Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Basic Pleasures

This afternoon during my son's nap I watched The Social Network on Blu-Ray (which I bought 3 months ago). It was the first time in I don't know how long that I watched a movie for the pure pleasure of watching a movie I already know to be excellent and just want to see again (in this case for the, I think, third time). Basically everything I watch now falls under one of several categories:

- new movies in theaters that I see either to 1) keep up with current cinema or 2) see something I'm genuinely interested in
- new movies on DVD/Blu-Ray/streaming that I missed in the theater and I'm watching either to 1) keep up with current cinema or 2) see something I'm genuinely interested in
- movies from my collection that I just want to review (recent example: Mission: Impossible II)
- older movies not in my collection that I have some motivation to write about (recent examples: Brighton Beach Memoirs and Biloxi Blues)
- newer movies I saw in the cinema that I think my wife would like so we watch them at home. There's something special about watching a movie a second time alongside someone watching for the first time. It can sometimes recreate the sensation of seeing it for the first time.

This occurred to me after my wife asked why I watched The Social Network. When I told her it's just a good movie and that's reason enough, she was suspicious because I never watch anything without considering a writing project. Then it occurred to me that I should do this more often.

The unifying thread among most of my motivations for watching a movie is writing about it. I told myself that starting this month I was going to cut back on the amount of review writing I do. I thought I would let pass the opportunity to write reviews for films like Brighton Beach Memoirs so I could just focus on the pleasure of watching the movie. As it turns out, I've decided to write what I've dubbed "Short Cut Reviews" of less than 400 words (a single paragraph in some cases). It's really difficult to give up the writing.

Really I'd like to focus on more in depth and analytic writing about a director's body of work or classic films. I have a project in the works on one director in particular, but I've given myself no time frame for it. Whenever I manage to watch a movie from his body of work, I will take notes and do some writing. I will post when the project is finished - maybe 6 months from now, maybe a year from now.

But what I never do anymore is just sit down and watch something for the pure pleasure of it. I used to watch certain movies from my collection about once a year. I never find the time for that anymore because I'm always angling to get all the movies in my collection reviewed, or all the classics reviewed. Recognizing that this is a never ending project has the power to dull me to exhaustion.

Watching The Social Network reminded me of why I do this in the first place - because I love the movies. I only started writing in order to have some higher motivation for watching movies in the first place. I had opinions and in some cases big ideas about things and no place to share it. It's good to remember the basic reasons you got involved in something.

No comments:

Post a Comment