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I had a fight with my husband last night.  A minor one, the kind that every marriage experiences with some degree of frequency, but a fight nonetheless.  I went to sleep at midnight, expecting him to follow me shortly, but by 1AM the noise level from the living room indicated that he wasn't going to be there any time soon.

Angry, I stomped out there to catch him and one of our room mates watching a movie.  I asked them to turn it down, but their laughter was too much for 1AM (even on a Saturday) and I had to break the party up shortly after that.  Noise carries far too easily in our small house, and there was no way I was going to sleep while that was going on.

I'm weird.  I don't like movies.  I used to make excuses for it - the movie theaters are too loud (excessive noise is a migraine trigger for me).  Then it became that the cost of movies is too much (very true.)  But with the availability of Blockbuster, and these days, Redbox, Netflix, etc, I should be content to wait a month and watch the movies at home.

But I can't.  I don't.  And I'm still trying to figure out why I don't like to watch them at all.

I don't watch much television, either.  I stopped watching regularly scheduled television programming when I was 17, because I realized I was letting an electronic box control my life.  (The irony, of course, is that a year later I got my first personal computer.)  I'll watch online clips of The Daily Show, and I inhale Japanese cartoons (subtitled, not dubbed), the latter of which I even have a tidy little DVD and Blue Ray collection.  We do not have cable, not even basic cable.  My primary news sources are NPR and Google News.

I love books.  I read and write fiction and nonfiction alike, constantly.  My first gen Kindle is squeaking from frequent overuse and abuse. I have to hand it to Amazon, they made those little slabs damn sturdy, and Amazon Prime means I get all the cheap books I could want.

I like live plays. The acting is always top notch, and I love the energy of a theater. I like live musical concerts, ranging from staid operas to loud dance and club music parties (with a pair of good decibel reducing earplugs in, of course.)  I speak fondly of movies I've watched in the past, and I'll even re-watch favorites like The Princess Bride.

I like video games that play like 120 hour long movies.  But those always have a save point.  They are solitary experiences, and can be stopped and resumed on my schedule, not on the schedule of those around me.

I'll grudgingly watch a movie during the daytime, if there is nothing else I'd rather be doing.  I refuse to watch one after dinner.  It will consume my mind, fill my dreams, make me forget who I am and what I am and crowd out all the stories of my own origin.

In order to keep up with conversations around the water cooler, I will read reviews of the movies.  Synopsis.  I have read more movie plots on Wikipedia than some actual movie critics.  I know it's not the same as watching the real thing, but I'll supplement my plot synopsis with some "best of" clips floating around the Internet, and the end result is being able to "fake" having watched the whole thing, with a startling degree of realism.

After all that, why don't I just cave in and watch the damn thing for real? I do, sometimes.  Most of the time I choose not to pursue the film any further, content with what I have seen and read.

Part of it is the intense emotional investment.  A movie is asking you to suspend your disbelief for two to three whole hours - to enter the lives of other people, uninterrupted, and to forget your own.  I'm not comfortable doing that any more.  I like my own life too much.

Part of it is the huge expense, waste, and fakery that goes into a modern big budget film.  I can't enjoy watching a story that I know isn't real.  The "magic" of special effects is no longer magic, it's just overused computer graphics.  The actors, with ranging levels of woodenness, are almost always overpaid and under-talented. The stupidly over-polished script, replete with laugh lines - some of it genuinely funny, most of it not.  All I can think when I watch a modern action flick is... they spent a hundred million dollars on this?  How many better ways were there to spend that kind of money, than two hours of entertainment for twenty million people?

~

My husband won the argument, sort of.  I'm investigating ways to sound proof the bedroom door.  It's selfish of me to tell people they can't enjoy a movie on a Saturday night, and it's unfair of me to tell them to stop just because I don't want to participate.

But I'll wear my badge of "unAmerican movie-hater" for the rest of my life, and I'm not going to be ashamed of it.  

The wonderful thing about our country is that we are able to have free time for entertainment, as members of the middle class, and we're allowed to be picky about our hobbies as well.

~

Edit: Going to dash away for a reconciliation picnic lunch with the husband (too beautiful a day to waste being angry at each other.)

Thanks for the comments so far :)  I'll be back in a few hours.

Originally posted to catwho on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 09:38 AM PDT.

Also republished by What are you watching?.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (10+ / 0-)

    Tradition says that God gave us choice. Some of His disciples act like it is up to them to remove it. ~ kjoftherock

    by catwho on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 09:38:24 AM PDT

  •  Nothing wrong with that (5+ / 0-)

    I'm not a huge movie fan, either. One of my exes was a movie junkie and I was often bored to tears. We'd go to the theater once a month, but we compromised by going to the indie theater, where we could drink and eat good food during the movie.

    My current gf loves movies. It's always time for a movie as far as she's concerned. Sometimes I'll watch one with her, but I usually read a book or play around here instead.

