What do I watch now?
Ever been in a show-hole? Ever had a really good movie run that ended before film studios could come out with the sequels, three-quels, and spinoff titles?
Our ability to consume movies is much faster-paced than the ability for film companies to produce new films. This can leave you feeling hungry for more movies, with no immediate way to solve the problem.
I decided to share a few ideas today about how you might open up your movie world to include more films; giving yourself a longer runway before you run out of stories to watch. These are tricks of the trade that have proved very enjoyable for me and my family, and hopefully they can open up your world a little bit more as well.
1. Watch Old Movies
The African Queen (Humphrey Bogart, Katherine Hepburn), Going My Way (Bing Crosby), Sabrina (Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart), The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (Ingrid Bergman), Roman Holiday (Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck), Gentleman’s Agreement (Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Jimmy Stewart), Holiday Inn (Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire), The Inspector General (Danny Kaye) Bedtime for Bonzo (Ronald Reagan), The Magnificent Seven (Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson), The Great Escape (Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson) Desperate Journey (Ronald Reagan, Errol Flynn) Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston), Foreign Correspondent (Joel McCrea, Laraine Day), Never a Dull Moment (Dick Van Dyke)
These are just a few little nuggets of gold in the goldmine that is old movies. A movie being made decades before your birth in no way diminishes its value. Watching old movies can be a delightful way to experience the evolution of films earlier on. You can also get a taste for normal life and cultural mindsets in previous decades. There are endless possibilities and literally hundreds upon hundreds of films available.
I have discovered amazing stories, endearing characters, and a heartbeat in some old films that I could have just passed over. Human beings have not changed in who we are at our core, only our technology has changed. There were compelling stories being told long before the days of green screen, CGI, and high definition.
Don’t limit yourself, try something “new” for a change. After all, in this day when retro is cool, old is the new new.
2. Expand Your Genres
Picky eaters and picky viewers have this in common, they have very few options available.
Opening yourself up to new genres can open up hundreds of new movies titles for you to browse and enjoy. Even if the new genres you try are not as dear to you as your favorite genre, you still may find that you actually enjoy a lot more than you thought possible. Keeping an open and non-cynical mind about movies can do wonders for your viewing soul.
3. Enjoy Each Story For It’s Own Value, Not Another Story’s Value
This trick has been incredibly useful in my own family where we have many different ages. It can be hard to find a film that’s safe and enjoyable for everyone. My mom worked really hard to teach us the perspective of enjoying each story for its own value.
This means I can enjoy Cars, The Avengers, and the Indian-made film Lagaan. They are all across the board in purpose, message, and storytelling. Cars is a sweet and humorous story that is a mix of speed and taking its time. The Avengers is flashy and showy with superheroes, alien invasions, and explosions. Lagaan is hot, dusty, and not even in English-you have to read the subtitles-but it is a compelling story nonetheless.
I have enjoyed each one of these films, because I enjoyed them for their own, individual value. If I used the same criteria for evaluating Lagaan as I did The Avengers, I would be disappointed. Why? Because Lagaan was never intended to be The Avengers, therefore, it will only fail to meet my Avengers standards.
This way of looking at things is actually really useful in life, especially when looking at people. If I judge one person based on the criteria used for another, completely separate individual, I will be disappointed. The same principal applies to movies.
Enjoy each story for its own merits, gifts, and yes, even its flaws. This will open up many more movies for you as you set your expectations accordingly.
4. Watch Movies You’ve Seen Before
If you are like me, then you already love to watch some of the same movies over, and over, and over again. Not everyone enjoys this, and once they’ve seen a film they may not care to see it again.
Let me encourage you to revisit movies you’ve seen before. It is possible to enjoy a movie the second time through, sometimes it is just about the amount of effort you are willing to put into it. There are multiple ways to enjoy movies again.
Look for details in the backgrounds, costumes, or electronics of the film. Pick a topic and pay attention to it.
Research for a few minutes online for trivia involving the film. Then look for the moments mentioned. I have done this at movie marathons with friends and it gives you an entirely new perspective on the film.
