It is currently Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:30 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 175 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 7  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 1:47 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 8:48 am
Location: Atlanta
This may be a strange premise for a thread, but it's something that's been bothering me for a while now with the ongoing explosion of films available on DVD and other formats, or what we might call the keyvip dilemma, namely: how do you decide on a film to watch?

Personally, I find too often indecision prevents me from watching anything; I vacillate for a period of time only to eventually get sucked back into whatever's happening on the internet and other distractions. To counteract this, I've tried making lists of films I want to watch that I can consult in such situations, but I find even that becomes its own overwhelming decision.

I didn't always have this problem, but now that I'm many years into serious film viewing, I find having a broad perspective on many kinds of filmmaking paradoxically prevents me from ever settling on one thing.

I do go through occasional periods where this sense of paralysis lifts and I watch a number of films in a few days; I recall how much I enjoy watching films and ask myself why I don't do it more often. But soon I'm back in the same rut and a week or more might pass before I watch something.

It's the completist's dilemma. I'm trying to be too comprehensive in my viewing - somehow I haven't managed to accept the reality that I'll likely in my lifetime never view all the films I'm interested in, let alone find all the unknown gems that would delight me. This is a foregone conclusion in literature, music and of course film as well, but owing to film's younger age as a medium it still seems more within reach (however false that really is).

The only answer, it seems, is to specialize: to continue refining your taste, seeking out filmmakers, genres, national cinemas, actors, and so on that interest you. But my overwhelming sense when I sit down to watch a film today is not of the film I am about to watch, but of the hundreds of others I'm not watching as a result. When will I ever get to them? I know their names; in many cases I even own a copy! What started years ago with the spirit of eager exploration has now become something different; a growing comprehension of the scale of previously uncharted territory coupled with a recognition of my own finitude.

Like Godard says in Histoire(s) du Cinema, the New Wave were perhaps the last generation - the only generation - that could have understood, could have experienced the history of cinema at that point. Later generations simply will never catch up. But everytime I look at my pile of unwatched films, I still feel the urge to make the effort: to see everything, take it all in. "I need to see more Fassbinder... but wait, shouldn't I watch the other Ophuls?... But I keep telling myself I need to check out Raymond Bernard... and what the hell, I've had Satantango sitting on the shelf for what feels like years now..."


Top
 Profile  
 

PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:32 am 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2006 1:37 am
Location: Yokohama, Japan
I know exactly how you feel. I often have times when I think too much about what to watch, then don't actually watch anything. Or start up a 3 hour epic and realise that what I really want is a 5 minute Jeff Keen experience. I find myself looking at my Kevyip then switching on the movie channel. I receive two discs from Discas (like Netflix), consider them both for a while then pop down to the rental store for something different. Then there's that nagging feeling when you're re-watching something you really like that you should be watching something you haven't seen yet.

And then again, like you said, other weeks I sit down watch 3 or 4 films a day and have a great time. I still get the fantastic rush of realising I'm watching somethng truly exceptional every so often so I still think it's worth pursuing my hobby. Luckily I think I still retain some perspective on the imposibility of watching everything. Mostly because so little is readily available to me here.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:59 am 
User avatar

Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2008 3:11 pm
Location: Europe
Oedipax wrote:
The only answer, it seems, is to specialize: to continue refining your taste, seeking out filmmakers, genres, national cinemas, actors, and so on that interest you. But my overwhelming sense when I sit down to watch a film today is not of the film I am about to watch, but of the hundreds of others I'm [i]not watching as a result[/i]. When will I ever get to them?

Very well put!
Exactly my experience when watching film on DVD: it's not the film you watch at the moment of watching but the films you're not watching and probably never will able be to watch in a life time.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:17 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:26 am
Location: East of Shanghai
Ah, the menace of overwhelming kevyip.
As someone who is most likely in the top 1% of kevyip holders here, I might as well share a few tricks I've learned.

- With most of my kevyip in plastic containers, I try to keep out under 50 titles I really want to watch so I have a large but not huge selection to choose from.

