Last night I watched twenty minutes of Major Dundee. A few days ago I watched five minutes of The Usual Suspects. This morning I watched part of The Thin Red Line before watching all but twenty minutes of Heat. I never purposely set out to not watch all of a film and I’m not really sure what happens or why, but my attention often drifts.Maybe I have Attention Deficit Disorder; but unfortunately it wasn’t recognized when I was a child, so I was never diagnosed with it. My mind wonders and then I start the movie again– but now I’ve lost it. Or rather, the film has lost it. Lost its flow. I decide to make a sandwich and pour a glass of beer and then come back.The situation that occurs when I return is symptomatic of a bigger problem.
Namely that my moods swing erratically when it comes to film watching. I really have to be in the mood to watch a film. Often, when I stare at my DVD collection, wondering what to watch; it’s not so much about what is a good movie but more what film will match my mood. I need my fix of film, but it has to be the right prescription.For example, last night I was in a carefree, happy, Meg-Ryan-is-a princess mood so I reached for Addicted to Love. I’ve seen it countless times but Meg always takes me on a ride in this film, with her natural sparkle, and a comedic grace rarely seen on screen. It was rare back in the 90s, but seems even rarer now. I was swept away in the moment, but as the film was playing, I had an idea for a great debate feature between Addicted to Love and One Fine Day. I paused the DVD and began typing. Half an hour later I realized my idea was hardly original. I turned off the computer and returned to the movie. But now I was angry at myself for starting a film and not finishing it, the magic had been lost.So my mood swung back to One Fine Day. Believe it or not, I haven’t watched this film at all this year, ever since I lent it to Olga at work, who decided to let her cat sharpen its claws on the data side of the disc. I decided to try it, in the hope the disc would work. It did, and like that the spell was cast. The film was as good as I remembered and Michelle was radiant, so talented and so beautiful. I was falling for Pfeiffer all over again when the ringing of a telephone shattered the illusion. Interlude over I couldn’t get back into the movie. I’d seen it too many times before, so I skipped to the scene at the Bethesda Fountain and then took the disc out.It’s often like that.The scenario isn’t unusual. I’ve experienced fragments of these films many, many times before. I do sometimes wonder though if it’s good to keep watching random scenes from the same movies, and then I went back and watched the beautiful dissolve that occurs 58 minutes into Addicted to Love, proof that film is an incomparable medium, a supernova from which a boundless array of images might emerge.