Across the Living Room and Other Distances

Why does anyone watch anything? Sometimes I really don't know why I do. I watched this youtube video demonstrating a program that creates moveable, resizeable previews of windows. He was watching "Family Guy," which is unerringly awful, but the way he put a preview of it in the corner of his screen while doing other things was like leaving the TV on in the room, which was appealing, somehow.

I sometimes don't watch what I'm watching. If I say that I don't remember what I watch, it doesn't mean that I wasn't watching. It might point to a particular kind of watching, which is lost to the memory. It could also mean that the kinds of things that count as "memory of" do not include the things I do remember. For example, I might not remember what I watched, but it might still have had an effect on me, which may or may not be a kind of memory.

The obscurity of what I remember watching is related to the obscurity of why I watch something. Off-hand I remember very little of The Lord of the Rings, and I remembered even less--plot, images, characters--when I wanted to rewatch those movies a year ago. I didn't care much about the lore, the languages, or the CGI battles. In fact, I had amnesia about all of that. I remembered the feeling--the sense of doom. True, this memory had images associated with it--driving to the movie theater in a winter rainstorm, and driving back in the fog, or the other way around, or neither. There was a lot of moonlight, I think. The remembered feeling also had something to do with the introduction. Maybe just Cate Blanchett's voice, or the tone of it.

Maybe I just wanted the movie to give me foreboding strings to make the dark still rather than its usual restlessness. I couldn't say, exactly, but the movie didn't have whatever I wanted. That was apparent early on, but I kept watching. The movie neared what I had imagined, and I waited for it to near it again, which it did. I was in a kind of orbit. I was disappointed, but sometimes very close to not disappointed. Which might be close to the feeling the movie approached--of things falling away, of a destination infinitely far away. But then, unfortunately, things would come into grasp, and that heroism of having acheived things would return. Comic relief would butt in. Swinging swords would connect. Things not already dead would get in the way.

And if "excitement" did not interdict?

12 January 2013

Peter Jackson at his most memorable