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M. Leary

How Many Films Do You Watch Per Year?

How Many Films Per Year?  

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Just read an article on theology and film that began with the author's claim of authority as being that he has watched 600+ films since 2009. This seemed very low to me, as I have always just assumed that the average cinephile annual count was somewhere around 300 per annum. I keep track on spreadsheets going back to 2000, and can see I averaged 300-400 per year over the first five years of getting into cinema. It has tapered off, so that I now hit around 150-200 (excluding TV series - and I have watched a lot in the past three years).

 

But I am curious as to your viewing habits. How much do you watch now?

Edited by M. Leary

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Between 200-300. I used to watch over 300, and then it tapered off when I had kids.

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My film journals are broken down into groups of 10, so a quick count of those groups indicates that I saw 262 "films" in 2014, the most recent completed year. But that includes the occasional TV show (i.e. Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey, 12 episodes split into 6 viewing experiences; Orange Is the New Black, 13 episodes split into 7 viewing experiences; and House of Cards, 13 episodes split into 7 viewing experiences).

 

The oldest film journal on my blog dates to 2003 -- that was the year I met my wife, and three years before we had kids, and four years before we left downtown Vancouver (where all the theatres were within half an hour's walking distance from our home) -- and a quick count of the groups-of-ten *there* indicates that I saw 403 films that year.

 

In both years, this is if we count *both* theatrical experiences *and* films I saw on video. I used to tally those things separately, back in the '90s.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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I've never watched nearly as many films as others here have/do, despite expressions of surprise/astonishment by friends and family that I watch as many films as I do. I got so depressed about my relative low number of films seen that, several years ago, that I stopped journaling or otherwise keeping track of my annual film viewing.

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Watching more TV series has seriously cut into film time over the past two years. This has been a bit of an experiment for me - to see if TV diet is the same as a cinema diet. It isn't. Not by a long shot.

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Between 100-150 per year the past few years, This year will be much less due to grad school.

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I watched around 170 films in 2014, which was down from around 200 films in 2013.

I expect my numbers to drop dramatically this year as I have intentionally backed away from film and television to focus on different media (literature and opera).

In general, I do not think the time investment demanded by television is worth it.

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Since 2007, I've hit about 170 every year, except the years my kids were born. Those years, it was about 110.

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I topped 200 in 2014, but that's made up of about 160 features and 70 or 80 experimental shorts.

 

In general, I do not think the time investment demanded by television is worth it.

 

Agreed. Not when there's at least one other great film to watch for the first time.

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In general, I do not think the time investment demanded by television is worth it.

 

Agreed. Not when there's at least one other great film to watch for the first time.

 

Very much agree. There are three factors here:

 

1. In terms of sheer time, TV accomplishes in a narrative sense what really good cinema accomplishes in a fraction of the time. TV has a vested interest in elongating our sense of narrative time, which is usually not the right storytelling choice.

2. TV language is not cinema language. There are some cases in which TV language has come really close to cinema language in recent years, but it still remains a dialect. I have watched a lot of TV over the past few years in an effort to be tuned in for the "golden age." Despite this immersion, I remain hungry for the language of cinema. It is music to my ears when I hear it.

3. TV has a different history than cinema history. The latter is a far more interesting story.

 

So if able to choose between watching three cinema classics and one series of a TV show - always pick the films.

 

Totally off-topic, but just wanted to share.

Edited by M. Leary

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I want to watch more, but the pace always seems to average out to about 10 a month.  A majority in theatres.  And a majority of those in the past few years are older films, thanks to the availability of theatres such as the New Beverly Cinema, LACMA, and the two American Cinematheque theatres.  My average for current year releases may amount to about 20% of what I watch.

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I average about 300-350 per year now. About 60-70 of those are new releases. I figured that having a baby at home might see a steep decline in my viewing regimen, but that hasn't happened yet. Perhaps it's that once you've finally put the baby to bed, you feel too damn lazy to do anything else but watch Netflix. Now, going out to movies is a different story. That takes coordination, determination, and, with wife and wee bairn at home, negotiation. Common conversations go something like this: 

 

Me: Honey, I'd really like to see A City of Sadness at the Aero this Saturday. Will you and the boy be okay? 

Wife: That's fine. But this is the last one for a while, right? 

Me: Well, yes. Sort of. There's the Wellman retrospective coming up, but some of those are on DVD. 

Wife: And how many of those will you be going to? 

Me: I think three. 

Wife: Try again. 

Me: Two?

Wife: (Silence)

Me: Okay, two, but after that, the next few weekends belong to us. I'm canceling The Puppetmaster. That's how much I love you!

Edited by Nathaniel

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Me: Honey, I'd really like to see A City of Sadness at the Aero this Saturday. Will you and the boy be okay? 

Wife: That's fine. But this is the last one for a while, right? 

Me: Well, yes. Sort of. There's the Wellman retrospective coming up, but some of those are on DVD. 

Wife: And how many of those will you be going to? 

Me: I think three. 

Wife: Try again. 

Me: Two?

Wife: (Silence)

Me: Okay, two, but after that, the next few weekends belong to us. I'm canceling The Puppetmaster. That's how much I love you!

 

I always feel strangely alienated whenever A&Fers start talking about the interweaving of marriage and cinephilia...like the guy who won the lottery or got an inheritance listening to friends with money problems. Cindy spends a lot of time painting and working on her career; I think she is glad that there are screenings for me to go to so that I'm not pestering her away from her projects. The only source of contention is that she refuses to watch any digital screeners ever since the poor buffering on Chromecast ruined Amour Fou for her. She went to Tomorrowland with me because she was free that night (and enjoyed it), but waited for me to report back on Fury Road--and went with friends. 