- I often have a backup plan to avoid kevyip paralysis.
At one point, I decided that when I couldn't decide on a film to watch that I'd go with Hitchcock, as I had a healthy stack of early Hitch to attack.
Earlier this year, my default backup was a Japanese film, in order to catch up to the backlog there. Besides suckering myself into making a decision, I found that it created a sense of expectation and continuity which worked well.
Since you probably only need one backup a week, even something like 4 unwatched Ophuls will satisfy for a month or more.

- I often jump the Q with new purchases and watch something while the buying enthusiasm is still fresh. No matter how excited you were when you bought a Kluge or whatever, long-term kevyip conjures negative alchemy -- able to turn dvd gold into a baser item. Unfortunately this inevitably pushes some titles into deep kevyip, but it usually guarantees you watch films that you are UP for.

- Lastly, my biggest problem is choosing something that fits my mood.
Recently purchased titles, and my default selection help guard against this somewhat, but it's not always easy to gauge what films will go with your mindset at any given time. Sometimes skimming through the special features can help me get ready for a given film.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:49 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:19 pm
Location: Amish Country
I don't have Netflix or access to television, so my film watching (aside from the very occasional trip to a local cinema) is limited to my owned DVD collection, and focused on the kevyip therein. I have those DVDs cataloged in three largely redundant methods, one of which is an Excel spreadsheet. At the top of that sheet, I have added an algorithm that will randomly suggest a title from my collection as the "DVD of the Day" (although, thanks to the ability to quickly refresh the selection using F9, it's more like the "DVD of the Moment.") As silly as that sounds, it has come in handy on more than one occasion when I've been unexcited by the kevyip (I'm not sure that either of the two versions of Elvis: That's the Way it Is will ever graduate from the kevyip) and unable to make a catalog selection on my own.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:58 am 

Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2007 7:56 am
What an interesting topic, Oedipax!

I, too, find myself in much of the same dilemma. To expand on your sense of overwhelming, I couple that with a sense of guilt. Because of the sheer volume of films out there, I often find myself sticking to the canon (even if it's the "arthouse canon.") The guilt comes because I have a close affinity for independent film, and I often neglect that in my DVD watching so that I'm at least knowledgeable about directors I "should" know about!

To answer the question, I would say that running time is my primary determinant. Fitting a film into a schedule is the most important factor, and watching an 90 minute film is just plain easier to do than setting aside 3 hours.

The second thing I think about is how tired I am. The Surrealists always argued that watching a film in the dark is like slipping away to a dream, but I don't want to actually fall asleep if I'm predisposed to doing so. I tend to watch slower-paced films, or films where the frame settles and allows the viewer to really soak in everything, when I am wide awake. If I finish a long day of work and I want to pop in a DVD, it's usually something in English and usually something where the average shot length is on the lower end of the spectrum.

The third factor is probably mood, which is a gimme.

And, of course, if I'm watching something for research purposes or because it will inspire me for a specific project, then that trumps everything.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:24 am 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2007 3:30 pm
Location: Finland
I also have a huge kevyip (though thankfully for the last year or so I've managed to reduce its size). I usually don't have a lot of problems on deciding what to watch: often I just pick a random film and watch that, although recently I've more often picked titles that fit the mood I'm in. But it really does make the deciding easier when you have a certain goal in mind. For example (though I know many don't believe in listing films) taking part in listing projects. Our own lists projects have been especially helpful and thus lately I've watched a lot of 2000s films, but also films from other decades for the future projects. The problems with watching films like this, however, is that I find myself often having less interest to watch films that I don't expect to be excellent. This can of course be a good thing too.

Sanjuro wrote:
Then there's that nagging feeling when you're re-watching something you really like that you should be watching something you haven't seen yet.

Now that is someting I certainly can relate to, and find myself rewatching films very rarely, mostly only when I want to show the said film to someone else. This can be really frustrating even, since some films really would require rewatching and some films I just would like to rewatch simply because I like them.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:51 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:56 am
Location: Canada
Yes I have been suffering from kevyip paralysis (a great term by the way!) and I feel guilty as others when I can't decide what to watch. I have numerous Renoir films unseen and the MoC Keaton and the UK Warner Chaplin boxsets are tripping over themselves to be watched. Over 50 DVDs to sort through...


