What’s your “movie-watching personality” ? Can you sum up what guides you when you’re deciding which movies to watch? Or when you’re revising your list of favorite films? (If you’re reading this blog, I’m assuming you have at least one of these lists, and that you find yourself having to revise it pretty often.)
I’d describe myself as an Escapist*. I seem to prefer my films at least one step removed from contemporary reality. For example, if I have to choose between a movie that takes place in the present day, and one set in the past or future, I lean toward the second one. (And if the setting is Victorian or Edwardian England, I’m a complete goner.) Usually I pick comedies over dramas. Sci-fi over regular-fi, especially if robots or monsters are involved. Musicals over stories that don’t include people bursting into song or dance. As much as I’d like to seem smart, and as often as I try to stretch my mind by watching films that are outside of the categories I’ve listed above, the truth is I watch movies to be entertained and get some relief from reality.
So, does your movie-watching personality fit into any of these categories?
Or would you describe yourself in a completely different way?
- Intellectual: The films you seek out are the ones that, for most other people, are the cinematic equivalent of being forced to eat your Brussels sprouts first. If a movie promises an unblinking look at oppression or inequality, especially in a country other than the U.S., you’re in. If there are subtitles involved, so much the better. If it’s too entertaining, you can’t trust it. (And please, it’s “FILMS” or “CINEMA”, not “MOVIES”.)
- Keeping Up with the Joneses (or preferably, Outrunning the Joneses): You want to see movies as soon as they are released. Two weeks after they start in theaters, max. When recently-released movies come up in casual conversation, it’s important to you to be able to offer your opinion on the plots, characters and special effects, whether you actually liked the movie or not. Older movies don’t interest you that much.
- Middle of the Road: Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Disney are your benchmarks for quality. If you still get DVDs from Netflix, often they’re scratched because the movies you want to watch are the same ones a bunch of other folks want to watch. You often find yourself in the same line at the movie theater as the Joneses crowd that I mentioned above. But it’s less important to you to see a movie right away than to feel pretty sure that you’re going to enjoy what you’re about to watch. You really don’t want to feel cheated out of your admission fee or two hours of your life.
* Partly because Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is one of my favorite books. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading it yet, it includes a superhero named The Escapist.)