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How Do You Watch Movies at Home?


Christian
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Maybe we have a similar post around these parts, but Darren's post here and the responses it generated got me to wonder how, exactly, we watch movies at home. Some of exercise, apparently, while watching.

Me? I sleep. Way too often. So that doesn't really count as "watching." Let's just say I watch in a "woozy" state.

I've watched while on a treadmill but haven't yet embraced that, maybe because I was watching a subtitled film and it was hard to read the subtitles while running in place, several feet from the 32-inch screen with its letterboxed image.

So I usually sit in my recliner. And then I recline. And then my eyelids begin to droop.

But enough about me. How 'bout you?

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I sit on the couch.

Edited by M. Leary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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I fall asleep far too often too, Christian. It doesn't help that I can't really start anything until after the kids have gone to bed, and by then, they've usually worn me out.

Usually I'm sitting (or lying) on the couch, though.

Once in a while I'm even on the floor, watching something on my laptop, which is also on the floor.

Recently I finally started watching movies on my cell phone, but so far I've only done that on long bus rides. I can't imagine being able to concentrate on my phone for that long here at home.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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At home, I watch from the couch or the bike. But I try not to watch any movies unless there are certain conditions:

1) Sound loud enough to drown out the neighborhood. If I can't pay attention to sound design, I don't feel I can give the film a fair review. Fortunately, my bike is quiet.

2) A very low risk of interruptions.

3) A picture big enough to have a good sense of cinematography and small details. That means either watching on our TV screen (which is big by my standards, but not by a lot of my friends' home-theater standards), or sitting very, very close to my laptop screen.

For what it's worth, I'm finding that all of the studies about people being more creative and observant while they are in motion is proving true for me. I get my best ideas for writing while I'm walking. And I find writing reviews comes much easier to me if I watched the movie from my bike; somehow, I notice more, make more connections, and get ideas for how to write about the film while I'm pedaling away.

And then, of course, having been on the bike for an hour or more, I sleep much more soundly. Which makes me more alert for the next day's movie. :)

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Do you take notes while you're biking?

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I rarely take notes while the movie is on. I keep them in my head and write them after, and sometimes while I revisit certain scenes to get quotes right. But mostly, I don't want to be writing while watching. I rarely take notes in theatres anymore, after finally realizing that, for all of my notebooks full of scribbled notes, I usually finish a review without consulting them.

You, on the other hand, are the notekeeping superman, if I recall correctly from glimpses of your notes for The Prince of Egypt.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Unless I'm at a film festival, 95% of my film and tv watching occurs in one of two ways:

While running on a treadmill. I have a corner of my basement staked out for this. It consists of a treadmill and an elliptical (both inherited), a 37-inch LED and a Blu-ray/Netflix-streaming player (both Christmas-time upgrades). I consider it all an investment in my long-term health. When I'm on the treadmill, I watch films and tv with a strong narrative pull. I watched every episode of The Wire, Deadwood, In Treatment, The West Wing, and Six Feet Under on the treadmill. It's how I watch most Hollywood films and documentaries. I also like to watch narrative-driven foreign films (subtitles are a must on the treadmill). For example, I just watched A Prophet and am looking forward to Carlos. I'm pretty sure I've never written about a film that I watched only while running.

In the morning, in a recliner, in front of a big screen and big speakers. Even before my daughter was born, I'd pretty much stopped watching films and tv at night. I don't have the patience for it. After a 10-hour work day behind a computer and in traffic, I can't stand sitting in front of a screen. But most Saturday and Sunday mornings, I fix a pot of coffee and watch a film first thing in the morning. I'm at my most alert and engaged then. I try to leave my iPhone and laptop upstairs. Since I'm not writing much any more these days, I've stopped taking notes, but I'd like to get back in the habit.

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I tend to watch movies in different ways, depending on my level of interest. If it's something I don't care about (Letters to Juliet) or a tv show I have no intention of discussing, I'll sit with my laptop and multitask. However, if there's a chance I'll be discussing it here or 'blogging about it, I try to have the laptop closed and position myself where I can focus on the movie. Some tv shows make the cut--shows I'm watching through on DVD (Ellery Queen, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and, soon, a re-watch through the last season of Doctor Who), but most of them are so forgettable that they're only useful as background noise; if something happens I'm interested in, I'll look up.

Depending on my work schedule, I generally wind up watching movies in the daytime, though I do occasionally pop one in late at night.

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Like Darren, I have certain rules and conditions.

The bagel should be toasted first. After toasted, one half gets butter, the other mayo. Firmly place turkey, balogna, roast beef and genoa salami on one half. If you have the energy, cut up a tomato and add, peppering the top. Lettuce and onion are good, but if you don't want to invest the time these can be left out as well. Cheese is a must, hopefully there will be at least three different kinds, but if not we can live with American and swiss. Packaged shredded cheese can work when on the fly. Pickles are a must. Never keep sweet pickles in the house so as to avoid confusion. At this point you are in for some heavy choice making. Either: pound the halves of the bagel together, stick in microwave and go hunt down potato chips, cottage cheese, milk and get the water ready to make hot for hot tea, OR -- search fridge for leftovers to put on top of sandwich to make it bigger. Leftover macoronni and cheese is a great idea on top, melts awesome. Mashed potatoes have worked from time to time. Fish products don't typically work in this setting. Never, under any circumstances should a fruit be used in said sandwich.

This can also be done with English muffins, but you've got to use two -- one is never enough. On rare occassions, you can just use whole wheat bread, but that is dumb. Always remember to toast any breade product first before applying all contents and nuking to infinity and beyond.

