The Lost Art of Loving Movies

Remember when you were a kid and every movie you saw was the most amazing thing ever? Remember that sense of wonder? That feeling that what you saw on the screen was actually real? Ever since, you've been chasing that dragon, haven't you? Sometimes you find a movie that gets you close, but it's not quite the same.

What if I told you that it's possible to get that feeling from every movie? That's right, and all you have to do is take some of that responsibility on yourself rather than put it all on the filmmakers. In a way, that's what you did when you were a child; you were more committed to suspending disbelief and accepting whatever was in front of you as "true."

Regaining A Childlike Mind

I think it's valuable to have a curious, childlike mind when it comes to experiencing art; that's what allows us to find joy and meaning out of it. Without that mindset, we become too rigid and categorical, and we end up getting less and less enjoyment out of life.

It's tragic that this optimistic approach to movie-watching is looked down upon. Whenever someone expresses nothing but awe for a movie, they are met with accusations of "being a fanboy" or "not having a sophisticated taste." I think those common put-downs turn more and more people into cynics, where it's harder to suspend disbelief. Because nobody wants to be thought of as "gullible."

What they don't see is that this "gullibility" is the key to finding that joy that we as moviegoers are always searching for.

Pessimism Isn't Cool

Maybe it's time to stop having pride for being unimpressed by movies. After all, it comes out of a sense of entitlement. All you have to do is sit back and relax as the filmmaker fails to please you.

With that said, I can hear people responding with "but I paid to see the movie, therefore it's their job to please me." I hear you there, but unfortunately, this complaint is not going to get you anywhere. The movie is a done deal and you're not going to get back the time you spent watching it. Unless you have a large audience, your complaint will have no influence on future films, and even then it's still unlikely to make a difference.

Instead, it's better to focus on what you have the most control over, which is how you experience a movie.

To make sure you enjoy your experience, you have to stop being a lazy consumer and take a more proactive approach. It may sound like work, but if you end of finding more joy out of it, by definition it would have been worth it.

It requires creativity to take some of that burden on yourself and fill the gaps that the creators may have missed.

Now that's what should be admired in my opinion: someone who has the courage to look beyond what bothers them in a movie in order to see the aspects that bring them joy.

Don't Expect Others to Suspend Your Disbelief

Sometimes, to enjoy something you need creativity; to view things from a different perspective. For example, I am able to enjoy running because I have the perspective of doing something that's healthy and accomplishing something that's challenging.

If I only focused on the discomfort that running brought, I wouldn't enjoy it. Similarly, if I only focused on the things that reduced my ability to suspend disbelief, I wouldn't enjoy it.

Stop being so easy when it comes to being "taken out of" a movie. If you see bad acting, just tell yourself that's how that character would act. If the CGI is not up to par, ignore it, or just think to yourself "that's how it would really look like in that universe." If you see a convenient coincidence, think it's just that, a convenient coincidence. If you see a common movie trope, just think as if that's the first time you've seen it.

Experiencing art in such a way that you find it fun is an art of its own.

In short, try to bring yourself back to when you were a kid. Try to see the beauty (or horror if you see a horror film) in everything that you see. I know this was easier when you were younger, but that doesn't mean it's impossible now.

I've been doing this for a long time and it has really worked. As a result, I've laughed, cried, and been enthralled by more movies than ever before. After pretty much every movie, I come out feeling amazed.

Conclusion

I know some people get a kick out of bashing movies. This post is not for them; it's for the people who are not aware that it doesn't have to be that way, who might find more joy out of this other way of experiencing art.

But to the people who do enjoy focusing on the flaws in movies, I'd like to tell them to be careful that this pessimistic approach doesn't translate into other things in their lives, such as in exercise and relationships.

Life is too short to not try to find joy in everything you consume.


Edit (8/27/2018) - I just came across this video that was able to articulate some of my grievances on this subject:

About

Hello, I'm Erick Muller. I like to write about many things including philosophy, self-improvement, running, unschooling, podcasts, productivity tools and digital marketing.