How often have you rented a movie and put it into the DVD player and discovered that you’ve already seen the film?
How often have you gone into a video store or logged onto Netflix and completely blanked on the movie you had in mind to rent?
Have you ever really enjoyed a movie and told yourself that you would like to watch more movies by the same director or starring the same actress and forgotten about it the next day?
If your answer is “more than once” for any of these questions, it’s time to make a new year’s resolution. It’s time to start saying no to these questions (and it’ll be easy to do).
Start Taking Notes
This year dedicate yourself to writing a few lists. You don’t have to become a film critic or anything like that, but one great way to avoid re-watching forgettable movies is to write down the titles of films you have seen.
If you use Netflix this list is kept for you and all you have to do is click to look at your rental history.
Serious movie watchers will be well-served by the practice of logging titles and names of directors and principal actors. You can buy film journals that have specific fields for each basic film element plus room to note down memorable quotes or interesting ideas.
All you have to do is fill in the blanks.
There are many alternatives to a pre-made film journal if you want to start taking notes. You can text yourself, send yourself an email, or keep a file on your computer with the same kind of list. You can even make yourself your own film journal template.
Make a To-See List
Writing down the information and ideas from films that you watch will make you a better movie viewer. If you make this your new year’s resolution and try it, you’ll see that you will be more attentive to the decisions made by individual actors and directors and cinematographers. Your movie watching experience will be richer. This is true even if you already watch attentively.
Another way to grow as a movie watcher is to make a list of movies that you’d like to see.
It’s not easy to remember all the recommendations that people make to you. Titles fly around groups of friends like hacky-sacks at a Grateful Dead show.
There are so many films out there to choose from, especially if you subscribe to Netflix or use RedBox…it is a real challenge to sort the good from the bad and to find new directions for yourself.
Another new year’s resolution: Make a list of recommendations from friends whose taste you trust and a list of films that you have seen mentioned online or in the newspaper. By keeping the list you’ve already begun the sorting process and your chances of finding good new movies will be better than if you select movies only from memory or from your Netflix recommendations.
Become an Expert
For movie watchers who have seen all the new movies and all the old movies too, it’s time to become an expert.
As another new year’s resolution, challenge yourself this year to exploring one director’s work – even if you have seen all his or her movies before. Watch all of that director’s films in this calendar year.
Or pick an actor or actress and do the same thing.
The experience of being an expert or having a great depth of knowledge of any area (no matter how trivial), changes your relationship to all fields of knowledge.
At the very least, you’ll have a project to work on and you’ll have something to talk about at parties.
More at Associated Content:
What Is a Film Auteur?
Fantasy vs. Sci-Fi
The Diversity of Woody Allen