Discuss: What to Watch

So I’m curious: how do you decide what to watch?


Do you make a list you actually stick to, or have a pile of movies and work through it very systematically? Or do you just grab something randomly, based on a review you just read or a friend’s suggestion? Do you get on tangents and completist kicks where you suddenly have to see every oneΒ of So-and-So’s films? <–this is usually my way. How often do you challenge yourself to watch something you wouldn’t ordinarily (I do this more now than I used to), andΒ how often do you revisit old favourites?

Discuss (or, if not, just tell what you saw this week that was great.)

MU movie night - Finding Screamo. #sogood



26 thoughts on “Discuss: What to Watch”

  1. I always have a pile, of course, but I find that at any given moment only a couple look appealing. From there it’s usually easy. I also have regular viewing times. The Sunday morning movie (about ten o’clock), the Friday movie (always at eight), and the Saturday block (two or more arranged around my chores). That makes it easy! Without regular times, whim takes over, and I end up watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory or following Youtube links of Black sea fiddle music (etc). I figure that if I can dedicate regular time to my job, then movies should get equal regularity, wot?

    1. yes I really agree, that’s a good system and I’ve gotten much more serious about keeping to my daily “movie time” than I used to be. All social media and email off at that time, movie only! then like you, I always have something on as I do chores during the day too. Thanks for chiming in!

  2. Fun topic!

    I have a big typewritten list of many, many pages divided into DVDs and VHS, and again divided between “new to me” films and “watch again” films. I use the list for inspiration and also line through the films I watch to keep track of my viewing. At the end of each year I delete the titles I saw, type in titles I had pencilled in over the course of the year as I acquired them, and print a new list.

    Beyond that, I have “hot lists” and “hot stacks” (grin) — movies I’ve recently read about that sound good and I’d like to get to quickly, lists of films by actors I like, movies that go with the time of year (i.e., Memorial Day, Christmas), etc.

    At any given time there are about 500 movies I really want to watch “next”…I’m sure my fellow film fans can relate…the final choice is determined by random things such as my mood, the movie’s running time, the need to return a ClassicFlix rental or get a screener review posted, or the request of a family member.

    I challenge myself a little more than I used to, for instance in the last year I’ve watched roughly half a dozen foreign language films, mostly Japanese, and several silents. Gradually stretching my viewing comfort zones!

    Roughly 15% of my viewing is revisiting movies I’ve seen before. Usually it’s because it’s a movie I really liked, but sometimes it’s because I no longer remember the film well (so it’s almost a “new” movie) or because I want to reassess a film I was iffy about for various reasons (i.e., a few days ago I rewatched THUNDER BAY, having become a Dan Duryea fan since my first viewing, and liked it more the second time).

    Looking forward to reading other responses!

    Best wishse,

    1. hi! that’s really interesting and I admire your system! You well know I always joke about the endless to watch list. I have massive WANT lists but for viewing I’m finding keeping to a plan never works for me because my interests change on a dime, based on a genre or person I just saw.

      Having said that, your posts on the movies you make yourself watch every year, are a great idea I’ve copied! So I set for myself a few titles a month that I wouldn’t otherwise, for example I never used to make time for 70’s, foreign (not a snob about any movies, just always grabbed my fav eras/genres first), and I’m finding it’s opening a lot more areas of interest for me, new paths that I can skip along with my basket, picking up more goodies.

      Part of my addiction to following so many blogs in my reader is that I get so many new ideas on things to watch from them all…

      1. I try to do that, as well…and ‘try’ is the key word. πŸ™‚ Back on my Claytonology blog, I tried a “Spaghetti a Day for 30 Days” marathon, because I didn’t really care for Spaghetti westerns at the time, and I wanted to “get” them (I liked every kind of western but those…It was a problem that needed fixing). Though I didn’t make the whole 30, I did finally understand what they were, and now I’m playing catch-up to all those brilliant Italian jobbies!

