I’m a bit of a closet sociologist. I’m perpetually intrigued by the way people function with one another- the language they use, the institutions they create, the way they govern themselves, their systems of morality and the like. Obviously, I’m also perpetually intrigued by movies. Combine the two seemingly disparate interests and you’ll find that I’d like to know a little bit more about the way we consume movies. That’s what my topic of discussion is for today. I’d like to know more about the way everyone watches movies.
Here are several questions. Feel free to answer as many or as few as you’d like. There’s no purpose here other than to satisfy my own curiosity (and hopefully some of yours as well). Just to show that you aren’t all guinea pigs in a maze, I’ll answer the questions for myself as I go along.
How many movies do you see in a typical month?
In my average month, I’ll watch somewhere between 30 and 35 movies. That’s a good working average.
How many movies do you see in a theater in a typical year?
This year has been a little bit different because I’m trying to see so many classic films on the big screen, along with the regular batch of new releases I’d want to see. In a normal year, I’d say that I make about 15 trips to the theater.
Which devices do you use to watch movies? Television, tablet, smart phone, computer?
The overwhelming majority of what I watch is on my TV (through the DVD player or DVR). I have watched a small handful of films on my phone while at the airport, and a few on the computer because they were so hard to find that I didn’t have any other choice. I’ll also watch a few movies per year on a VCR, again, simply because it’s the only format I can find them.
How are you watching your movies at home? Do you use a dvd-by-mail service, video on demand, library, cable service/DVR, or other?
Netflix and Facets account for probably 2/3 of the movies I see each month. Most of the rest are from my cable provider and DVR. Six times a year or so, I’ll rent video on demand.
Which genres are the movies you watch?
The bulk of what I watch falls into three categories- comedy, horror, and drama. Other genres will slip through, but some variation of those three make up the majority.
What days of the week, and what time of the day, do you watch movies?
I do most of my viewing on Saturday mornings and all day Sunday. I’ll also sprinkle in a film or two mid-week, at night, typically on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Do you watch movies with family, friends, or by yourself?
I watch by myself most of the time. It’s almost exclusively a personal experience and it’s sort of rude to turn the actual act of watching a movie into a social experience, depending on how social you want to make it. That said, on the occasions I find screener passes, I try to share as much as I can.
While at the theatre, what is your seating preference? Aisle seat, middle of the row, front/ middle/ back of the theatre?
I’m sort of neurotic about this. I try to get on the aisle, or 2nd closest to the aisle. And I aim for a seat towards the front. I’ve found the fourth row to be optimal and it’s what I always try to get, if at all possible. Any closer is too close. Further back and you’re likely to be looking at the back of someone’s head.
Do you visit the concession stand when you go to the theatre?
Again, this is my neuroses showing. I’ll usually grab a small popcorn and I always buy a medium Cherry Coke (or… Pepsi, if I have to). But there’s also a hard and fast rule that the majority of the popcorn (if not all of it) has to be eaten before the trailers are through. So if you ever go to a movie in St. Louis and you see some guy in the fourth row, furiously cramming popcorn in his face during the trailers… you’ll know that you have encountered John LaRue in his natural habitat.
When you go to the theatre, do you attend matinées, mid-afternoon shows, evening shows, or the latest show possible?
If at all possible, I try to see the first showing of the day. This means I’ve actually gone to movies at 9 in the morning in the past. Midnight shows are also great, but they’re a different animal all together. I wouldn’t do a midnight showing unless it was for a classic or cult film (no, not Rocky Horror, either).
Do you have any rules about watching movies at home? For instance, do you make it a point to use the bathroom beforehand? Do you make popcorn for yourself, or some other snack? Watch during dinner? Watch while you’re going to bed? Turn off your phone?
I really only have one rule. I won’t start a movie unless I’m almost certain I can finish it in one sitting. I won’t start a movie at bedtime, or even an hour away from bedtime. I won’t start a movie an hour before I have to go somewhere, and then pick it back up later. I have to watch it all at once, with some mild interruptions allowed (phone calls, bathroom breaks, etc…).
Is there anything else that you feel you should say about your movie-watching habits?
Personally, I have nothing more to add.