A Plethora of Movies

Overanalysis, while you wait, of what I remember or fail to remember, about movies.

When I was a child, I might have seen five movies a year. They mostly coincided with school breaks: Christmas, Easter, one or two during the summer, maybe one in the fall somehow. We had to go to a cinema (or drive-in) to see a movie. That was that. I remember some of the movies I saw at various times, not because they were good, but because it was such an event. I can’t remember all of them, of course, but why else would I remember having seen The Hindenburg, let alone anything about it, unless the event of seeing the movie was itself that impressive.

As I grew up, I saw more movies. Part of it was that I started to have more discretionary income. It wasn’t just an allowance from my parents any longer; it was babysitting money or lifeguarding money. Also, outlets for movies became more common. HBO and Showtime came to cable TV (just like we ate Hydrox, not Oreos, we watched Showtime, not HBO. Showtime has fared better than Hydrox cookies), and Betamax and VHS came into homes (inexplicably, we chose a winner on that one: VHS). More and more cable channels started up, meaning more and more movies were available all the time, to the point that the ABC Sunday Night Movie vanished long ago, along with broadcast network showings of almost any movie that ever had a cinematic release. I have no idea which was the last Bond movie shown on ABC in prime time, but it was probably a Roger Moore Bond movie.

Instead of watching five movies a year, carefully chosen, I watched five movies a month, or more. If it cost $1 to rent a movie that I haven’t seen for four or five nights, of course I might rent two or three at once.

Finally, Netflix was invented. That may have increased my consumption movies, but it certainly also made me think about which movies I’ve seen. Which movies do I remember well enough to rate? Looking at my history of Netflix ratings, I have no idea why I rated some of the movies I did the way I did. I’m not doubting my rating; I don’t remember enough about the movie to remember why.

Add to that us.imdb.com and tvtropes.org, and my bewilderment grows. I can look up movies I remember having seen and realize how little I remember about the movie. I remember fragments about these movies but not how the plot got to those fragments.

Does it matter? If I’m watching a movie with a friend, how carefully am I studying the movie, geeking out about the movie? Do I really remember a movie the first time I watch it, or that just a primer for the more thorough consumption of a movie the second time around? I used to carefully avoid spoilers if i could, but now I wonder if spoilers are just preparations for fully understanding the movie.

I watched The Prestige tonight for the second time. The first time was probably early in 2009; I got a copy of the movie as a promotion when I bought a new Blu-Ray player. I remembered one of the reveals about the movie, but many other plot points were as new to me. But, as I say, so what? No one ever asked me if they should watch that movie, so my opinion of it has been of no consequence to the world, except has my rating of it influences Netflix suggestions to me.

I routinely program my AT&T U-Verse cable box to record a few movies for my eventual consumption. When the cats wish to sit on my lap, it’s great to have a movie or two I can watch without my wife without feeling guilty. So, in the next few days, I’ll finish Catch Me If You Can and then watch in either order V is For Vendetta and Out of Sight. The former may not be a good test; I think I’ve already seen it more than once. The latter I’m pretty sure I’ve only seen once, and perhaps for good reason. (If I had a TiVo that was compatible with AT&T U-Verse or some other cable package, it’d build a profile of what I like and try to keep me supplied in movies. I wish U-Verse got along with TiVo. But, I digress.) Nothing says I have to finish what I start; I might not bother finishing rewatching Catch Me…, for example. (It says something that I’m watching the movie and noting when security measure are being defeated here and there. Knowing where something is going makes it easier to see the small choices that get it there.)

…and this is one more reason this blog is called, “Overanalysis While You Wait.”


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