The existential force of a movie lover’s mind

existential crisis

Every now and then I get the “Why do you watch so many movies?” or “Why do you go to the cinema all the time?” or any other version of the same question, and my entire existence is put under a microscope while its purpose is being investigated. I never fail to answer these questions but I usually go for the simplest of answers “I love movies” to justify this huge part of my life, so I figured it was about time to go deeper into the mind of a movie lover and explain the force that keeps me going.

In many of these occasions where I get the question of “Why”, part of me wants to punch those people in the face and I mean this in the nicest way possible. The thing is, watching movies is my hobby, it’s an activity that I do outside my regular employment/student-related-things and I get all-kinds of pleasure out of it!, but so many people don’t seem to get it. Playing basketball – hobby, knitting – hobby, horseback riding – hobby, writing poetry – hobby, dancing – hobby, watching movies – waste of time… Now, I’m not saying this is a wide spread opinion, I’m not even saying this is something I encounter a lot, this is just a summary of these few extreme cases I’ve come across over the years. Some are strangers, some friends, some have been simply random people I haven’t even bothered remembering but all of these incidents together have helped me to develop an understanding of movie people.

Though my never ending love affair with movies was initiated by my parents, I can’t help to wonder whether it was an accidental process of creating an actual movie monster. Both my parents, especially my mother, watch movies for their entertainment factor while being pretty much unaware of everything else happening behind the camera,ย  I turned out completely different. Somewhere in the middle of all these family movie nights I discovered I wanted to know more, I wanted to be more aware and I wanted to view movies differently than my parents who I call regular movie watchers. Hereby, I’m making the assumption that we should be separated as different people based on our level of movie passion. Regular movie watchers are all around us, they are the people who will sit behind the TV and watch a movie without ever knowing who David Fincher is or what his filmography looks like.ย  These regular movie watchers have extreme cases of being complete idiots as well because they are those annoying people talking and playing with their phones in the cinema, who probably came simply for the popcorn.

To understand my predicament with this matter of separating movie people from regular people, one has to understand that I have spent most of my teenage years debating this with my mother. Though she isn’t necessarily the person who judges my choice of hobby, she certainly is the person closest to me who sometimes fails to understand my passion. I recall her going to the cinema twice in my life, both times with me and my father, to watch Titanic and an Estonian war movie which broke our national box office record – therefore explaining my inner need to watch movies or sharing my enjoyment of sitting in the cinema has sometimes become a topic of discussion. The difficulty probably lies in the fact that she is not able to read my blog, she probably hasn’t even visited it since I showed it to her years ago and when one’s hobby doesn’t seem to have a practical outcome, people tend to dismiss it as something less important. Then again, my mother and many of these regular people don’t know the extent of the movie blogger community that I have witnessed over the years and within that closed-minded perception of movie people they fail to understand us.

This is probably going to be a waste of wise words, or simply words, but I wanted to explain myself today to those regular people. They will most likely never read this post but they are a nice excuse to justify my action of sticking it to my own little bug growing inside of me that sometimes likes to question my life choices. Like I said in the beginning, for me, the simplest of answers to the questions of “Why?” is to state my love for the cinema but the longer version of that short story is much more complicated. When I watch a great movie, no, a movie so exquisite that I can’t stop staring at each frame, there’s this unexplainable feeling growing inside of me. The best way to express this feeling is almost wanting to pause the movie to think about it and replay it in your head, to revel in that scene once more or even better, to experience the entire movie in your head again and again. It’s like your favorite football team scoring a goal, the rush of excitement and for movie people it’s the same kind of thrill while witnessing a scene where every element comes together and makes cinematic magic.

Now comes the simple part, the reason I watch so many movies is because I’m chasing that thrill, which isn’t what I always get but somehow even the process of looking for it makes me happy. There’s even moments in bad movies that make me happy because whilst the big element combo that makes particularly great magic doesn’t come together, usually at least something hits the mark. The enjoyment that follows watching movies is continued in the act of writing about them, tearing them apart in a good way or ripping them apart in the bad way – all of that is just a cherry on top of a pile of pancakes and I love pancakes! Clearly I’ve developed a knack for metaphors in this post but I hope you all get the point because whilst I find my love for movies to be an essential part of my everyday life, explaining it is a lot more complicated than I was expecting. But now you might be wondering why did I get the need to explain myself in the first place?

