08 January 2015

Confessions of a Cineholic

My name is Richard and I am a cineholic.

I submit as evidence the events of last Saturday evening.  Having earlier in the day enjoyed a seven mile run and then attended a college basketball game, I returned home to watch a movie. But I could not stop at one. I watched a second. I know what you're thinking, then he watched a third. No, nothing like that at all. There was no third film. Oh I've watched three films in a day before, I can handle my movies. I'm sure I could do four in a day and that rate I'm going that's likely to happen someday (cineholism is a progressive disease, you know).

What was so unusual -- some might say sick -- about my little binge was the combination of films. I did some hardcore genre mixing with extreme brands of each. Here's what I watched: Frank Capra's You Can't Take it With You (1938) followed by Ingmar Bergman's Cries and Whispers (1972). Good luck finding movies that are more dissimilar.

One is schmaltz hokum and sentimentality. In the other a person is dying and its not an easy death. I mean for crying out loud one is pure uncut Capra and the other is high grade undistilled Bergman. Who watches one after the other. And who watches the depressing one second?


I also recently watched The Wild Bunch (1969) and Duck Soup (1933) on the same day. Peckinpah and the Marx Brothers are an interesting mix. Belly laughs and bullets. Blood and guffaws. Groucho and William Holden. Harpo and Warren Oates.

This can't be normal. Normal people watch a movie and let it sink in and then maybe watch a second related one. Like two Preston Struges films or two romantic comedies or two Bond films. Not me. Line up and let's go. I just want excellence and the more the better. My Netflix and Hulu queues are longer than the phone book. (They still make phone books?) I own over 200 films and I'm forever DVRing movies on TCM and HBO. I mainline films. Work weeks are brutal for me offering virtually no movie watching time. I have to binge on weekends.

One thing in my defense is that I go for the high quality stuff. No cheapo Adam Sandler stuff for me, none of that Transformer crap. It's the likes of Bergman and Bunuel and Rossellini and Cassavetes and Chaplin and Renoir and....I could go on.  Point is I don't go slumming. There's an endless supply of high grade films to mainline. I can watch them on my laptop, I can watch them on my high def TV, I can watch them in theaters. Streaming, DVD, recorded what you got. Any time any place. Just make me laugh or cry of think or feel. Inspire to me to write maybe inspire to watch more definitely. Lately I've been binging on Bergman, before that it was Powell, earlier it was Coen Brothers, maybe next it will be Kaurismaki. Dinner is ready? Keep it warm. Family is out there? Tell 'em to wait. The Super Bowl is on? I'll read about it tomorrow.

Do you wander if you're a cineholic too? Answer these questions:

1. Do you watch film when you are disappointed, under pressure or have had a quarrel
with someone?
2. Can you handle more films now than when you first started to watch?
3. Are you more in a hurry to watch your first film of the weekend than you used to be?
4. Do you sometimes feel a little guilty about your movie watching?
5. Has a family member or close friend express concern or complained about your film watching?
6. Do you often want to continue watching movies after your friends say they’ve had enough?
7. Have you tried switching genres or directors to control your movie watching?
8. Do you try to avoid family or close friends while you are watching movies?
9. Do you sometimes feel uncomfortable if films are not available?
10. Do you eat very little or irregularly during the periods when you are watching movies? 

If you answered yes to four or more of these questions, then brother, take a seat and let's watch a movie together. How's about a little Fassbinder?

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