Films vs Movies

As a former film major and employee in the film industry, I now find it hard to rate films.

Whenever I see a movie in theaters, I tend to think more highly of it than if I’d just seen it on my TV at home – there are more distractions available, particularly if I’m bored, whereas at the theater I tend to get a bit more engrossed in the film. This means my ratings are generally a lot nicer than they would be if my first watching wasn’t in the dark with a giant screen and the smells of popcorn wafting through the air.

I also have a hard time rating films because sometimes, even if the film is rubbish and the plot is rushed and the story sucks, I absolutely love it. Usually, this is because of the characters – I’m a sucker for characters and character development, which is one of the reasons I love Harry Potter so much. Sometimes I just want to go to a movie and be entertained.

Other times, I have a hard time turning off the film student analytical skills, particularly if the film is boring. I spent three years learning all the ins and outs of how to make a film and how to analyze a film to figure out why the director chose that shot and that editing sequence and actor, so sometimes it can be hard to turn it off. Hence the dark theaters, but even then…

What I’m trying to say is, I don’t necessarily care how “film pretentious” it is anymore; I just want to watch a movie and be entertained. I don’t care if the film will win lots of awards, because half of those movies are so boring I can’t go through the entire thing without refreshing my Instagram feed a dozen times. I’m not saying Nebraska wasn’t a good film, I’m just saying I wouldn’t choose it to watch for fun.

This is how film school went for me most of the time as well. We watched Citizen Kane in more than one film class, and while I understand its prominence and artistic strengths as a film, I don’t really enjoy it as a movie. I’m not going to suggest to Boyfriend one Friday night, “Hey, let’s watch Citizen Kane!” For one, it’s rather boring (shocker!!!), and Boyfriend will undoubtedly fall asleep – he’s an action movie kind of guy, after all, and not a pretentious film watcher.

While I still enjoy “films” – I’m predictable when I say I love Wes Anderson – sometimes movies are all I’m looking for.

From now on, when I review a film, I’m going to include two ratings, that of the “pretentious film snob,” and that of the “fun entertainment,” using none other than cats.

Pretentious Film Snob Rating Cat
Pretentious Film Snob Rating Cat
Fun Entertainment Rating Cat
Fun Entertainment Rating Cat

3 thoughts on “Films vs Movies”

  1. I was once a film student back in the Jurassic Era, then a critic in radio and print, then worked in the biz for 20 years. Over time I learned to have a kind of dual attention. I could get lost in a film like a general viewer, while simultaneously deconstructing the tricks. But in my case it’s so much easier to get engrossed at home, where the seating’s more comfortable, the food is better, and nobody’s drowning out the subtleties of the sound mix by munching like cattle. I can pause the program to pee, scroll back if I miss a line, slow it down to appreciate an effect, speed past a draggy scene, and the speaker and screen placement are always perfect. No “eeediots” to offer their unsolicited opinions either!


    1. What did you do in the biz? I think I would enjoy watching movies more at home if my setup was nicer, but as I currently live in a tiny apartment with cheap furniture, the theater is the way to go for me. I dream of one day having a home library and home theater…


      1. I did a variety of jobs for short periods mostly. In order: Office Mgr at Talent Agebcy, Casting Asst., Stand-In, Actor, Stock Footage Librarian, Editorial Asst., Video Editor, Foley Walker, Foley Recordist-Editor, ADR Recordist, Music Editor, Sound Designer, Sound Restoration Specialist, Sound Mixer.

        I felt the same way you did back when my home setup was playing the VCR through my home stereo. Multi-channel speaker systems are surprisingly cheap compared to a few years ago. They start at a couple hundred dollars. I’m pretty snobby about it, and I only paid $1500.

        Good luck in your career. If you keep at it and make lateral moves as the opportunities present themselves, you’ll do fine.


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