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 5:01 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 10:01 am
Location: In the middle of an Elyssian Field
I normally find that setting aside an hour before the allotted watching period for self-flagellation and chanting 'Immanentize the kevyip eschaton' helps focus what to choose.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 5:36 am 
User avatar

Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:01 am
I've heard this discussed before, but I think it should be discussed more, because I think its something we all think about like 100% of the time, because we're all clearly here because we're so similar in this regard.

I hear what you're saying about thinking you'll never get to see everything... I have another way you can look at it though, other than specialising. The way I think about it is I see myself on a unique journey of discovery, and what I discover, may become an important and valued part of my journey... So I may come across Naruse, or I may only come across Kurosawa and Ozu, but it doesn't mean I should despair. Just don't think about all the ones you haven't discovered, but treasure the ones you have and the ones you may discover tomorrow. How's that?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Kevyip paralysis
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 7:11 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:47 am
Location: Cambridge, England
It's great to read a post, like Oedipax's, where the first response is "How does this fellow know so much about me?"
I often try to solve it by handing my wife some DVDs to choose. She normally says, after reading the plot summary, "Sounds a bit tragic, let's have some Cary Grant or Buster Keaton - no tragedy". So it works - sort of.

Perhaps "Kevyip paralysis" should be the title of this thread.( Nice one, Lemmy).


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 7:56 am 
wax on; wax off
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2004 4:46 pm
Location: BOO duh Pest
It's somewhat of a filmic update of my high school dilemma of being stoned while trying to pick an LP to put on the turntable--it's got to be just right; lots of lost time.

My factors:
Not alone: If it's with the wife she'll usually ask me to pick 3-4 dvds for her to choose from. I know her tastes so I make the initial picks accordingly, but slipping a wild card in there--she'll bite sometimes, like Touch of Evil last month. Often a frustrating dilemma as this usually starts with "do you have anything in your mind?" In most cases it wouldn't really matter if I did so why bother mentioning it.

Time constraint: if I've really got 3 hours free from family I'll try to find a single title that will best fill that time allotment as they are so scarce. Can often result in a disappointment as shooting for an epic when not in an epic mood can be a bummer. Likewise, when the wife and kids take a weekend off in the country to visit family I set up a little film fest and tackle those longer and/or 'louder' fare otherwise not appreciated (La Roue and Charles Mingus concert performances on DVD last time) and interspersed with whatever will shake up the linup.

kevyip vs. staples: I try to keep on top of new titles coming in, but also try to have staples to fall back on when I just don't feel like risking disappointment. Most reliable staples that can also cross over into kevyip are noirs and GPO documentaries. I try to be conservative with those, and am uncomfortable with the fact that I currently have no unwatched noirs.

And then of course we start moving into the realm brought up by Herrschreck regarding 'nightlights', those titles you can just put on again and again. I've got 15-20 desert island films that I can put on if I just can't decide (stuff like The Graduate, Manhattan, Taxi Driver, All About Eve, Powell-Pressburger--satisfaction guaranteed regardless of mood). Of course there are those times when I put in a Powell-Pressburger and then take it off after 10 minutes when another title comes to mind that I'd been meaning to watch--like a cat that suddenly realizes it positively has to be in another room immediately.

I have to admit that having a program that randomly picks a title sounds very tempting.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:16 am 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2008 10:06 am
Location: Ireland
Interesting topic: surely there should be a name,. or, better yet, an acronym for this condition.