If the sandwich does not look like something in an old Blondie movie, do not put it in the microwave. Stack SOMETHING, ANYTHING higher.

At the time you hit pause you were already most likely ten or twenty minutes into the film. Now you can watch in American peace.

PS If it is after midnight, which it usually is, make sure to sit up and lay down at least three or four times before going to bed. The human body has many outlets and you do not any of the snack revisiting you in your sleep, from anywhere.

Edited by Persona

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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I can't believe how many people watch movies from a treadmill or stationary bike. What a group of multitaskings, fitness animals!

I watch movies at home the "old-fashioned" way - threading the projector, flashing the house lights on-and-off, taking my seat quietly, and let my eyes dance to the flickers of light.

In reality, I am a night watcher. I like it quiet and dark. And I position myself on the sofa with my back set neatly in the corner where the arm of the sofa meets the back rest. Then I set a nice comfortable pillow on my lap. It has a sort of comforting feeling. If I am just watching mindless mainstream entertainment then it is a different story.

...the kind of film criticism we do. We are talking about life, and more than that the possibility of abundant life." -M.Leary

"Dad, how does she move in mysterious ways?"" -- Jude (my 5-year-old, after listening to Mysterious Ways)

[once upon a time known here as asher]

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I can't. believe. I forgot. the. mustard.

That, is very, very important.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Overstreet wrote:

: I rarely take notes while the movie is on. I keep them in my head and write them after, and sometimes while I revisit certain scenes to get quotes right. But mostly, I don't want to be writing while watching.

Huh, interesting. In the Summer Hours thread, you said "I've seen it three times ... I take a *lot* of notes," so I had this fun image building in my mind of you trying to scrawl things down semi-legibly while your legs were pumping away. Ah well, it's still a fun image. :)

: You, on the other hand, are the notekeeping superman, if I recall correctly from glimpses of your notes for The Prince of Egypt.

That was back in my Day-Timer days; later, I began to keep notes on the back of used envelopes, which allowed me to use bigger handwriting if necessary. But I haven't taken notes while watching a movie in a long, long time now. If I'm watching a screener, I might type notes on my laptop while I'm watching, but that's pretty rare. And as far as handwritten notes go ... like I say, not for a while, now. Since I'm not really writing about films much these days, there's not much point.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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In the living room sitting in an armchair with my feet up on an ottoman that I share with my wife. If it's a screener, then I usually give it my full attentions (although some festival submissions make that a challenge). If a run of the mill netflix that's in English, I may be doing a crossword or reading the paper while I watch.

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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Overstreet wrote:

: I rarely take notes while the movie is on. I keep them in my head and write them after, and sometimes while I revisit certain scenes to get quotes right. But mostly, I don't want to be writing while watching.

Yeah, a lot's changed in the last year.

That's why I also said:

I rarely take notes in theatres anymore, after finally realizing that, for all of my notebooks full of scribbled notes, I usually finish a review without consulting them.

Part of the change has to do with writing for Image. I'm not so focused on documenting the movie as I am focused on interpreting it or writing a personal reflection on it. When I worked for CT, I filled notebooks.

In the case of Summer Hours, though, I was writing two substantial pieces on it. And I planned to do some reading on all of the works of art that were referenced in the film for one of those articles. So on that film, I had a lot of reason to be scribbling.

And, FWIW, we didn't have a bike back then.

Still, your image isn't far from the truth. I did a lot of editing "The Ale Boy's Feast" while I was on the bike, with a laptop on the shelf right in front of the grips. :)

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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I tend to watch movies in different ways, depending on my level of interest. If it's something I don't care about (Letters to Juliet) or a tv show I have no intention of discussing, I'll sit with my laptop and multitask. However, if there's a chance I'll be discussing it here or 'blogging about it, I try to have the laptop closed and position myself where I can focus on the movie. Some tv shows make the cut--shows I'm watching through on DVD (Ellery Queen, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and, soon, a re-watch through the last season of Doctor Who), but most of them are so forgettable that they're only useful as background noise; if something happens I'm interested in, I'll look up.

Depending on my work schedule, I generally wind up watching movies in the daytime, though I do occasionally pop one in late at night.

This basically fits me perfectly. We recently got a TV, so now I do most of my real viewing while sitting on the couch in the family/living room. When I'm multitasking, I usually connect my laptop to the monitor on my desk, and watch on the monitor while I do work on the laptop.

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I'm pretty standard old fashioned. Sitting on the coach, one dim light in the corner, volume turned up as loud as I can without waking the toddler.

Of course, I don't have to write professional articles on these movies, so I can just let my brain absorb and my heart engage.

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Overstreet wrote:

: Still, your image isn't far from the truth. I did a lot of editing "The Ale Boy's Feast" while I was on the bike, with a laptop on the shelf right in front of the grips. :)

Ah, but of course. I don't know why my image assumed you'd be taking notes by hand, when I myself use my laptop for note-taking at home.

I applaud you for being able to multi-task like that, though. I imagine I could do SOME things while riding an exercise bike, but not that. For editing, I need to pace back and forth with the print-outs in my hand, when I'm not lying down on the floor with them.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I watch films while sitting on the couch. If it's later in the evening and start to nod off, then I stand up and stretch.

Unless it's some lame Hollywood film, and I'm caught between wondering why I'm wasting my time, but still wondering know how it ends. Then I multitask on the computer.

When I'm working out on the elliptical machine at the gym at the office, I'm old fashioned. I don't watch movies, I read.

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