Along with all of the usual resolutions I declare at the start of each new year, for 2020 I decided I’m going to make some movie-specific goals as well.
Feel free to steal any of these and make them your own!
I will (continue to) speak up if someone’s ruining the experience
One of the best things about being a film critic is that we have special press screenings where we get to see everything at least a week before it comes out. In these screenings, most of the time I’m surrounded solely by other writing professionals, and so everyone behaves. Every once in a while, however — especially for high-budget releases — critics get the first few rows of a big theater, and then “normal people” (as I call all non-critics at a screening) fill the rest of the seats. Security members make a loud speech before the film about keeping phones off, and they use night-vision cameras to spot and kick out anyone who’s not obeying. Other times I get to watch in the comfort of my home, where we recently upgraded our setup with a new wall-mounted TV and surround sound. What I’m saying is, I’m usually really spoiled with my movie-viewing experience.
So when my family and I saw Frozen II in the theater with the general public last month, I was appalled that there was a group of teenagers sitting in the top row who were talking at a normal volume throughout the first 15 minutes or so of the film. They also were shining their phone’s flashlights all around the theater. I crossed my row, climbed up to the top where they were and said, “Everyone can hear you and you’re ruining this for the entire theater. If you don’t want to be here, just leave!” #GetOffMyLawn
I truly have zero patience for this kind of thing, and it’s even worse when someone is using a cell phone and lighting up the whole theater in my line of vision. Seriously, people, I promise you that you’ll survive for two hours without checking your phone. It’s so obnoxious, and I assure you there is no sneaky way you can hold your phone that people behind you still won’t see the light. TURN IT OFF!
In order to keep fighting the good fight for all who actually want to immerse themselves in a movie, in 2020 I will continue to speak up and ask people to turn off their phones in theaters whenever I have the chance.
I will go into each movie with an open mind
Part of being a film critic is seeing movies that you’re not too excited about. Maybe you don’t like a certain genre, or a certain actor or actress annoys you, or maybe you haven’t liked any of the director’s previous films. I’m guilty of pre-judgement — and a lot of times my fears about a movie are valid — but I’ve been proven wrong enough times to inspire this resolution. 2019 movies that pleasantly surprised me include Long Shot, Fighting with My Family and Crawl, among others.
I will watch more documentaries
In 2019 I totally failed on this front, and it makes me sad because three of the best films I saw in 2018 were documentaries: Three Identical Strangers, Won’t You Be My Neighbor and RBG. I will do better in the coming 12 months!
I will watch more foreign films
Three of my favorite movies of 2019 were foreign-language films: Parasite (my #1 movie of the year), The Farewell (top 5) and Pain and Glory. They reminded me that I need to pay more attention to this genre and some of the up-and-coming (and established) directors who are pushing boundaries.
I will fully immerse myself in each movie
While I never ever check my phone in a movie theater … I can’t say the same for when I’m viewing at home. In 2020, I’m going to try and do better. I intend to keep all screens and devices physically away from me whenever I watch a movie so that I can experience it fully, as it was intended! Escapism isn’t possible if your phone is constantly reminding you of reality…
Do you have any movie-specific resolutions for 2020? Let’s hear them!