Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What I Learned About Myself

I just looked through New York Magazine's Fall Previews and found out something about myself I hadn't really thought about. It listed the books, television shows, plays, movies, music, dance, etc. that we could expect in the next three months.

It occurred to me that if I died, I'd never get to see some of the upcoming movies they listed. Movies that looked pretty darn great. With that thought, I realized that as much as I love other mediums, my favorite is the movies. There is nothing like a movie to take me far away. Oh, maybe there are only a dozen great ones in a year. If that.

But when the lights go down, I always expect a transporting experience. The visual element, the sound of voices, the look of a vista or room is what I crave. I bet no one else agrees with this but the best movies I have seen in my lifetime trump the best books because I can visualize them still. I can remember the look on a face, the sound of a train passing, the words from a raspy or sinuous voice, the music of the score. There is no feeling for me better than the lights going down in a theater.

Anyone out there agree. Why not?

19 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

205Patti - What you're saying is such a good example of the fact that we all experience things and remember things differently. Some people just remember words better; some remember visual impressions better and some remember sounds. It's really fascinating to me actually.

Olivia V. Ambrogio said...

I do recognize that feeling, Patti--one I love when the lights dim to start even a mediocre movie--but for me books will always have precedence. I love movies, but I can live without them. I'm not sure that's the case with books (and if I was left in a place devoid of them, I'd have to write them). They have always felt more intimate to me, better able to convey thoughts as well as images, and so they have become more deeply incorporated. I think favorite lines and scenes from novels run through my veins, and certain verses pulse to the surface when my blood surges.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I wonder if your Dad would be with me on this, Olivia. I will ask him.
And that is true, Margot, we do experience things differently. Different senses engage.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Patti, the sound and visual experience of watching a movie in a cinema hall is, indeed, exhilirating even if it lasts for less than two hours. I compare going to the theatre to going on a vacation with the family—a pleasure trip. The end of the movie or the return journey is what sucks on both counts. In recent memory, I enjoyed the Harry Potter books and movies equally. The films left you wanting more but at least you had 600-odd pages to go back to and relive the fun (I saw some of the films while I was halfway through the books).

F.T. Bradley said...

I love movies too--I'm a visual person, so even when I write, I 'see' the scene before I put pen to paper. I'm often frustrated by my limitations as a writer.

I wonder if part of this movie love stems from a movie's ability to tell a story in one sitting. Novels can't, and short stories don't immerse you in story enough, perhaps.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, that's an interesting idea, Fleur. And I think you are on to something. You are flooded with the story (and the light and sound) and it sweeps you away.

Chris said...

Plus movies allow you to stuff your face with popcorn with both hands; books don't allow that.

I love movies too, Patti. One of my favorite things to spend time on when I need to just unplug from the world for a while.

Anonymous said...

I only wish I felt that way. Years ago we went to the movies all the time. In the 80's I would watch almost anything (and I mean anything) although I preferred black & white movies from the 30's and 40's. But in the last ten or so years the movie going experience has changed to where it is no longer the same. You know all the usual suspects.

I still get the old feeling at the theater, however, at least most of the time, and often at a concert.

Sad, but there it is.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I basically go to art house movie theaters so we don't get the problems that multi-plex experience. Also, if I do go to multi-plex, I try to go during the day whenever I can.
And the constant reminders to turn off phones and stop talking seems to be working.

George said...

I love movies, but I love books more. I can lose myself in a good book. With a movie, I'm always cognizant of people moving around, texting, crying babies, etc.

Joe Barone said...

For me, books do the same thing. I've always thought there is probably something physical that happens in my brain when I am reading or writing words, something good. Aren't differences a blessing?

Walker Martin said...

Though I love movies especially film noir and westerns, for the most part films simply do not compare to the satisfaction I get from a good book. Often I've read a book and then watched the film adaptation and almost always, I like the book more than the movie version.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have to wonder if I crave the passivity a movie is more like to offer. Reading is no doubt harder because you have to do for yourself what a movie does for you.

Chris said...

I don't know that I love movies more than books; can they both be my favorite? I like them because they are more immediate, they are an event that can be shared moment to moment with someone, etc. That is something I don't get from books, much as I love them.

For me, it's similar in the creative process. Writing is satisfying, but it's a longer process to payoff. Songwriting, however, is immediate. I can literally write a song and be playing it with the band in a matter of hours, maybe even playing it in front of an audience. The sharing of it becomes much more immediate. Sometimes that is preferable.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I like the idea of immediately shared with someone with you because I find it very frustrating when Phil isn't there. We will never be able to discuss the merits of THE AVENGERS for instance, which he skipped. And one movie he didn't see has haunted me for over fifteen years--HOOP DREAMS, which I have to put down as one of my all-time favorite movies.

Anonymous said...

HOOP DREAMS was indeed a classic. For the most part I don't mind watching movies on television (I know that's heresy to some) in part because of the distractions George mentioned.

Also, when we were kids we had several movie theaters within walking distance, two at least within a mile of our house. That is no longer the case. There is only one small, crappy multiplex in this neighborhood and we haven't seen a movie there since THE BOURNE SUPREMACY in 2004. We prefer the smaller, artier theater where we used to live (always a matinee showing) that shows movies we actually want to see (this year, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom, To Rome With Love, The Intouchables, Ruby Sparks) but this entails a 20-30 minute drive, finding parking, etc. Otherwise we have to take a bus and train into Manhattan, and there you're more likely to have the problems George alluded to.

A book you can read anywhere.


Jeff M.

Todd Mason said...

It's interesting to me how much the apparatus of the cinematic theater plays into what you describe, Patti...a portion of why you haven't had as much engagement with television (the discussion here immediately reminded me of an episode of UNDER SUSPICION, which took a RASHOMON approach to the accounts of a police raid on a house, and the music playing loudly from inside the house sounded starkly different in the flashbacks/memory of each police officer involved in the raid, a detail neatly and complete thrown away in the episode). I definitely enjoy the mutuality of the theater/film/radio/television experience as well, though radio also triggers a little of the same need to do the same sort of imaginative work as reading does.

I love a/v just a bit less than reading, but I love a/v.

Richard R. said...

I am rarely in the mood to see a movie, and never in the theater. I'll take a book any day! And do.

Erik Donald France said...

Agreed. It's exciting to see good or great movies among similarly interested people -- part of the fabric of civil soceity.