How Do You Watch a Movie?

It’s a question, and it’s a lot more complicated then it seems, so I’ll ask it again:

How do you watch a movie?

Allow me to elaborate, by turning this question into a series of other, smaller questions:

  1. When you watch a movie at home, how do you position your chair, sofa, or sitting place?
  2. How do you ensure the lighting of the room is perfect?
  3. How do you position the viewing surface (TV, computer, etc) so that you are looking at it from the perfect angle?
  4. Do you eat or drink during the movie?
  5. Do you use subtitles, audio dubbing or other enhancements on the screen?
  6. What is the volume you play your film at?
  7. Do you watch the movie alone, or with others?

These are some, but not all, of the factors that can go into perfecting the art of watching a movie. Some people think it’s as easy as turning on your TV and playing the DVD, but there are certain factors I take into account to ensure I’m watching the movie in the best way possible to truly experience it. Who knows, maybe it’s just some OCD shit or I’m crazy like that, but I like to know that when I’m watching a movie at home, I’m getting what I paid for.

Let’s get one thing straight: the best way to watch a movie is in the cinema. I can’t stress this enough. But, watching a DVD at home, in the right conditions, can be almost the same. It hardly matters if you’re just watching some indie comedy like Clerks., but if you’ve decided to blast some Stanley Kubrick or David Lean, you need to be in the right atmosphere and setting to let the amazement of a perfectly made movie set in.

For example, here’s the situation I usually go through when watching a movie at home by myself at night:

1: There will be no light. All lights are off, blinds are closed, doors shut, etc. Darkness is the best, otherwise other lighting will distract you from the film.

2: Every single electrical appliance in the room that is not needed for the movie is to be switched off. The last thing I need is a cellphone humming or vibrating, or a home phone ringing incessantly; an alarm going off inexplicably or even the low hum of the icemaker.

3: No food is to be consumed during the movie. It’s not necessary, it’s distracting, and it’s noisy. Drinks are allowed, though. That’s a whole different story.

4: The remote is not to be touched. This means, no toilet stops, no rewinding, no pausing, no slow-motion-ing, no stopping. I watch a movie to the end, exactly as if I was watching it in a theatre.

5: I have the volume level, colour, contrast and brightness on the TV at the same even level to ensure I’m viewing the film at the proper sound and picture quality. Obviously.

And that’s basically it. Now, some of these rules might seem strict, or too much. But, when I’m unfortunate enough to not get a chance to see a movie at the movies, I want to convert my home into the closest thing. I’m working on turning a spare bedroom into a theatre room like my friend Stephen, but those things take time and money. This is just my way of enjoying a movie, even if it’s a terrible one. If I’m forced to watch a movie on my computer, same rules apply. And if I have to watch a movie on my iPhone… forget it, I don’t need to watch a movie on my iPhone.

I’m probably just sounding really crazy, and anal, but hey! it’s just me. I believe that movies weren’t invented to be watched, oh no… movies were invented to be experienced. But… everyone has their own different, specific movie idiosyncracies. And their own opinion to go with it, so I ask you again…

How do you watch a movie?

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About Tyler

Patient observer of all things film and music, from Béla Tarr to Boards of Canada. Foul mouthed and clinging to the edge of sanity.

Posted on July 4, 2011, in Movies, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Well…there are two different ways I watch movies…

    The first is in my room on my laptop (but now I have a better TV in my room, the laptop will be a gone thing). I’ll probably just have my lamp on (if it’s night of course). I’ll usually eat or drink, but that’s only if there’s nice food in the house. I don’t use any enhancements, nor do I watch anything with anyone else if it’s on my laptop.

    The second is my ‘Tuesday movie night’. I usually watch 1-3 movies that night in the lounge, on a couch which I usually make into a bed since it’s really cold here. The light is usually off, unless I’m doing something else as well as watching a movie (I’m a master multi-tasker). The couch is pretty much opposite the TV, even though the TV is on a bit of an angle. I usually buy some food for my movie night, like a bag of popcorn or chocolate fish (my favourite food) because I eat a lot. The volume is pretty loud, just not too loud. And yeah, I watch it alone, because I hate watching movies with other people.

    So yeah, that’s how I watch a movie. Great idea for a topic!

    • Interesting. I’ve watched movies on my laptop from time to time, but I try not to make it a habit. I like your Tuesday movie night idea… for me, that night is Saturday. The whole world is shut off, and I’m more serious about movie watching that night than any other night. I’m not even joking, I’m dead serious.

      If I’m watching some lighthearted fare, maybe some harmless comedy fluff or something I’m not really expecting anything from, I’ll probably do it under less strict conditions. When I’m watching a movie with my girlfriend, she insists on popcorn, so I kind of have to cave in there. Then again, it’s not often we actually watch anything serious together, so it doesn’t bother me too much.

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