On Christmas Day 2001, my sister and brother-in-law invited me to see The Fellowship of the Ring with them at our local cinema. We arrived quite early; so much so that we had to sit on a bench outside the theater and wait for the cleaning crew to come out before taking our seats. When we did get in, there was nothing but white on the movie screen; my brother-in-law joked, "This is the short film before the movie; it's called Polar Bear in a Snow Storm!" As other folks trickled in, the normal pre-film advertising started, and even the trailers included an ad for the Nintendo GameCube, which, as a Nintendo fan, I liked. When the lights went down, it wasn't long until I became really antsy. I kept looking at my watch, wondering how long I was going to have to sit there, and the dramatic pauses after each line continually drove me insane. For years after that, I repeatedly said that I despised the world of Middle-Earth, simply because of that experience.
However, just last year, I bought the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy on DVD at a yard sale in my neighborhood. What changed? I realized that the problem I had wasn't with the movie; it was my attention span. At the time, I was not much of a movie watcher; I had a favorite show--Diff'rent Strokes--but, when that wasn't on, I was usually spending my spare time playing video games or on the Internet. With most of my entertainment--that is, pretty much everything except sitcoms--I preferred to do it a little at a time. That probably stemmed from my Mac CD-ROM, Super NES, and Game Boy Color games, almost all of which had some sort of "save" feature. Instead of attempting to finish them in one sitting, which would have been quite grueling in most cases, I simply played them for a little while, then "bookmarked" my progress on the game's cartridge or my hard drive to come back to it later. The same concept probably goes even farther back to the days when I read like crazy; I couldn't have finished those thick books in just one sitting.
Since then, watching movies a little at a time has become standard procedure. In fact, I didn't care for the second and third Harry Potter flicks the first time I saw them, partly because I was trying to watch them in one sitting. (The other reason? I hadn't finished watching the first one, so I had trouble understanding the next two!) Though some movies are easily watched all at once--for example, The Avengers had me hook, line, and sinker almost from the start--most of them, even some of my favorites, are ones I just can't view in one sitting. Thankfully, technology, both new and old, makes it easy to do that. VHS tapes stay in the same place unless you rewind or fast forward them; DVD and Blu-Ray players usually remember your place on a disc unless you take it out, and Mac and Windows computers will "save" your stopping point; and, the Videos app on iPods, iPads, and similar devices will keep your place if you switch apps or turn the device off.
To many people, that sounds ridiculous; how could anyone not be able to sit through just one whole movie? Frankly, I sometimes wonder how most people can sit still long enough for multiple movies, which seems to be a common thing. Who knows? Maybe, if I hadn't been raised on books and computer/video games with save files, me not watching movies all at once wouldn't be the case; still, that's the life I live. Such traits is why this blog is called Siobhan Thinks Differently.
P. S.: This is an attempt to express my thoughts without coming off as staunchly defensive or preachy. Did I do it?