Is it permissible to half-watch a movie and then complain about it afterwards?

New Rule: You can’t half-watch the movie and discuss/complain

Have you ever experienced the frustration of watching a movie with someone who is only half-present? You know, the kind of person who spends the entire film glued to their phone, occasionally glancing up at the screen without truly engaging with the story. It can be infuriating, especially when they then proceed to offer their unsolicited critique or complain about plot elements they didn’t even properly grasp.

I recently found myself in this exact scenario while rewatching the classic film series, Back to the Future. I was already on the third installment when my roommate casually strolled in, engrossed in their phone. They decided to join me, but their attention remained firmly fixed on the glowing screen in their hand throughout the entire movie.

As the end credits rolled, and I eagerly awaited a stimulating conversation about the intricate time-travel plot, my roommate offered only a dismissive comment: “It’s bad time travel.” I couldn’t believe my ears. How could they possibly judge the movie when they hadn’t even given it their full attention? It was maddening.

This encounter led me to ask myself: should there be a new rule when it comes to watching movies? Is it fair for someone to half-watch a film, demanding explanations for plot points they missed or making critical comments without fully comprehending the story?

In my opinion, the answer is a resounding “no.” When we sit down to watch a movie, we owe it to ourselves and the filmmakers to give our undivided attention. Movies are a medium that invite us to immerse ourselves in stories, explore new worlds, and experience a range of emotions. However, this can only be achieved if we actively engage with the film.

It’s understandable that we sometimes get distracted during a movie, whether due to fatigue, personal matters, or the addictive allure of our phones. However, if we choose to prioritize other activities over the movie we are supposedly watching, we should also accept that we forfeit the right to offer opinions based on a half-hearted experience.

So, what other house rules should we consider when it comes to movie-watching?

First and foremost, let’s acknowledge the sacredness of the movie-watching experience. Before starting a film, make a pact with your viewing companions to give it your full attention. Put away your phones, close your laptops, and create an atmosphere that honors the movie’s intent – to captivate and transport.

Additionally, let’s commit to discussing the movie only after it has reached its conclusion. Interrupting the viewing experience with commentary or criticism can disrupt the flow and impact of the storytelling. By waiting until the credits roll, we allow ourselves time to process the film’s messages, themes, and nuances fully.

Lastly, let’s approach movie discussions with respect and empathy. Recognize that each viewer brings their own unique perspective and opinions. Engage in meaningful conversations that delve into the film’s merits, flaws, and thought-provoking elements. This way, we can foster a deeper appreciation for the art of filmmaking while respecting each other’s viewpoints.

In conclusion, half-watching a movie and then critiquing it is an unfair practice that undermines the integrity of the viewing experience. As viewers, we should strive to give films our undivided attention and engage with them on a deeper level. By adhering to a few simple house rules, we can enhance our enjoyment of movies and create a more fulfilling cinematic experience for all.

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