First Impressions Are the Most Important

Travis McClain

Bats: R, Throws: R. How Acquired: Traded for a player to be named later. I hold a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Louisville, earned in history. I have lived with Crohn's disease since 2005, and chronic depression since my youth. I bring into each film that I view a world view shaped by those and other parts of my background. I try to be mindful of the socio-political themes and implications of movies, intended or otherwise, and that surely shows in my blog pieces. I also love doughnuts.

You may also like...

5 Responses

  1. I wrote about this on my own blog specifically as it related to comedies. Slightly different example that I was using — I nearly had my enjoyment of I Love You, Man ruined by the fact that the people near me were laughing too MUCH, too early, at parts that weren’t that funny yet. They were also talking, and reacted rudely when I shushed them, so I started to think I Love You, Man was something that could only be appreciated by morons. Fortunately, my wife and I moved seats to the other side of the theater, and started laughing at our own pace, at which point, the movie was salvaged.

    I tend to agree with your overall principle, but I also tend to avoid really crowded moviegoing experiences, so I’m wondering if I’m missing out on the true experience of movies I end up really loving/hating. One other quick comment about a good comedy: I definitely don’t agree that you HAVE to see it with other people in order for it to be funny enough. The film I may have laughed hardest at in the past two years — Step Brothers — was something I saw at the drive-in, with only my wife in the car.

  2. Travis McClain says:

    Derek, I didn’t mean to imply that you “HAVE to see” a comedy with a crowd to enjoy it. I merely suggest that a comedy benefits from a crowd.

    It’s funny you cited “I Love You, Man” because I had the exact opposite experience: my wife and I went with a friend and we comprised a third of the audience. We were the only ones who actually laughed at any of the movie, and felt self-conscious doing it. It certainly dampened the experience. I think it would have been more fun had we seen it by ourselves than with other people who weren’t audibly enjoying the film.

  3. Agreed, Travis, and I didn’t meant to say you implied anything — I was just providing counter-intuitive evidence based on an experience I’d had.

    I think any kind of disparities of laughter — too much or too little by the people around you — can ruin your experience of a comedy. Paradoxically, then, could it be that comedies are best experienced at home? That doesn’t seem to make sense, does it? Still, I like the purity of deciding what I will laugh at, when, without being affected by what other people are doing. It works for the sitcoms we love, so why not for movies?

    I do agree that there are certain movies that are best seen with crowds, namely, the blockbusters you mentioned. In those crowds, people tend to cheer even when the movie is not great, which might make you like the movie more. Because even as much as we all fancy ourselves film snobs, wouldn’t you prefer to artificially like a movie more rather than to artificially like it less? We do go to the movies to enjoy ourselves, after all. If we hate ourselves in the morning, at least we’ll have that temporary enjoyment.

  4. Travis McClain says:

    Derek, you bring up a divergent subject that has long been on my mind. For some reason, I prefer TV comedy to movie comedy. I can re-watch “Cheers” re-runs ad nauseum, and they’re still funny to me. I can’t say that about nearly any movie comedies, though Judd Apatow might be changing that with his work as director (not necessarily the movies he merely produces). I hesitate to discuss this any further right now, partly because it threatens to go too far off-topic, and partly because it might be the focus of my next blog entry.

    I like the spirit of your term “artificially liking a movie,” but I’m not entirely comfortable with the wording. I think when you get caught up in the energy of an audience, while that isn’t part of the film, it is part of your experience — which, to bring us full circle, affects how we feel about a film.

  5. Ah, but you missed the qualifier “more.” I guess a better way to say it would be having your opinion “environmentally inflated” or “environmentally depressed.”

    Good discussion!