An affliction from which I have long suffered from, and is probably related to yours, goes by the acronym: 'tibshgatwiy'
(or 'taped it but still haven't gotten around to watching it yet'): the most extreme example of which was 17 years after I taped 'Young Mr Lincoln', I eventually got around to watching it!! :shock:


but you gotta watch Satantango now,...or you'll end up regretting it!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:28 am 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK
I'm similar Yojimbo though I've only been taping things since 1993 so you've got a few years on me! (I think the worst offender for me is Just A Gigolo, recorded in 1995, that I still have not gotten up the courage to watch!) I also like having a shelf (more like shelves!) of new films to leaf through. I think it is the comfort of knowing that they are there and easy to access whenever I want that I like most about them, even if that comfort means that I drag my heels on watching them! I'm certain that I'll get to them eventually but at the moment I'm saving the fifteen hour Berlin marathons and the Satantangos for a time when I will theoretically have a good few uninterrupted hours ahead of me! It's not happened yet, but one of these days it may!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:45 am 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2008 10:06 am
Location: Ireland
I watched Satantango over three consecutive nights which I think is probably the ideal, colin: I couldn't imagine watching it over the course of one day,....or even stretching out over a longer term.

As for having a shelf/shelves of new films to leaf through,.... :? ....how new is new? :wink:
I like to group like films together,....whether by director; country; genre; or the separate boxes I have for (most of) my Masters of Cinema and Criterion titles.

As for 'Just a Gigolo',...I haven't even bothered to tape that
(or 'The Hunger', for that matter!)


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:42 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:47 am
Location: Cambridge, England
Yojimbo wrote:
An affliction from which I have long suffered from, and is probably related to yours, goes by the acronym: 'tibshgatwiy'

An acronym is supposed to be pronouncable. How do you pronounce that?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:46 am 
wax on; wax off
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2004 4:46 pm
Location: BOO duh Pest
tojoed wrote:
Yojimbo wrote:
An affliction from which I have long suffered from, and is probably related to yours, goes by the acronym: 'tibshgatwiy'

An acronym is supposed to be pronouncable. How do you pronounce that?

Leicestershire


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:50 am 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:20 pm
Location: New England
How I decide? Mainly whim of the moment - factoring in (1) how alert I feel, (2) how much time I have available, (3) how much work s involved in finding each of the various possibilities. ;~}

Other occasional factors, deaths (requiring some memorial viewing), current discusssions that remind me of my failure to watch something (or re-watch it recently) and the like.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:53 am 
wax on; wax off
User avatar

Joined: Tue Dec 14, 2004 4:46 pm
Location: BOO duh Pest
Ahhh...I'm happy to admit that this forum has spurred me on to (re)visit titles on a number of occasions. I recall a particularly lively panel hosted by Herrschreck on The Sheltering Sky some years ago...


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:59 am 
User avatar

Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 11:59 pm
Location: Somewhere between here and there
I usually find myself unable to pick anything to watch so I simply pick from my collection whatever I'm not averse to watching at the moment, and by the time the movie starts I'm fully immersed in it and all feeling of indecision fades away. I have no process, but there have been a few times where I've picked a movie and stopped it after a few minutes because I was not in the mood for it.

Maybe I should make a system though so I don't have to waste my time sitting and trying to decide what to watch, fearing regret that I'll pick something I'm not in the mood for. Although I've found that when I'm wracked with indecision it's best just to choose something I haven't watched in a while.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:14 am 
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am
Reading this thread, for the first time I am beginning to think that Kevyip1 MIGHT have had a point :wink:

Seriously, I've managed to reduce my kevyip quite a lot over the last months or so, and am quite happy with it being this way. The reason for not buying THAT many dvds anymore (though I still buy far more than most people I know) is basically that I now have a good selection of what I consider the 'must-haves'. Not that there are no sore gaps in my collection anymore, far from it. But to fill these gaps seems to be less urgent for me than a few years ago, when there were still some Kurosawas, Powell and Pressburgers, Antonionis etc. for me to buy.

On the other hand, with the reduced kevyip, the kevyip paralysis paradoxically keeps coming up more often. I mostly prefer to watch films I haven't yet watched over those that I know well, but now there are mostly less interesting films on the kevyip than in former times. These films may not be worse than others, but they might be from a director or from a cinematic period I am personally less keen on than watching films from other directors or eras. In other words: if something from the 20s or from the 30s comes in, it won't have a chance to lie on the kevyip for long; while some films from the 70s onwards have been in the kevyip for years, and I still am not too eager to put them on.