Invite friends over who have also seen the film and keep a running commentary going with them. I love watching movies I’ve seen a million times with friends because you feel the freedom to talk all that you want. This is a really fun way to enjoy a film and relational time with other people. You will have a good time and create memories.
*Who cares if you’ve seen it 11 times, there is always a fresh way to enjoy something. Don’t box yourself in!
5. Just For Kids, I Don’t Think So
So what, you’re 35, 46, 73? I don’t care, try a “kids” movie. The mistake many adults are making nowadays is believing that movies geared toward children are only for children. WRONG! I dare you to watch any Pixar film and have your mind blown.
Children’s films often have soft, approachable layers of storytelling and clear truths that adult movies don’t have. What is simple and understood in a children’s film is often lost in the chaos and complications of an adult film.
Many children’s films are often quite profound and touching. There is a special sense of wonder about them that adult films rarely seem to grasp. There is a reason we remember our favorite films from childhood, because they touched our hearts in a way that changed us. Who knows, you may actually need to hear a simple truth from a children’s film more now than you ever did when you were 7.
Open up your heart, you can still enjoy some Bourne movies while also diving into the delightful world of “children’s” films. After all, adults are just kids a bit older and bigger, right?
6. Don’t Be A Critic
Yeah, I know this one sounds a little hypocritical coming from the woman who is running a blog where she analyzes movies. But there is a difference between analyzing in order to understand and engage a story, vs critiquing a story and only looking for the faults.
One can enrich your mind and help you understand stories and people better, the other can make you cynical and jaded. Why? Because there is no perfect movie, and the ones that make the cut as being “good enough” in professional critic’s minds are far and few in-between, even if regular audiences loved the films.
I often think that professional critics must have a hard time enjoying movies anymore. When you are paid to go see a movie with a critical eye, that will soon become the lens that you view everything with. How many caustic and sarcastic critic reviews have you read from professionals? I’ve gotten to the point where I read what normal, everyday viewers thought of the movie before I would read a critic’s take on it. I trust a fan’s perspective more than I do a professional’s.
Granted, I do critique movies sometimes. I find fault with them, and I point those things out. I will even do so many times on this website. But, critiquing is not my top priority here. My top priority is to engage in movies and discuss them through the eyes of a storyteller and a fan.
I never want to lose my joy in movies, be they perfect or largely imperfect. And I don’t want you to lose that either by being overly-critical.
So, did that car chase seem a bit far-fetched? Sure. Were the special FX in that film from 1965 kinda hokey? Yeah, so, what? Put down the critic’s chart and just watch the movie. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be enjoyable.
7. Chill Out, Lighten Up
This one is really a compilation of all of my previous suggestions. The best way to limit your viewing options is to have a very narrow set of standards and criteria when it comes to what you will view.
Now, please don’t hear me telling you to violate your conscience. I would never, ever do that. When I say “standards”, I am speaking artistically. Here are a few phrases that might explain what I am saying.
The graphics are terrible on that, this was pre-CGI. Forget it!
That would never happen in real life. (This one is so ridiculous it makes me laugh. Dude, what do you think movies are, reality caught on camera after make-up and costuming?)
I’m too old for that.
No, none of us are going to enjoy everything in every genre. We are each going to develop our own set of likes and dislikes that will exclude some films. But you can open yourself up to many, many more films if you will relax and give them a chance. Will you still dislike certain films after watching them? Of course, but at least you gave it a shot.
We can get too “sophisticated” for our own good, and it is limiting our viewing options and making our movie diet too strict. Having variety is good and healthy for our perspective and for our movie-watching list.
Explore, step out of your comfort zone, make the old new again, lay down the critic clipboard and watch the dang movie! Life is too short to be uptight when you don’t have to be.
I hope that these ideas will can help breath a little fresh life into your movie-watching experience. They have worked wonders for me, and I hope that you can also benefit from them. Movies are an amazing and unnecessary gift that we often take for granted. Here’s to the hope that we can all appreciate them more!
So, do you have any ideas on how to enjoy more movies? Have you tried any of these options before? What was a movie experience where you tried something new and loved it? I would love to hear from you.
Like and share! Let’s open up our movie cabinets and our minds together!