Briefly mentioning my self-doubt earlier was actually the foundation of this post because I’ve been doubting myself lately and it’s nothing to do with regular people but more to do with the fact that I sometimes fail to live up to my movie person persona. It’s hard to find a place for yourself in this world filled with movie people, while so many are far more talented than I am and in the midst of finishing my thesis and trying to figure out my future, I’ve been feeling uncertain about so many things. Saying that,ย  despite my uncertainties, I’m still a thrill seeker when it comes to movies and I won’t stop, even if I fail miserably at life itself because that’s how much I fucking love movies. And that force, that passion for movies that comes from looking for that magic cinematic moment in order to have that indescribable feeling, keeps me doing what I love to do: watching and writing about movies.

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Let me know in the comments how do you explain your passion for movies and share your thoughts on movie people vs. regular people.

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28 thoughts on “The existential force of a movie lover’s mind”

  1. I’ve always loved movies from the outside always knowing who acted and directed but never really knowing anything too in depth about them. Then I shared a flat with two film students and it opened my mind to more of the filming techniques and symbolism in movies. So I was a movie lover who fell more in love with movies later!

  2. Wow, what a heartfelt post. It’s funny, “regular” movie watchers who know about my blog won’t read it but will constantly ask my opinion on movies. If I agree with what they think about a given picture they take it as confirmation of how good their own judgement is. If I disagree then I’m a movie snob, especially if it’s something they like. I’m actually married to one of these people. Wife loves to ask questions about what’s going to happen. My standard answer is “watch he movie.” If we’re watching at home she adds an extra layer of “regularness” when the smartphone comes out. Ugh! Love her a bunch but that’s a point of contention for us.

    1. I have friends who ask me about movies and I’m like.. read my blog.. But I do have friends who sometimes tell me they found a great movie from my blog.. which is a different kind of award I guess.

  3. I love these insights into your movie-crazed mind! I’m not a traditional film lover, I was first a lover of the cinema experience and writing both, and only after starting my blog I truly fell in love with movies. You’re so close to finishing uni (as far as I understand this grown-up stuff :D), just stick with it and you’ll be ready in no time. Movies and us, the readers, we know how passionate you are, we won’t be going anywhere.

  4. I think having doubts in the world of movie watchers is natural; I’ve been catching up with a podcast that interviews mostly film critics, and they frequently discuss directors that I barely know. There’s always going to be someone who knows more or has more talent, but it gives us something to strive for with the blogs.

    1. For instance, my knowledge of European cinema is minimal.. hardly know my own country’s directors but that being said, when I go to the cinema to watch a movie, I usually know the director, actors and etc. beforehand.. so it counts, in my world. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I have a bunch of “regular” people who read my blog for movie recommendations although most of them think I am way too mean. I know I am hardly a force to be reckoned with in the movie people world. I have no idea what I’m talking about… I’m just a girl who loves movies and shooting my mouth off but I do like being part of the community. I don’t think you need to have vast knowledge, just a desire to participate.

    1. I think some general knowledge is still needed, like, at least some back information. For instance, Nolan’s minimal use of CGI makes his big scenes so much more awesome because you know it’s actually built and designed and so on.. I don’t know, it for me adds value so knowing about it, makes me appreciate some movies more.

  6. Great post, I often struggle with similar existential crises relating to my blog as well. Especially when actual life gets busy and then it’s hard to switch back to hardcore critical movie watching and reviewing.
    The hardest part is definitely not having a super high knowledge of films. Obviously it’s what we all work towards, but anytime you haven’t seen a movie that “regular person” thinks is really great, they assume you’ve seen everything when that isn’t actually the case! They’ll forgive you for not knowing the finer points of technique because they’re not super confident about them either, but when you haven’t seen their favorite movies they really come down hard on you. That’s what happens a lot to me anyway.

    1. Sometimes people ask me if I’ve seen that underrated movie.. I just stare blank at them and ask if they have seen this or this (some go to movies people usually haven’t watched) and that’s it. But yes, there are the movie people who watch very specific genres and I can’t relate to them at all.. interesting.

