I had an interesting experience this past Saturday as I was watching Martin Scorsese’s unfortunately tedious Rolling Stones film, SHINE A LIGHT.
At one point, as the film was heading into yet another song of Mick Jagger energetically strutting across the apron of the stage (the man has an awesome physique for someone his age, but I was completely over the Stones about 25 years ago), I arrived at the time when I would attempt to look at my watch to see if the film was really in its fifteenth hour.
However, instead of that, I got focussed on the editing — as I am wont to do when something is boring me to tears (I’ve done that innumerable times during HBO’s JOHN ADAMS, a show I am completely ready to stop watching for the rest of my life). I began to look for the moments when cuts worked and when they didn’t. And, as I am also wont to do when I’m watching a tedious film on my DVR (not a Tivo actually, since I have the version that the Dish Network allegedly stole from them), I reached for the DVR remote so I could rewind the film by a few seconds to re-look at the cut.
Let me repeat that — I went to reach for my remote. In the Cinerama Dome Theatre in the middle of Hollywood. Now, the Dome theater has a lot of cool amenities in it, ever since the Arclight took it over. I can reserve my seats. I can lean back and put my drink in a nifty cup holder at the side. I can even sit back and listen to the desperately amusing ushers, who give a standup-style patter before the film runs.
But what I cannot do is to stop the film and go back three seconds using a Tivo-like remote.
My point is this. I realized then that I am now beginning to look at media differently. I assume that I have control over how I watch it. I assume that I can rewind, fast forward and pause my media.
And if I’m doing that, I can only assume that others have that desire also. Does that mean that movie theaters are at a disadvantage over the television/DVR experience? And what does that mean for us as filmmakers?