        …but it seems, no matter how many 80’s/90’s I force myself to watch, I can’t find much for me! πŸ™‚

        1. those are always good exercises to do, and you learn so much that way. I think you really have to hit a balance of expanding your horizons and just going with what you get hungry for to make it fun.

          I might add that blogs like yours give me lots of ideas too

          1. Thanks so much. πŸ™‚ I feel the same. I’m relatively new to looking at other blogs…I’ve had some bad experiences in other types of geek-o-verse; so many are insular, self-referencing, pedantic, clique-ish and political. I’ve been pleasantly surprised and impressed by classic film people. Very cool in general, fanatical (in all the good ways), and though knowledgeable, most are aware that very few of us are experts. That humility and passion have been inspiring to me. I love Blogathons, too! I’m doing my best work for them, and they lift my general game considerably.

            Apropos of the original topic, I’m having a bit of a struggle over what to watch to-day…!

  3. Wow, that’s a tricky one. Recently I’ve actually had a lot of trouble when it comes to deciding one what movies I want to watch, at least out of the ones I own. Sometimes there’s one or two I particularly feel like seeing, but half the time I open the drawer and get overwhelmed and indecisive. Of course, when I’m going to the theater I usually don’t have too much trouble deciding, though I usually figure out what movie I’m going to see in advance.

    Recently I’ve been dealing with the problem by working my way through a few collections. I’ve got this collection of B-movies (supposedly “Sci-Fi classics, but there’s a lot of them that leave me wondering what exactly the sci-fi aspect is), and I’ve just been watching them in order of discs, i.e. I watch the three on disc one, then flip it over to watch the three on the other side, and then move on to disc 2. I’ve also got a collection of film noir I started working through but I haven’t watched it in a while.

    As for what I’ve watched, I did see a really bad (even by b-movie standards) film from the “Sci-fi classics” collection called ‘Horrors of Spider Island’, which barely had any spiders and was mostly about the main characters just missing the alleged “horrors” and failing to notice, plus a whole plot thread in which one guy is somehow turned into an invincible monster after being bit by a spider and one point where for twenty or thirty minutes where the movie literally just abandons its plot so the characters can have a party.

    That said, I did recently see an interesting film called ‘Walker’, which I even wrote a review on (http://hitchcocksworld.blogspot.ca/2014/06/walker-brutal-study-of-american.html) and last night I saw Hancock, which wasn’t necessarily a masterpiece but actually kinda fun.

    1. I know, a lot of time can get wasted by choosing what to watch, just pick something already, I have to say to myself. browsing can become an addiction in itself– Try doing a once a week blind pick, where you just reach into that drawer and watch whatever comes out, I do that often. I love those bargain sets too (currently have a peplum/sword & sandal one out) and you see a lot of obscure stuff for pennies that way, even if they stink! Movies are like a grocery, sometimes steak and other times cheezits, it’s all good! Thanks for dropping in and letting us know what you saw

  4. I usually go between piles of DVDs, my embarrassingly over-grown PVR-list, sometimes Netflix, and occasionally YouTube, and I love making trips to the library or the video store even when I have all of the above to go through. It’s chaos. When all else fails, my go-tos are noir, and horror. Eventually, I’d love to be as organized as Laura!

    1. so many formats make it easier to find something you’re craving, so we are very lucky that way, we can usually find something the moment we want to see it.and don’t forget thrifting! No matter how many unwatched we have, it’s always fun to hunt for more. Actually now you mention it Youtube browsing has led me to the wildest finds I would never even know to search for. Thanks for the visit!

  5. I get lost in “the movie room” generally i am like the kid lost in the candy store and eventually settle on something older. As much as I try to keep up with newer films i seem to fall back on older titles. I did catch a newer Dafoe movie called The Hunter that was interesting. Many times i will binge on an actor if i am reading a bio on them. And of course there are many films i revisit every couple of years.
    Nice topic and plenty of feedback.