  7. This pretty much sums up my life. Wonderful, honest and insightful post! Movie People are a different group altogether, and I’m so happy to be a part of it. I love the expression on my friend’s faces, hell, even my wife’s face, when I start rambling on about some filmmaker’s filmography of a cinematographer or, better yet, a composer and they are all like…yeah, that music was nice…and I can see that they just don’t think like I do ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. Awesome post Mettel. I’m glad to be in the camp of Movie People, I feel like I think in terms of movies. My late dad was in the film biz before I was born and my mom was a huge film fan as well so I guess film is in my blood! Since having a blog I have come to love FILM even more ๐Ÿ˜€

  9. Lovely write up! I always tell people my favorite hobby is watching movies as well. I just love going to the cinema. I can’t help it. I did jokingly tell my niece the other day that watching movies was my hidden talent because I’m so good at it. lol

  10. It’s gotten to the point where I’m surprised when someone thinks it’s cool that I have a film blog! But I do understand why being passionate about movies is such a weird thing for “regular people” – I myself need to be reminded of why it’s worth it, from time to time.

    I think to me it comes down to some films being as beautiful as an illuminism painting, and saying as much about life as a good novel (coooorny, but true!). *Some films*. Others are just entertaining.

    So I can see why someone who doesn’t read that much into a movie can’t get why others do. It’s like paintings – some just stare, others dive in. Both ways are fine, but one is missing out!

    1. Sometimes, like currently, it’s not worth it for me because I use it as an excuse to not write my thesis so.. it does have its bad sides but then, it’s the best thing I have done with my life. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Indeed, some more artsy indie films are disliked because people are focused on getting the entertainment stuff but for movie people, the entertaining part might be the visuals and soundtrack etc.. it’s weird like that.

  11. Sometimes, I don’t actually want to tell people that films are such an important part of my life and how much time I spend watching them and writing about them. Although you’re right, a hobby is more commonly “accepted” when you have an outcome like a blog. I’m always happy when random people tell me they read my blog and watched a movie I recommended.
    There are quite a few bloggers out there who want to become directors or film writers and I often feel that it’s more “legit” for them to spend so much time with movies than it is for ‘us’ (me), who don’t necessarily have a goal of working in the film industry. But I have to remind myself that this is bullshit, I mean film criticism is a necessary thing… and so is semi-film criticism, which I guess is what I and many bloggers I know are doing; criticising film in a more personal, emotional. way.
    Wonderful post, Mettel, I was waiting for this ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Great post and an interesting way to divide people who watch movies. It does explain why some people talk and look at their phones while other battle that with passion. I do think about the fact why I watch so many movies as well and that thrill you are talking about is one of them, another one is just to lose yourself in another world and forget everything around you.

  13. This article was brilliant. Yes there are some movies where I want to watch a certain scene again to witness that type of magic again. My Parents for the most like what I recommend for them as long as its not a foreign film.

    1. They usually like what I recommend as well but it’s because I’m well aware of the type of movie they like. Thanks for the shout out on Twitter as well, much appreciated! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I’m an obsessed cinemaholic since my childhood. I LOVE, I really LOVE movies. Movies are my passion forever and ever.
    Cinema is always my drug. I fall madly, passionately, intensely, furiously, obsessively and crazy in love with movies. Movies are my religion and life. Watching movies is my all-time and only favorite hobby. Movies made my life better. They help me to fight my sadness, depression, anger, etc. I love watching movie trailers and clips just for entertain me. Every time I watch movies, I always have a “moviegasm”. It means that I laugh, cry, gasp, etc. For me, movies are a source of entertainment, a time passing element. Movies are a picture window onto a world that never existed. Movies allow me to escape from reality. Cinema is my positive addiction, a medicine to soothe my existential quandaries.

    1. That is amazing! Never let that feeling go and keep a hold of that with all your ten fingers!

      PS: I thank you for commenting on a post from a past, I barely remembered I had written such a post! Thanks for reminding me. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Oh, I forgot to tell that movies are the most approachable of all the mass arts and most emotionally engaging.

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