When people ask me where I am from I often reply jokingly, “I’m from the Movie Planet.’ That’s what I reckon people from other planets would call us here on Earth. How many movies have I watched in my life? How many hours have I sat in front of a small or big screen watching a story unfold, acted out by my fellow species? The answer is almost inconceivable. We worship film as an arena to learn, dream, escape, and even vicariously live our lives from. We pay actors millions of dollars, more than doctors as well as nearly all the rest of us, and a lot of us see them as superhuman beings that are a step above the rest in our perceived realm of mundane normality that we have constructed our lives in. A lot of the time the result of this belief structure causes a lot of pain for these ‘famous’ souls who would rather just live a normal life outside their work. The hounding paparazzi definitely don’t make the actors feel superhuman!
Look, I like watching movies a lot, maybe even more than the ‘average person’, I just wonder about the relationship we have with this imagined reality we so often connect with. We choose to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on some movies like ‘Independence Day’ that end up being bombs in the box office, while there are billions of people in true reality on Earth who have nothing to eat. It seems like madness if you look at it from that angle. Do we watch these visions of ‘ourselves’ doing things so that we don’t have to think about what hard work we have to do in our real lives?
Even as I sit here on a Friday afternoon I am wondering if I should grab a DVD tonight to watch as an attempt to relax at home after a pretty hard working week. The funny thing is if I grab the ‘wrong’ type of movie, I may end up more stressed out than I am right now! So, am I addicted to these things? Are we all? I’ll let you think about it. To focus on the positive side of things, we must realize that we can learn so much from our experiences with the movies. We wouldn’t have become obsessed over nothing, now would we? I myself learn a lot and get to experience many emotions during the engrossing visual experience. I mean, I do have a big enough range of feelings in my real life, but it’s kind of cool being able to be in ‘The Matrix’ (maybe we already are?), or to be ‘Spiderman’ for a day, or maybe live in a weird world like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ for a few hours.
If you do love movies, these days there is one place to go that you can find out just about nearly anything and everything about a film, and even watch trailers of the shows. It’s called the Internet Movie Database or IMDB. Google it, or look for it on your other search engine. I believe this website started up very small from someone who just wanted to talk about movies. Now, it receives over 25 million ‘visits’ a month. It literally has everything you ever need to know about films. It gives biographies on movies, the actors and directors involved, as well as comments and ratings from people who have wanted to express their feelings about the films in question. For some of the movies, especially new ones that haven’t opened in theatres yet, there are previews and trailers you can watch right at your computer to tell you if you really think you should go and see it or not.
There’s also cool lists made up by visitors to the site like ‘Top 250 films’, and ‘100 worst films of all time’. There are articles related to the movie industry as well as many other interesting categories to look at like ‘Independent films’ and ‘Award winners’. Really, you’ve got to check it out yourself to see what I mean.
Whether you think movies are a great achievement by humanity to learn and be entertained with, or an obsession that has gone way too far, it looks as though they are here to stay. The questions remain: Is your life as good as the movies you watch? If you spend as much time in virtual reality as reality itself, what planet do you really come from?