Watching Movies -- Do you pay attention?

I’m seriously curious, because the more I come into contact with a wider range of people who watch films, the more it seems to me that people aren’t paying attention to them while they watch them.

I know I just asked Desslock a similar question in the JJ Abrams trailer thread, but I’d really like to know what the broader range of people are doing while they watch movies?

I think that everyone pays attention they just don’t sweat the small details. Depending on the person, those small details could be significant (though probably not). Movies are supposed to be passive entertainment after all…

If you think people pay attention when they watch movies, you’ve obviously never been to a movie with my mother.

I’m sure I’ll get shit for suggesting men and women might be different, but in my experience lots of women tend to focus on the emotional impact of movies over plotting, which is why they dig the chick-flicks. I’ve lost track of how many women I’ve known, including very intelligent ones, that have asked me to explain various bits of plot to them after a movie is over.


I don’t even pay attention while posting to QT3.

Casual movie fans who don’t have a large cinematic vocabulary to draw from probably don’t do much paying attention because they don’t entirely grasp how much there is to pay attention to.

But serious movie buffs, those who are well-educated and bright and gifted and handsome, like us, have a whole lot they can pay attention to.

I know that in my house, if we’re watching a movie, my wife is NOT folding laundry or reading a magazine or any of that crap, up with which I shall not put.

I’m pretty good with details and plotting, but terrible with names. For the most part I couldn’t tell you a character’s name while I’m watching a movie, let alone afterwards. I don’t lose much sleep over it, given that it’s typically the least relevant detail of a character. It also nicely mirrors my inability to remember people’s names in real life.

Edit: Few things enrage me more than someone talking during a movie, regardless of the setting. My hearing is bad enough that I can’t concentrate on both what’s happening in the movie and the dumbshit running their mouth. God I hate that.


Given the ludicrous debates we’ve had on this very message board as recently as Spiderman 3 (over the changing reactions of women to Peter when he went dark) and as far back as Fellowship of the Ring (over the whip uncoiling from Gandalf’s leg before he fell), people may or may not be paying attention, but some are certainly having trouble remember what they saw.

So you two didn’t start watching movies together until after she’d married you, eh?

Yeah. Dave’s insinuation that someone who doesn’t remember a minor detail from a cryptic movie trailer wasn’t paying attention
is pretty goddam funny.

My girlfriend manages to do sudoku puzzles while watching Lost and still manages to come away with the same experience as me, which boggles my mind to no end.

I chalk it up to women being so fucking aware of their surroundings and multitasking an asston better than men. It’s what enables them to yell at us about leaving the toilet seat up while cooking an awesome chicken divan.


Nope, we’ve been at it for over 15 years. Our first rented VHS tape was The Sure Thing and our first night out at the movies together was Misery… two titles that sum up the marriage quite nicely, thank you very much.

I chalk it up to women being so fucking aware of their surroundings and multitasking an asston better than men.

Wait, what? My experience is more like CCZ’s. It’s absolutely infuriating. If you wanted to know you should’ve paid attention.

I hate getting asked questions about the movie I’m watching with them. Where the hell do they think I get my information? They are watching the same movie!

I often use movies as an easy entry way to getting people to practice thinking critically. Often, guys that don’t give a book a chance pay far more attention to movies than they realize, they’re just never obligated to think about it afterwards. Once I put people on the spot, I’m usually surprised with the things they come up with…the “Fight Club is literally gay anxiety” argument from Qt3 is usually a great opener.

Me, I have a really good attention span for movies that is usually more broken by people shushing and freaking out about little shit than by the actual disturbance. I laughed out loud at some angry broad in the middle of an obviously unimportant part in the Lives of Others when she rudely SHHHHHHHed the hell out of a couple behind us that were quietly whispering just at that time, for the first time the whole movie. Since it was a small theater with very few people in it, it was extremely awkward (for her), and I could barely enjoy the conclusion because I couldn’t get my mind off of her seething, plainly visible rage. It was like you could see little cartoon angry lines shooting out of the back of her head.

That bugs me, and I’ve known my fair share of women who do that, but I chalk that up to disinterest in a movie’s subject matter, not a fundamental inability to grasp the source material.

If a woman doesn’t care about a movie much, she won’t pick up on things we do, and she’ll ask questions. But give her a subject matter she cares about, equally complex, and somehow, the woman can manage to do her tax returns while picking up on every little detail.

It wasn’t a minor detail because you could very easily see the fireball split apart and hit the buildings forcing them inside and down the stairs. In combination with some of the things people have said about Transformers, I just thought I’d ask if people pay attention to what they’re watching.

To be fair to Stefan, I didn’t catch that they ran from the fireballs splitting off from the explosion until I saw it in the theater. Stupid YouTube shaky-cam footage!

BTW, what was the deal with those robot things in that Transformer movie? Why were they fighting each other?


Yeah but I saw that trailer like yesterday and all I really remember was some kids having a party and then running outside at the end of the world. I was paying attention then, but who commits trifles like that trailer to memory in painstaking detail for future forum wars?

Guys, it was hardly a case of not paying attention (obviously I’m interested in that movie, since I posted about 10 times in that thread, and kept digging up bootleg copies) – the details you are referencing WERE NOT VISIBLE in those crappy bootlegs. It was physically impossible to see them.

So if you were asking why I don’t pay attention to invisible objects, and unseen, mythical happenings, the real answer is “I heed them too often”, but generally try not to highlight them, so people can’t guffaw at my derangement.

In all seriousness, if someone is more detail-obsessed than I am, then I feel sorry for them, since my obsessive compulsive need to analyze and recall even the most trivial details in even banal movies/games/comics/fiction/poker shows and other generally worthless entertainment is a tedious and borderline insane distraction.