Sunday, December 27, 2009

Musings on movies

I've been musing on Avatar since I saw it (impossible not to). It made me realize a couple things. One is exactly why I hate 95% of movie comedies so passionately. Old ones, new ones, ones in the middle... sure, there are some exceptions, but they more often than not leave me cold. I've never been able to put into words before why I hate comedies. Well, it all has to do with why we go to the movies. Or more specifically, why I go to the movies. Most people I know don't feel this way. But I do not go to the movies to laugh. I do not go to be amused. Those are probably the last reasons I'd go to see a movie. I have plenty of laughs at home. Life is full of laughs. This morning, I was at my sister's, and all we did was talk and laugh for an hour or so. I'm quite fulfilled in the giggle-department in real life. I don't want or need that in my fiction.

I know I've talked about this before, but I go to the movies for one reason: to escape into a fictional world. The more completely I can escape, the happier I am. This is one of the reasons why I believe in seeing movies on the big screen, because, I'm sorry, it ain't the same when you're sitting on a couch watching a film on television, or worse, sitting at your desk chair, watching a film on your monitor. I do it, but the screen is small and my peripheral vision takes in the rest of my living room. There's cars driving down the street, the dog wanting out, the cats wanting on my lap, and a hundred other things to pull me out of the moment. I HATE being pulled out of a movie by real life. Hate it. Passionately.

Which brings me back to comedies and why they don't work for me: there's always an awareness that they're targeting you, trying to make you laugh, aiming at an audience that is outside the film. And I don't want to be outside.

Which brings me back to Avatar, and why it is the perfect movie for me: it immerses me in its fiction, and the beautiful 3D? Pulls me in even more. I was there, running along a tree branch or diving off a cliff. One of my first despairing thoughts when it ended was "I don't want to go back to 2D movies now." I disappeared completely into this movie, and that is what I want out of my films. I don't come out of a comedy with a heightened sense of being alive, with my adrenalin kicking, with wanting to take off at a sprint through the parking lot, whooping just for the sheer joy of it. I don't soar when I come out of a comedy. And I need to soar. It's why I go to the movies. I still haven't come down off the high of seeing Avatar. I probably won't for awhile. And I wouldn't have it any other way.


  1. Though I love comedies and enjoy the experience of laughing with an appreciative audience, I understand your point of view. I do think that you cannot fully appreciate a movie without the total immersion of a darkened theater. Several times I have gone to a theater showing of a movie I'd already seen on video and felt that I was seeing something entirely new. Nothing matches that experience! Great post--it really got me thinking.

  2. Wonderful post! I like comedies, because I actually don't get a whole bunch of laughs at home.. but I completely understand how someone who is more than satisfied with their giggle allotment at home wouldn't like comedies as much (that sounds so funny!!) It's hilarious, i feel EXACTLY the same way about movies as you-- they are mainly an escape and I want to be completely absorbed into the movie world, but for me that actually works better at home. At the movies, I don't feel as open to cry or laugh or gasp or anything because I'm always aware of the people around me. At home, I'm totally alone, usually no outside noises because I'll put on headphones, the house is so quiet you can hear a pin drop and all of the lights are off. Just me and a movie, that's it. And maybe a box of tissues ;-)

    Now if classic movies could be in 3D THAT would be super neat!!

  3. Hi dKoren!

    Glad to hear you're on a movie high: those are always fun.

    I'm in the midst of one of my delightful obsessions; watched DEAD END ten times in the past two weeks 'cause it gave me such a high. If it were in the theater, though, just think how much it would cost me?! ;)


    I hope you're well.

    I've missed you, and missed reading here.


    Did you like Joel McCrea in DEAD END??

    You know, I finally realized I was pronouncing his name wrong. Apparently it's 'McCrea' like 'McCray'? I was calling him Joel 'McCreee'. :)


    Congratulations on winning NaNoWriMo again!

    I was out of the running in the first week. Spent most of the month of November horribly sick.


    I hope you have a great New Year, Deb!

    Happy New Year's Eve,
    ~ Ginger

  4. Hi KC - You aren't kidding... when you see something on the big screen that you've only ever seen on tv, it is like seeing something entirely new. Wish I could see more of my favorites big!


    Kate, I guess I'm a pretty confident viewer! I cry freely in movies in the theater when they move me (whether it's a beautiful moment or a sad moment). I don't really care who looks at me funny. But how neat that you can watch a movie in the dark with headphones at home! That would be as close as you could get to duplicating the theater experience. Very cool! I'd try that, only I'm WAY too paranoid to wear headphones. I'd be looking over my shoulder every few seconds to make sure nothing's sneaking up on me, and that would sort of ruin the movie experience. I know, I'm such a dork!


    Ginger! So good to see you again! Missed you and your posts too!

    Ooh, I very much like Joel McCrea in "Dead End," particularly his whole confrontation with Humphrey Bogart and ending up in the river. I so want to take him home in that movie. That's funny about his name! Yep, "McCray" ... but looking at it right now, I can see how it would actually be very easy to see it pronounced as McCree instead.

    Thanks for the good wishes. Same to you! Hope 2010 turns into a marvelous year for you.