    1. and I get to benefit from your thrifting and hunting πŸ™‚ — also our challenge movies are a great way to see things we might not otherwise have noticed, so that’s a really fun thing to do. Watching while reading a bio is good for extra background. I have to say I don’t manage to revisit many old favs since I’m always moving on to discover something new.

  6. My system is largely based around staring at my heaving shelves with a mounting sense of despair and confusion until I find myself muttering “Dammit man, just choose something!”
    My “to watch” pile has now reached the stage where it could be described as shocking or even embarrassing, and that’s just the way I refer to it myself. I really do need to hit on some way of making a decision and starting to reduce the number of unwatched titles. The problem is I’m far too skittish and disorganized to actually stick too it. *Sigh*

    1. I know, my to watch section is probably half of my collection (!!) let’s face it we’ll never get around to seeing them all, there’s an infinite number to discover and it’s great to have many on hand for when some craving strikes you. The best system is: reach out and grab one.

    2. I’m sure we’ve all had those moments of “analysis paralysis” where the choices are all so appealing, we linger too long deciding and it gets late so we don’t end up watching anything at all, LOL!!!

      Best wishes,

      1. I went to a place in Seattle called Scarecrow Video back in the 90’s; the selection was so amazing (especially in those days), that I left without renting anything…dazed and delirious. πŸ™‚

        Now, with everything so available, I really needed to implement a system to mitigate the influence of my whims in order to get any serious watching done!

  7. The pile is definitely back-up, but most intense movie-watching comes when I’m following a chain of related titles (often in conjunction with a post) or hooked on a new favorite star. At the moment the pile is serving Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce Sherlock Holmes movies, while the star search is focusing on working my way through Zita Johann’s short catalog.

    1. when you get interested in somebody and want the crash course, that’s when the giant collection/ to watch pile justifies itself ! πŸ™‚ because you have it in there “just in case” of times like Zita-fest

  8. There is no rhyme or reason to my movie viewing. I have so many films, I just pick one up and watch it. I now really like the free on demand movies that cable offers from TCM and the Fox Movie channel, so I’m watching a lot of that lately.
    If I hear a suggestion, I might watch that movie as well. I’ll even watch multiple films at one time. I rarely watch a whole film from start to finish during the Summer because baseball takes priority.
    I have been revisiting alotta movies from past favorite actors and actresses. Some can be better the second or third time around.
    I also am mixing in watching some rare Merv Griffin interviews lately, alotta fun. I never know what is going to be next, I like it that way πŸ™‚ .

    1. I used to be very picky about not sitting down to watch a movie unless I could finish it in one sitting. And then get really annoyed when I couldn’t, but life is such that I just grab movies in dribs & drabs whenever. Turns out I get through more that way. A lot of movies should be revisited (like what Laura mentioned below re Duryea) because with age & knowledge you get more out of some of them, and also in my case, the essentials I saw early on, I didn’t know much about the people in them then.

  9. Ooh, interesting topic!
    I’m not at all organized, although I have a mental wishlist. I’ll go through spurts of watching movies with a particular actor, or from a specific genre, or that have some common link. Usually, watching one movie will trigger an interest in someone/something, and I’ll hunt down more. Or I’ll start out with the idea that I want to watch a 30s comedy, or a noir, or whatever, and browse until I find something interesting. Sometimes I spend too much time looking; that’s when I tell myself to just pick something already.
    A lot is serendipity – sometimes a movie is available via streaming service or elsewhere, and I try to watch those ASAP while they’re still available. Actually, that’s one reason why I haven’t seen some major classics: they’re readily available, and so I put them off! I like to watch little-known, obscure titles while I can. πŸ™‚

  10. I watched two famous movies for the first time in the past week: Laura and Murder My Sweet. Honestly! I’ve never seen them before!

    As far as a system goes, I have none. That’s why my blog topics are all over the place…


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