How To Watch A Movie Like A Philosopher
1. Make a decision
Problem: One of the more nauseating and seemingly simple obstacles to watching a movie is picking a movie to watch. I don't know how many times I've sat before my move collection or thumbed through Netflix and became overwhelmed by indecision. Not only are there too many options, I get the gnawing sensation that as someone who has been watching horror movies for over a decade that there are no surprises left.
The best way to make a decision is to have already made a decision. Last year, I was caught in the same dilemma. So I made the plan to watch my movies from right the left all the way to the last shelf. This worked great until I got lost in video games for a month and disrupted my flow.
Solution: Create a plan. Focus your time and energy on a goal. Ultimately my goal for this blog is to fund my movie watching habit to do this I need to make 100$ a month. In order, to do this I need to create entertaining content that I enjoy writing and others enjoy reading. My plan at the moment is to create a year-long content calendar and wrap my movie watching around monthly themes.
2. Set the stage
Problem: I find this the easiest task. Create an environment that helps me focus on a film. I shut off the lights, and get under a blanket and press play. But then I feel that pull to check my phone and next thing I know I've lost 30 minutes and don't remember what happened in the film.
Solution: Put the cell phone in another room. I find this more than a bit difficult because checking and my phone has become so fluid that I don't catch the transition between watching the movie and chatting with friends on facebook. But this is a great obstacle for me, not only do I get to the end of the movie and can't remember why characters did what they did, I did not enjoy the experience. Movies are supposed to be fun!
3. Watch Mindfully
Problem: This comes naturally if I am able to pick a movie and set the state. I get zoned in. My brain draws connections between monsters and social theory. Bigfoot becomes more than just a hairy giant but a post-modern expression of hipsterism lost in its own banality.
Solution: Write something down when the movie ends. I've tried writing while the movie is flowing but I either lose flow by pausing the movie to write or lose something from the film as I'm writing. In the past, I had created forms to complete after watching a movie. They would include basic demographics about the film and prompts to think about larger themes and the meaning of the film. I found these to be too cumbersome to complete, and when I did fill one out I'd get stumped. When I have written best, I when from film to my computer to write a post in one sitting.
4. Learning as pre-work
Solution: Keep reading. Keep Learning. Art as theft is not a new idea, nor was it a new idea to me. But the concept wasn't something that was positioned in my mind to support creativity. This is where reading helps. Reading allows the mind to form connections. Reading paints the numbers in the murder scene with help from the words of the author. Reds scream and lungs collapse. Other times reading dismantles ideas or reframes perspectives. Books leave us with clarity even when they crush our ego.
Watching a movie sounds simple, but when you are a blogger with a mission the waters can become muddied quickly. Especially when depression and trauma attempt to reduce the ego to ash. Movies became more than movies for me a long time ago. Movies teach the world how to understand the world. Film and TV narratives shape and reshape society's scripts political, romantic, normality and at times sanity. To watch a film like a philosopher is to watch a film with one eye to reality and the second to the shaping of reality.
How to Be a Film Critic