I’m Sorry, I Can’t See Movies With You Anymore

Last night, I got dumped.

Not like that.

I went to see The Woman In Black with a girl I work with after we finished for the evening. It was all going well – we lined up for popcorn before deciding against it at the last minute, got in for the last trailer to get settled and the seats we had were pretty good. The movie started and we were thrown in.

All around me in the cinema, people were jumping, shrieking, laughing nervously. I must admit I did jump once or twice – it was sufficiently creepy and frightening in the second act. I thought the acting in the beginning from Dan Rad could’ve been stronger and I think the writing toward the end could’ve been a lot tighter to give the film it’s final punch (I know it’s based on a stage play and I haven’t seen it so I’m not sure if it’s the same ending, but films and plays are slightly different beasts). But none of that bothered the people in the cinema around me.

I did leave feeling slightly dissatisfied, the ending wasn’t quite as strong as I thought it could’ve been. And when my friend asked me what I thought of the film, I shrugged and said ‘I didn’t really understand why she was doing it.’ My friend looked at me and then proceeded to try and justify the wonky motive of the Woman in Black, with me then pointing out plotholes and flaws in her argument. I then made a comment on how Dan Rad needed to have a moment with his onscreen son at the beginning to really cement the relationship for the audience and she pointed out (rightfully) that in Victorian times, it would’ve been very stoic like that. I agreed, but as the character hadn’t been completely stoic in the scenes beforehand with his son, the consistency of character wasn’t quite there.

She fell silent and I knew that we’d probably never go to the cinema together again. The silence between us was suddenly filled with the words I knew she wanted to say:

‘I’m sorry, I can’t see movies with you anymore.’

It’s a symptom of working in filmmaking. For me, it’s an instinct now. My sister hates it too, she begs me not to ruin things after we see them so that my critiques after we watch something get whittled down to ‘Hated it’, ‘That was okay’ or ‘<insert quotable line from film here because it’s AWESOME>’. I think I’m especially bad at the moment because I’ve been actively watching films and reading scripts for research for the past three weeks. I’m used to breaking things down into first, second and third acts, analysing the story beats, the second act turning points and if they place enough at stake, why I’m reacting the way I’m reacting (or why I’m not), the moments I like, how that moment could’ve been stronger…

I love doing it. I really enjoy figuring out what works and what doesn’t. The thing is that when I do it out loud, people don’t tend to enjoy it as much as I do. The only way to fix this is to either never see movies with anyone ever again or find someone who doesn’t mind me groaning at bad dialogue, protesting weak plot points or grinning like a maniac at a well executed story beat.

Anyone else have this problem?

More importantly, anyone want to go and see Red Dog with me next week?

6 thoughts on “I’m Sorry, I Can’t See Movies With You Anymore

  1. ARainbow says:

    Hello from Off the Face of the Earth,

    I have the same issue, only with humanity instead of movies. Due to studying and being passionate about psychology and criminology, I’m very desensitised to emotional events or figures (eg. The Holocaust and Hitler). I tend to dive into analysing the mind of the ‘criminal’ far too quickly. Apparently everyone likes touching on the delicate feelings and confirming how human behaviour can apparently be shocking, but I am mostly apathetic in that regard…

    For whatever record: I’ve seen Red Dog and I don’t think it’s amazing, despite the raving reviews and fanbase. The character development was acceptable enough, and I haven’t the experience in filmmaking to know the in’s and out’s of how it was put together, but it felt rushed. And unfortunately predictable. Having said that, any animal-lover doesn’t stand a huge chance…But even then; who doesn’t love Red Dog and is that just a sly move? Feh. I’d give it 2.5/5 stars.

    -dodges flying objects-


    • Alli Parker says:

      How is Off the Face of the Earth these days? I hear it’s nice this time of year.

      I think it happens to all sorts of people in all sorts of professions – once you start to delve into a world that the majority tend to know little about, you have a kind of elevated knowledge of how something works that others can’t see. You’re almost looking at the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz and can see the cogs turning and levers pulling.

      As for Red Dog, know it was a bit of a smash in Aus, but hasn’t been released in the UK yet, so will be interesting to see how it goes over here. But yeah, kids and animals tend to strike an instant chord with audiences – sometimes it can by sly, other times it can be used really well. All depends on the execution. It’s the same as anything else, really.

      Thanks for your two cents!

  2. richardarnatt says:

    I’m pretty sure that going to see Avatar with my then-girlfriend of four years was the final straw for our relationship. She had been really excited about going (and thoroughly enjoyed it) but I just couldn’t get into the plot. Afterwards, she asked what I thought and my response of “it was okay, I guess. The visuals were very good!” was completely at odds with her. We didn’t say a word to each other on the drive home and it was only a couple of months before she moved out.

    I’m pretty sure the “middlebrow” in me is holding me back from all sorts of enjoyment. I’m glad I’m not the only one! 😉

    • Alli Parker says:

      Avatar. The great divide. I’m sure that many a relationship between filmmaker and civilian was unjustly torn apart by James Cameron and his Films Of Differing Opinion.

      I do feel, however, that perhaps the break up was for the best in the long run. After all, it’s Avatar.

    • Carolynne says:

      This happens to me all the time. (And also happened with my ex-boyfriend and Avatar, although, it was most definitely not what broke us up.) I’m teaching my first class on breaking down scripts, and I have to keep reminding myself that my students need time to see what seems so obvious after years of filmmaking.

  3. Floodwater Films says:

    Alli, don’t worry, I’LL see movies with you! I like a bit of after film banter, especially if we’re representing different sides of the coin. Not sure about Red Dog though to be honest, sounds interesting but is there anything else out at the moment you’d like to go see?

    Also, I actually liked Avatar, but I’d already seen it. Although I’m sure it was called Ferngully back then.

    p.s. Avatar proved that Neon lighting makes everything look better!

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