For the past three years, I’ve been taking a break from movies. Actually, from screens in general– I can’t remember the last time I watched a television show. This is partly because of a general cultural transition shifting our idle time from TV’s to computers– but it’s also a deliberate way of life. I made a basic post about this decision already. I wouldn’t say that it’s been an “experiment,” per say, but I’ve certainly noticed the effects. Thus I bring you… the effects!
- I’m a hell of a lot more productive. I’m reading more and producing more art than I ever have.
- I can have a conversation without compulsive ADHD-like symptoms, i.e. checking my phone, sending a text message, taking out my laptop. Obviously this skill is hindered when the other person is exhibiting these symptoms, but still, it comes in handy…
- I notice the real world. I notice the weather, the people on the street, the taste of my coffee.
- I engage with things that directly affect me (my family, the local debate about building a Wal-Mart on a Civil War Battlefield site, etc.), instead of things that don’t (i.e. the lives of celebrities, that ‘ugly’ contestant on Britain’s Got Talent, a funny youtube video, etc.)
- It’s been harder to maintain conversations with certain friends. I don’t get any of their references, and they don’t seem to know about anything that hasn’t happened on a screen.
- I’m a bit of a ornery old man when it comes to kids on cellphones. Sometimes I just want to knock it out of their hands…
That being said, I do think there is some amazing stuff being produced in the cinema. It’s one of the few “screen-places” that can still affect deep and genuine emotions about political things. I don’t know how many people actually walk out of the movie theater and decide to change something about their lives as a result of seeing a movie, but eh, that’s not something that I can really control.
So here’s some wide-releases that I’m excited about (in addition to Good Hair, Chris Rock’s documentary)