Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This Movie Has Been Formatted For TV


It's a lazy Sunday afternoon. I'm on my couch flipping through the channels when a movie like Raiders of the Lost Ark comes on TV. I've already missed 45 minutes of it. I know there will be commercials about every 5 minutes. I know that the good gross parts will most likely be cut out. I know that the formatting will cut out the sides. And here's the kick, I own the damn movie on DVD. And yet, I watch the movie. On the TV station. I don't go down stairs and grab the movie on DVD and pop it in to watch it from beginning to end with all the good parts still in tact and no commercials. I sit there and watch it.

This example has nothing to do with the fact that Raiders of the Lost Ark is a classic and deserves multiple viewings, or that I'm too lazy to walk down some stairs to get the DVD. It has more to do with the fact that it's a lot more fun to just happen on to a movie than to plan for one. And not only that, but I'm twice as likely to watch a movie I don't like if it's on TV. Something like Wild Wild West. It's not a good movie, but if it's on TV, it suddenly becomes a can't miss opportunity. I actually contemplated watching some of What Women Want the other night and I detest that movie.

Why are these things? How does my brain work differently because I stumble on to a movie on TV? I suppose there's something to the spontaneity of it all. The chance of you flipping through the channels and discovering a movie is somehow destiny, so you must sit and watch. The other thought is that movies on TV are disposable. That it's okay if something comes up and you have to leave for some reason. There is no emotional connection because you're only partially tuning in. It's kind of like getting a bad nights sleep. You may have slept, but it wasn't solid and you'll pay for it later.

17 comments:

Fox said...

I don't usually have cable, but due to some weird circumstances, I have it for the month of July and this phenomenon has been happening to me quite often.

Yesterday it was with Crocodile Dundee and Fun With Dick And Jane.

I hadn't seen Crocodile Dundee in at least 15 years, and granted, I only caught the last hour or so, but man... that movie is terrible.

Adam Ross said...

I have a similar problem, couple weeks ago Citizen Kane was just coming on TCM, and I had to watch it through the opening newsreel. Had to, even though I own it and have seen it many times. It's like how Cartman has to sing the entire song of "Come Sail Away" any time he hears a lyric from it.

Piper said...

fox,

I too watched Fun With Dick And Jane last night. Seen it before, didn't like but there I was again watching it.

Adam,

I love the Cartman reference. Haven't seen it, but now I must.

greg f said...

Here is a little thing you can do to drive TIVO Heads nuts: don't fast forward thru commercials. lets the commercials run their course. TIVO Heads get so bent out of shape by this, they are climbing walls.

greg fox said...

on sat night, jul 5th, i was a blob watching TV and there was this crazy syncopation of 80's movies all playing at the same time to pick from: Die Hard, My Cousin Vinny, Empire Strikes Back, and Breakfast Club. I was dumbstruck! how do you pick on that one? seem them all 50 plus times! i stuck with die hard mostly, i like that main bad guys accent!

Mr. Furley said...

There was a similar discussion on Joe Baltake's blog a couple months ago.

http://thepassionatemoviegoer.blogspot.com/2008/05/how-home-entertainment-ruined-movies.html

Anonymous said...

Pipes -

You are definitely onto something.

I would never go out and rent Goodfellas again, because I have seen it countless times. But if it's on TV I feel compelled to watch. Maybe TV has a guilt component. I show my lack of respect if I turn away...

Fletch said...

Guilty as charged. I find the same phenomenon as it relates to songs on the radio/on a CD/iPod. I'm much more likely to enjoy a song if it's playing randomly via a radio station than if I purposefully put it on. It's weird.

But yeah, I watch a ton of crappy movies and/or don't pop in the good ones when the DVDs are mere feet away. Probably also has something to do with the freedom of being able to surf during the commercials.

JOSEPH CAMPANELLA said...

I'm not the only one!

Sometimes, I'll realize I'm watching CAN'T HARDLY WAIT on cable, and I'll say to myself... why am I watching this? FOR THE FOURTH TIME!

It is a ridiculous phenomenon that will now be known as THE TV EFFECT.

Jonathan Lapper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan Lapper said...

I'm going to call it "The Piper Effect." It's all about doing nothing and just letting whatever's there wash over you. It's how tv has succeeded for this long. Who in God's name would ever go to a video store or Netflix and ask for an "Oxy Clean Infomercial" on DVD? No one! But I've watched them. I come across real estate scheme infomercials and I watch them too. And I dearly miss Ron Popeil's infomercials: The rotisserie thingy, the spray on hair, the pocket sized fishing rod - Come back Ron, come back.

Had to delete the first comment - major typo issues going on there

Garrett said...

There is something about it. My wife fall into it all the time and I will ask "Do you want me to just put the DVD on" and it immediately seems like a terrible idea.

I think its the casual watching aspect of it that is the most appealing. You dont have to commit to it fully, as you pointed out. still an interesting phenomenon

Piper said...

The Piper Effect. Hmmmmm.

That damn box. Last night I stayed up until 1 AM watching The Natural.

Jonathan,

You and my son can sit together with the phone at the ready and order your hearts out. He stops me every time an infomercial comes on and tells me we should buy whatever they're selling. He's such a good little consumer.

Paul Arrand Rodgers said...

I'll watch any movie if it's on TV. Jaws 3-D, without the 3-D? Check. That awful movie where Digital Underground does a song for a decrepid looking Danny Ackroyd? Check. Anything on Comedy Central? Check.

My favorite TV Formatted movie, without question, is The Big Lebowski. I laughed harder at that the first time than I did with the DVD. The whole "Find a stranger in the Alps" thing is priceless.

Sarah said...

I've seen Top Gun 1435 times on TV. But if it comes on, I'll cancel Friday night plans to see it again.

My other weakness is the VH1 specials. I lost a lot of my Sunday this past weekend because of "Top 100 Teen Stars."

Piper said...

Mr. Furley,

I checked it out. It's a great post and I'm pleased to see that I'm not the only one.

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