    Of course, there are some times when the only thing I want to do is watch a movie, and I like days like that. Closing all the blinds, laying on the couch and watching movies all day.

    I do that every few months or so, but it usually means I'm hungover.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 09:46:40 AM PDT

  •  Maybe a pair of these would work (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catwho

    Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

    by yet another liberal on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 09:50:52 AM PDT

    •  I have a pair of good earplugs (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      yet another liberal

      Decibel reducing ones that knock the sound down by ten decibels into tolerable levels.

      Won't stop the annoyance factor of screaming children, the stench of spilt soda and popcorn, or the flashing lights for three hours.  

      Tradition says that God gave us choice. Some of His disciples act like it is up to them to remove it. ~ kjoftherock

      by catwho on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:29:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why not buy earplugs? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allergywoman, Anak

    Seems like a simple solution.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 09:51:18 AM PDT

    •  Hard to sleep in them (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wilderness voice

      I have a white noise generating alarm clock, but I forgot I had it, seeing as it was 1AM and I was rather cranky.

      Tradition says that God gave us choice. Some of His disciples act like it is up to them to remove it. ~ kjoftherock

      by catwho on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:41:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm actually sympathetic to your plight (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        catwho

        My husband loves TV and movies and I am more of a reader and computer person.Also, I am a lark and he is an owl.There have been plenty of times when I've gotten up in the middle of the night and he's still up wide awake and watching a movie.

        I can only imagine the discussion that would ensue if I ever attempted to tell him when he could and could not watch a movie. That has never entered my mind. But, he has always been very considerate about the sound levels.

        “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

        by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 11:35:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  May I take the contrary viewpoint? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catwho, Catte Nappe

    I love movies.  A good movie on the big screen relaxes me, entertains me, and takes me to an entirely different place, as no other medium can do.

    I can totally immerse myself into a movie, "feel" with the characters, and experience their surroundings and motivations.

    I just LOVE good to excellent quality movies!  The movie industry has certainly made money from ME.

    ;-)

    -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

    by sunbro on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 09:54:48 AM PDT

    •  And you are totally welcome to love them! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SteelerGrrl, sunbro

      One of my room mates many years ago was a movie buff.  Friday nights were for partying downtown, but Saturday night was her movie night, a sacred ritual.  I think she was a film studies major.  We got to watch a wonderful, eclectic mix of classics.  She rarely rented anything recent (for one thing, she watched most of her movies in theaters.)

      Trust me, you are the normal one here and I am the weirdo.   Nothing wrong with enjoying things others do not enjoy, and vice versa.

      Tradition says that God gave us choice. Some of His disciples act like it is up to them to remove it. ~ kjoftherock

      by catwho on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:32:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I USED to love movies. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BoiseBlue, Anak, SteelerGrrl, Chi

    Course, I have incredibly weird taste in films.

    I enjoy the visual beauty of Akira Kurosawa or Hayao Miyazaki.

    I adore the fine comedic and dramatic performances of Sir Alec Guiness, or Sir David Niven.

    But I cannot stand the modern American film.  I loathe the "starlet of the month" club.   I despise the plots that are literally less that fifth grade reading level.

    And I hate how they screw up good books.  (Not ALL books mind you.  Occasionally a adaptation will be perfect, like "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" but usually the author is involved.)

    I'm right there with you.

    (But as far as video games go, they're heading Right into the same pitfalls as modern movies.  More the shame.)

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 09:55:26 AM PDT

    •  I can't watch a movie if I've read the book (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      detroitmechworks, catwho, SteelerGrrl

      There are a few exceptions but for the most part, too much gets lost in translation.

      A recent example is We Need to Talk About Kevin, which was a great book. The movie tried to stay true to the book, but I spent most of the movie squirming, wondering if the audience even knew what certain scenes were about.

      They included all the important points of the book, but not a lot of the context that they needed.

      That seems to be the case with most movies based on good books.

      P.S. I am not a crackpot.

      by BoiseBlue on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:02:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Rgr. But once again, if the author's involved... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BoiseBlue, catwho

        It seems to have a better chance of being a decent film.

        For example, "Stardust" was written by Neil Gaiman and adapted to the screen by him as well.

        Very good adaptation, IMHO, and one of my favorite movies of the last... 20 years  (Wow, that shows my age.)

        On the other hand... Lord of the Rings...  ugh... (Added stuff for no reason to make it longer and took out everything important, IMHO... hell did an entire Video on why I hated that one.  I Hate LOTR

        I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

        by detroitmechworks on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:06:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I liked Cosmos (0+ / 0-)

        Even though it was wildly different from the book near the end, I felt the changes that they made made the story somehow more approachable.

        Tradition says that God gave us choice. Some of His disciples act like it is up to them to remove it. ~ kjoftherock

        by catwho on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:39:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  and I like good movies , (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catwho

    my father is a bit hard of hearing so he needs to wear headphones so that everyone else doesn't have to listen to his TV . I wear very inexpensive Sony MDR-ED12LP ear buds .
    They are odd in that they sound great but if you take them out of your ear and hold them a foot away you can't hear them .