As to choosing what films to watch, in more general terms I agree that it basically has to do with how tired I am and how long the running-time is. And if I feel too tired to watch anything at all, it often happens that I pick some Astaire/Rogers-film or something the like. If I feel like falling asleep in between, I often jump forward and only watch the dance numbers. Beautiful dreams guaranteed.

Perhaps a good way to overcome the paralysis is to try to watch films by era or simply going chronologically through film history. I used the List Project to help me with this and it gave me a better understanding of how styles and genres developed over the years. I'm not through with this yet, of course (have arrived only in the early 60s at the moment), but once I make more headway into those decades closer to the present day, those films laying on the kevyip for years might finally get watched.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:17 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 10:06 pm
The worst thing in the world (bar none) is knowing, for a fact, that you're in such a foul/weird mood that you're not going to enjoy anything that you pick, but at the same time knowing that the DVD equivalent of Mr Right is in there somewhere - that Holy Grail film that would suit your mood at this precise moment, that would put all those petty little problems in perspective and send you sighing off into untroubled slumber when it's over. Once in a while I pick the right one, as happened recently when I journeyed down the mineshaft in which my VHS kevyip is now stored, and hauled out Dersu Uzala, a film I had always assumed I would hate.

I've found this is the best policy when seized by mood-induced kevyip paralysis: I pick something I don't want to watch. If I pick an old favourite, or something I've been looking forward to for ages, it might be disappointing, or the bad mood might kill it stone dead and ruin it forever; particularly distressing when you try and watch something you've always loved, and tonight, because of the day you've had, it looks like shit.

Picking something I've been guiltily avoiding takes a bit of nerve, but is far safer. Either it'll be a wonderful surprise and re-affirm my sense of purpose in life, or it'll be as tedious as expected and I'll be as grumpy as before, except that now I've dispensed with that nagging chore without having wasted a perfectly good evening on it. Sorted.

Next week, I'll be sharing my 12-step 'getting through Bergman' programme.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:36 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm
What a timely thread. I have just put my Netflix account on hold in order to reduce distractions from the project of whittling down the kevyip, which is much smaller than in the past, but still irritatingly (and expensively) growing. I also find choosing a film much more difficult in the past because, for the first time in nearly 10 years, my partner is now home every evening and all weekend. Where previously I could just force myself to burn through any given three movies on a Saturday afternoon, I know have to think about the desires and comfort of another person. We've actually been doing alright with this so far, but there have been nights where he will just do something in another room while I watch, for example, Julia (in which case being in the other room was definitely the right choice). I am fortunate that he enjoys (in moderation) the sillier films of Ann Sothern, Joan Blondell, Barbara Stanwyck, et al, but I do feel awfully guilty when he dutifully sits through the occasional clunker I've foisted upon him.

We typically pull something from the kevyip to watch (either a physical DVD/BD or something on the TiVo), and it's usually based on a ratio of running time to perceived attention span (there is a large stack of films in the kevyip over two hours in length) and mood. If we feel up to tackling something slightly long and sure-to-be-dour like The Class (just watched last night), we'll take advantage of it, but we are more likely to settle in with a frothy '30s comedy or '40s drama (Wellman's Battleground was a particularly fruitful kevyip elimination). The forthcoming chilly weekend afternoons are sure to help with getting long films like Black Hawk Down and Zodiac (which we've already watched twice, but not on Blu-ray), random Criterion supplements and documentaries, and the remainder of that Universal pre-code set out of our hair. We do occasionally pull the old favorite off the shelf for a viewing, and I think I'm getting to the age where I enjoy watching old favorites more than keeping up with the latest festival award winner (or maybe I'm just still smarting from The Class).


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:49 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 10:09 am
Sloper wrote:
Next week, I'll be sharing my 12-step 'getting through Bergman' programme.

Step 1: Watch Dreyer's "Gertrud". After that, Bergman will feel like frothy entertainment.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 1:26 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 10:06 pm
Steps 2 through 12: Watch Day of Wrath repeatedly, after which you'll realise that there's actually no need for Bergman. (Just kidding...)


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 175 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ... 7  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group




This site is not affiliated with The Criterion Collection