Imagine knowing nothing about a movie you’re about to see.
By some miracle you’ve missed the billboards, the television, internet and radio ads, the critical reviews and the opinions of family and friends.
You’re about to have a Direct Experience — a rare thing in a world where communication is swift and millions know what critics think minutes after a movie’s release.
It’s risky seeing a film before it’s dissected and given its place on a five-star rating system (one star: appalling; five stars: sublime) and most of us prefer to hear what others think before committing our time, money and attention to an unknown story.
Thus, our impressions – consciously or unconsciously – are colored by the artistic sensibilities of others and we avoid a movie altogether (even if we’d thought of seeing it) if enough people convince us it’s rubbish. Conversely, we may be moved to see a movie if enough people convince us it’s worthy. This is not a bad thing as we’ve all, at one or time or another, been cajoled into sitting through something we’ve had no intention of seeing — and we’re glad we did.
How many movies, though, have we been drawn to but crossed off our list after encountering a bad review?
We justify this ruthlessness by telling ourselves we’ve saved money, but have we? Who knows what a movie might reveal if we take a risk, see it for ourselves and make up our own minds.
It’s also worth questioning our movie-going motives if we’re there because of gushing reviews. We might (or might not) enjoy it, but how much of that enjoyment is ours and how much of it is herd-hypnosis? How can we directly experience a movie when we’re full of externally-derived impressions before the opening scene?
It’s difficult to follow our instincts these days, especially when every movie claims artistic supremacy and clamors for our patronage. We’ve responded by donning blinkers, turning down the volume and relying on others to choose for us. It’s easier that way.
Consider, then, how fresh and daring it would be to experience a movie directly. If this appeals, you will need determination, speed and a bold, unflinching action plan such as the one outlined below:
- Get organised: The minute a movie calls to you, avoid all speculation and opinion and swear a solemn oath to avoid reviews of any kind until you’ve seen it.
- Tell your family and friends you’re experimenting with Direct Experience and do not want to hear anything about your chosen movie until you’ve seen it. Be warned – people are rabid in their desire to inform you of their opinion.
- Go directly to the cinema and buy your ticket.
- Watch the movie.
- Go home.
- Keep your thoughts to yourself (unless someone is absolutely sure they want to hear about it from you).
- In that case, show them this article.