My friends know me well enough not to ask if I’ve seen a recent movie, or really any movie. My lack of movie-watching, however, is not a part of some anti-movie mindset. If people ask why I don’t watch movies, my answer is not quite what they expect: I get bored and restless. I suspect they assume (correctly) that I prefer books, and that my preference is the primary reason why I watch so few movies.
I joke that I usually watch one movie a year in the theater. Besides that, I might watch a couple at home with my family, yet if I’m watching a movie with my family, I have to combat the urge to read a magazine article while watching. If I’m home with just my kids and my wife is working, I often yield to my preference and do something else while the movie is playing. Simply put, I don’t have the attention span for films most of the time.
There are exceptions I’ve made. My wife and I drove to Austin one Saturday night to see the independent film Columbus, which I loved. I was intrigued by the film mainly because the soundtrack was composed by one of my favorite musical artists, Hammock. I’m excited to see the film Wildlife because it’s based on the novel by one of my favorite authors, Richard Ford.
Now, I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with movies. But if it’s a choice between watching a two-hour movie or reading a book, I’ll choose the book 999 times out of 1,000. If I’m watching a film, I’m regularly pining for the pages I could have been reading instead. Even on my flights to and from Lithuania in May, I did not watch any movies. I watched a little bit of an NBA playoff game. Most of the time, I read, wrote, or listened to music.
At this point in my life, I am more cognizant of the number of books I have yet to read that I want to read. They sit on my shelves at home. They sit on my shelves in my office at the university. For some folks, they have their list of movies they want to get to, and I have my list of books. They can enjoy their screens, and I’ll enjoy my pages.