 

Edit: [insert the "yeah but you don't have kids" rejoinder here.]

Edit: [insert the "I care too much about my family to waste the precious time I have with them watching movies" rejoinder here.]

Oh, and 2013=234; 2014=364

Edited by kenmorefield

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In 2014, I managed 248 entries in my viewing journal, roughly a quarter of them TV episodes. In 2013, I had 230, with the proportion of TV being slightly higher. This year, for various reasons, my film-watching has been reduced and I only have 45 so far.

 

I'm insecure about the number of films I've seen and I'm always trying to increase them, but it's always hard to find the time. If I ever get married and/or have kids, I fully expect the number to drop to near zero. I have no idea how some of you guys do it.

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Me: Honey, I'd really like to see A City of Sadness at the Aero this Saturday. Will you and the boy be okay? 

Wife: That's fine. But this is the last one for a while, right? 

Me: Well, yes. Sort of. There's the Wellman retrospective coming up, but some of those are on DVD. 

Wife: And how many of those will you be going to? 

Me: I think three. 

Wife: Try again. 

Me: Two?

Wife: (Silence)

Me: Okay, two, but after that, the next few weekends belong to us. I'm canceling The Puppetmaster. That's how much I love you!

 

I always feel strangely alienated whenever A&Fers start talking about the interweaving of marriage and cinephilia...like the guy who won the lottery or got an inheritance listening to friends with money problems. Cindy spends a lot of time painting and working on her career; I think she is glad that there are screenings for me to go to so that I'm not pestering her away from her projects. The only source of contention is that she refuses to watch any digital screeners ever since the poor buffering on Chromecast ruined Amour Fou for her. She went to Tomorrowland with me because she was free that night (and enjoyed it), but waited for me to report back on Fury Road--and went with friends. 

 

Edit: [insert the "yeah but you don't have kids" rejoinder here.]

Edit: [insert the "I care too much about my family to waste the precious time I have with them watching movies" rejoinder here.]

 

Ken, I feel like you want us to feel bad for you, but I absolutely don't. ;)

 

I'm insecure about the number of films I've seen and I'm always trying to increase them, but it's always hard to find the time. If I ever get married and/or have kids, I fully expect the number to drop to near zero. I have no idea how some of you guys do it.

When people ask me how I watch so many films alongside pastoral ministry, a marriage, and three children, I have to tell them, "I dunno. But it's a discipline." I also *don't* do a lot of other things, like watch TV shows or sports, play video games, eat food, etc.

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I'm insecure about the number of films I've seen and I'm always trying to increase them, but it's always hard to find the time. If I ever get married and/or have kids, I fully expect the number to drop to near zero. I have no idea how some of you guys do it.

At the same time, I'm insecure about sharing the number of films I watch, because I fear it bespeaks a severe level of OCD. Last year I did break 400, but quite a few of those were shorts, and I've cut back quite a bit this year. At the same time I watch pretty much no TV, I don't play any video games (don't even have any video games).

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No need for insecurity, Evan. I think that what's going unsaid here is that quantity isn't as important as quality, or, related, that watching films is one thing but giving yourself the space to think about them is another. If not intentionally thinking about them, then at least giving yourself the opportunity to reflect on what you've seen in some way other than watching another movie that reminds you of the first movie is useful.

 

Others are better at this than I am. 

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No need for insecurity, Evan. I think that what's going unsaid here is that quantity isn't as important as quality, or, related, that watching films is one thing but giving yourself the space to think about them is another. If not intentionally thinking about them, then at least giving yourself the opportunity to reflect on what you've seen in some way other than watching another movie that reminds you of the first movie is useful.

I couldn't agree more, Christian.

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I don't watch TV either, or sports (excepts for the occasional college football game), or play video games, or surf the Internet too much (at home, at least). The few hours I spend watching movies are really the only "unproductive" hours of my life, and even then I make every effort to learn from what I'm watching. It's taken five years -- since the birth of my first daughter -- to find this balance, and I'm genuinely grateful for it.

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Ken, you forgot the "well, it must be nice to have tenure and an academic work schedule" rejoinder. wink.png

As yet untenured...though applying in the fall. Theoretically the biggest difference might not be in the number of films I watch, but perhaps I can be more selective in which I write about. 

 

And, truthfully these days, the sheer financial investments involved in going to the movies make me wonder how anyone does it who doesn't get a lot of screeners/screenings.

No need for insecurity, Evan. I think that what's going unsaid here is that quantity isn't as important as quality, or, related, that watching films is one thing but giving yourself the space to think about them is another.

Bingo.

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My journals go back to 2003, and I've averaged about 190 per year in that time, from a high of 260 in the last year before we had kids, to lows of 133 & 134 in the year I wrote my dissertation and last year, when we made a major move to a new city.

 

I can see staying steadily in the 150-200 range, as I suspect adding more films than that would cut into my thinking/writing time, which I already feel is limited.

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I think my peak was about 350 (included 3 festivals, plus screening films for one of the festivals). I think it was too many. Around 275-300 I think is normal for me. But in truth, I think I may be burning out a bit.

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Cindy spends a lot of time painting and working on her career; I think she is glad that there are screenings for me to go to so that I'm not pestering her away from her projects.

 

A bit off topic, but this sentence reminded me of the first 30 seconds or so of this scene from No Country for Old Men...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXNfxK5Q2Qg

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