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 09:56:03 AM PDT

  •  Enter the lives of other people... (3+ / 0-)

    how is that different from reading literature or seeing plays?

    A movie is asking you to suspend your disbelief for two to three whole hours - to enter the lives of other people, uninterrupted, and to forget your own.
    Maybe you're just watching the wrong movies? Since your title, for some reason, seems to imply that only Americans watch movies, why not watch foreign movies?
  •  Get the hubby ear phones for late night viewing. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catwho, Chi, wilderness voice

    In fact, get a few pairs, the wifi kind. Then they have no excuses.

    Let all Bush tax cuts expire and , bring on the Sequestration cuts to defense.

    by kck on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:02:14 AM PDT

  •  Watch old movies. They're better anyway. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catwho, SteelerGrrl, lulusbackintown, Chi

    Modern films ARE overbudgeted, overproduced, underwritten pieces of crap anyway. Make your year cutoff at 1976 and you'll do just fine.

    (romney)/RYAN 2012 - Look at those clouds. It's beautiful. Just look at those things!

    by Fordmandalay on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:10:07 AM PDT

  •  I hate movies, too (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SteelerGrrl

    and it makes my wife angry. I suggest going to see a Shakespeare play. The performances great, the audience is better.

    No Jesus, Know Peace

    by plok on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:18:15 AM PDT

  •  BTW your problem isn't movies, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catwho, IndyReader

    It's room mates...

    No Jesus, Know Peace

    by plok on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 10:19:19 AM PDT

  •  I'm with you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catwho

    Interesting diary!  I honestly can't remember the last movie I saw in a theater -- it's been years.  Crowds in enclosed spaces and loud noises make me very uncomfortable.

    In addition to having the attention span of a gnat, I'm generally not attracted to fiction.  There's usually so much going on in my head already that trying to suspend disbelief long enough to get immersed in a story is a challenge.  Ah, the joys of being an INFP ;)

    Mostly I read nonfiction, and on the rare occasions I watch TV, it's either DIY shows or football.

    That said, there are plenty of movies and fiction books I enjoy.  But if I were stranded on a desert island, I'd rather have paper, pencils, and my bass guitar.

    My DH is also a movie buff.  He has a good set of headphones and likes to watch them on his laptop in bed.  It works out OK for us; we still get to see each other and I'm usually asleep in the first 15 minutes!

     I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine.     -- Kurt Vonnegut

    by SteelerGrrl on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 11:01:05 AM PDT

  •  Total agreement (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SteelerGrrl, catwho

    I find movies a waste of my time and energy and money.  No interest in virtually any of them.  And I'm totally happy not to be caught up in the infotainment stew that seems to be the typical US milieu.

    Occasionally I will rent a foreign film (Amelie and The Postman are recurrent favorites) and I have a very small DVD library of those I will re-view for a specific viewpoint, a particularly wonderful cinematography, or a superb use of language.

    But then I pretty much eschew any part of so-called "popular" culture.  I'd rather meditate or do my practice or make something beautiful, edible or practical for someone I love than waste even 10 minutes on a movie.

    So don't feel alone or weird (or at least any weirder!) as you have company.

  •  I have my own issues with movies. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catwho

    First I will not start watching a movie after the credits have started to roll (how Woody Allen of me)

    Second I hate watching movies alone.

    Third it has to be Criterion Collection or a movie so bad it qualifies for Mystery Science Theater.

    I have not been in a movie theater in years. Most of the recent movies I have seen outside of my home have been on airplanes (Glitter anyone?) like I am a captive audience.

    My wife loves movies and hates the movies I love and I love the movies she hates, I love to read and so does she be she hates what I read and I hate what she reads.

    How we live with each other is a mystery to me (and her).

  •  Suspension of disbelief (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catwho
    A movie is asking you to suspend your disbelief for two to three whole hours - to enter the lives of other people, uninterrupted, and to forget your own.
    Nice camera angle. What colors! I love the subtle facial gestures from the actress.

    The period detail in this one is so authentic. Funny, then, how they all talk and think like modern people.

    And look: They are breaking the fourth wall. They do that in movies now, a lot.

    How much time is left in this thing anyway? 35 minutes? I wonder how they are going to resolve the plot.

  •  I went through a period of about 6 years (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catwho

    from 1983 - 1989, when I didn't watch tv. Not more than about 2 -5 hours a year, and only when someone sat me down and told me to watch.

    It started when we got a VCR. I started to tape anything I might be interested in watching one day, and having taped it, I didn't feel the need to actually watch it.

    In the late 80s I went back to school to become a school librarian. I felt that I needed to start watching tv again so that I could have the cultural literacy to be able to talk with my students.

    Shop Liberally this holiday season at Kos Katalog

    by JamieG from Md on Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 02:53:28 PM PDT

  •  I don't do movies or TV either (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catwho

    because I already get too much time in front of the computer screen.

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