How I Learned to Love Movies Again

I went through a really rough period of time after having back surgery. I was out of work for nearly 3 months, had to relearn how to walk, and dealt with a lot of issues with incontinence since my vertebra was pushing on my internal organs and slowly destroying the musculature.

I told you that this shit was going to be frank.

Something happened to me during that period of time: I stopped enjoying watching movies.

This was a serious crisis for me because movies were what I have focused on for most of my life. I went to film school. I can quote movies at the top of a hat. I'm a god-damned filmmaker!

Movies just were my life. And now I couldn't enjoy getting lost in them like I once had.

Only recently have I really allowed myself to get drawn back in and I think I've figured out the easiest way to enjoy getting lost in a film: Don't research the shit out of it.

My wife asked me recently what a specific movie was about before she was going to watch it (I am the idiot that mentioned I was watching something for a review and she was curious). I told her I didn't want to tell her what it was about because that ruins her experience of it.

And it does.


I didn't realize it, but I've been limiting my research of a film I am about to write about until after I have watched the movie. I go into a theater with a blank slate, having only watched the trailer for the film. I can draw conclusions about whatever I want during the actual movie, and I'm left with whatever interpretation or story that the filmmaker wants me to see.

Not the bullshit numbers of production costs. Not the projected sales. Not the storyline. Nothing.

I guess, in this case, I am in fact advocating for ignorance.

We've gotten away from going to see a movie, or a theater performance, or a musician and enjoying their portrayal or performance. Now, we go to these performances to heckle, mock, or just spew hate.

When I was in high school, I had a teacher that took his time with getting our attention. We organized the HamletFest and watched all the different interpretations of Hamlet; from Hamlet with Laurence OlivierHamlet with Mel Gibson, to Hamlet with Kenneth Branagh, to Hamlet with Ethan Hawk. He literally got us to watch Hamlet in four different interpretations and we were also reading the play, out-loud, in class. We didn't fight the fact that we were watching the same story 4 times while we were also reading it day to day. That's how you get your students frigging attention.

That being said, I think, at some point, I reset to back when I was a kid and had no clue what I was about to read or watch. Before it was all about if the filmmakers told the story "correctly."


This also explains why I'm a bit maxed out on superhero movies: you know the good guys win, and if they don't, you know there are fifteen sequels or spinoffs planned in the upcoming years.

So, essentially, the story isn't over and that gives you a reason to hate it for whatever reason.

I guess I'm just over looking at a film like that. And the rest of you should be too!