Upon Leaving the Theatre…

You may be seeing a bit more of me on here in the coming weeks due to the fact my bank balance and social life have taken a somewhat terminal dip so I shall be using this online journal (I refuse to use the word blog) as a time sink. This is very similar to what I did at the beginning of last year when similar things happened. Lucky for you I will not be listing my favourite things like some ‘roid-rage version of the Von-Fucking-Trapps but merely banging on about bullshit nobody except me even cares about.

Except this post!

I recently went to see the movie Hanna at the Cinema, which is a peculiar and underrated gem of a movie I recommend finding on DVD when it comes out, and when I left I took note of something I have always done but shamefacedly ignored. Due to the internet and ALL current media’s obsession with stupid, tell-all, frank and unflinching, dull-as-you-like, weep-a-thons I have decided it is time to cash in. So what is this horrible shame I committed? Well, you can wait a sec. You see, I noticed this and ‘tweeted’ (fucking hell, much as I love twitter, that’s a stupid bit of argot) what I caught myself doing only to receive positive response and practical ratification so decided I should come clean about a few other similar instances.

What I did was this;

I strolled out of the cinema and into a supermarket. In this supermarket it was quiet. Aisles were empty. Footsteps rang hollowly around the linoleum and whispered conversations were held just out of range. Corridor scenes from the Shining swam before my eyes and I searched dramatically for a camera whilst hearing atmospheric music playing inside my head. In short, I was pretending I was in the movie. Stopping short when realising this mounting tension was building to nothing more than me grabbing full fat milk and seeded bread, I realised what I was doing and realised I’d been doing it since I was about 4. This was perhaps something I should be ashamed of. No. No dammit. I had enjoyed the film so much it had left me with the atmosphere it had created and good films do that. Bad films do that to but it feels more like a cloying stench of death than a brooding or heart pounding call to adventure. So I got home went on twitter and remembered someone admitting to walking down the train aisle while it was in motion with his hands in his pockets because he just knew everyone was looking at him and thinking how fucking cool he was. Something I do too. Something I am also aware is a bullshit diving bell in the ocean of reason. What I liked though was the amusing admission. So I myself admitted my personal idiocy and as I mentioned received confirmation and affirmation. Since then I saw Attack the Block and I won’t go into detail but after the police were called in to remove the guy racing around the council block with a lump of 2×4 after two Alsatians and a Pitbull, I figured it was time for online therapy.

So in short; Do you do that?

This varies greatly in its scope. Immersion is the glue that holds this together. A good film should immerse you in its world till the credits and it should take time to shift. The zenith for me was Saving Private Ryan when I had to have counseling for post traumatic stress for months after the credits rolled. Computer games have this in spades. Well, good ones do anyway. Playing Gears of War for too long caused me to view everything as possible cover, something my girlfriend objected to when it took half an hour to get to the shops on foot. And when I was ill playing Red Dead Redemption, the mildly hysterical fever dreams of me as a cowboy still haunt me. Unfortunately, this is where wires cross in the media about the Columbine Massacre, Youth of Today, etc…

I was being facetious earlier. I did not mount an attack on four-legged creatures and nor would any sane person. HOWEVER. Claiming that films/games do not change your emotional state after seeing/playing them after having said you want to BE Indiana Jones right after seeing it like I did last week, is a bit ‘No True Scotsman’. A good film/game should change your mood though (I’ve lost count of the times I felt my thumb fumbling for the free flow button when encountering Hipsters after a long bout on Arkham Asylum). It means it has involved you and affected you in a way some mediums cannot. BUT! This does not mean it encourages the behaviour. You would have to be particularly dense to think you could take on fifty armed men, or jumping on mushrooms awards you coins or that something as trivial as high velocity rounds to the face can be treated with standing out of range for a few seconds to catch your breath.

No, games nor films are not realistic enough to be “encouraging” but with games like Manhunt and Condemned and films like Hanna where a little girl goes around emasculating and eviscerating several government officials, the argument does grow weak. However, computer games and films are art, no matter what idiots and toffs may say, and therefore come under the terms of free speech. The right to depict or say what ever the fuck you like should always be inherent in our genetic make up as our freedom of expression and thought is what makes us human and yes that does very much extend to the brilliant and exciting new mediums of today. This gentlemen said it better here. Admittedly these things can/do create apathy and perhaps desensitise their audience to what they depict but they are also new and involving ways of telling a story and getting a message across. But my main reason for mentioning this is that it is escapism and God knows we need it in our current decadent yet intellectually bankrupt society. The idea of flitting off to alien worlds or bringing justice to the scum of the underworld or giving the greedy cabal of soulless business men what for is an appealing prospect and if this much scoffed at and vilified immersion is the payment for entry I will sell myself outright to it for the fleeting thrill of watching someone leap 30 feet in the air, flip over and curb stomp a bad guy into the dirt.

So do you do it too? If so, when? What was it made you do it and how did it manifest itself? I personally like to generate this particular mood without watching the film.

Music is great for creating your own atmosphere so here are some choice pieces to turn around suddenly and narrow your eyes suspiciously at;

A good couple of slow building tension ones (good for big reveal/denouement moments) –

Hunting someone down? –

Need an emotional crescendo? –

Or do you just need plain pumping up? –

Tell me your own, I am honestly interested, because I am a nerd. In the meantime; Try not to lose yourself too much…


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