Pick a place, and be present there, fully. Period. It is a disservice to all creation to do any less.

Post-a-day 2021

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