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What lessons from movie going have you applied to real life?

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I recently heard my mom talk about not being able to understand joy unless you understand sorrow. This made me think of how one needs to understand bad movies as well as good movies, otherwise you're still on the basics. Watching bad movies gives proper insight to what makes movies good, which I figured out a long time ago. Usually I get bored when someone lectures me on something I figured out ages ago, but hearing my mom talking like that was a little new for me because for a long time her lectures on life weren't always so cheery, so I had the idea for this thread because of it.



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What lessons from movie going have you applied to real life?

  • That going to the movies is too expensive...just like a lot of things in life are. And just like in life you can usually find the same thing much cheaper and still have just as much joy out of it.
  • That crowds are like a movie theater best avoided if you want peace and quiet.
  • That people make up their own narrative all the time, same as movies do.



Mostly, they've given me an increased focus on empathy, based in the description of film as an Empathy Machine. They've encouraged me to see things from other points of view, which, whether any one thing persuades you, simply reminds me you to approach disagreements, beliefs, and situations with more humility than you would otherwise. They also make more vivid a personal mantra of mine, based on an old quote: "Everyone you meet is going through a struggle." This is easier to believe, on a deeper and more meaningful level, if you're in the habit of lending your attention and emotions to other people, even when those people are fictional.
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Ferris Bueller gave me an epiphany when I was going through a bad period of anxiety. It taught me 'Stop worrying about stuff that will/will not happen, just let what happens happen'.

Sometimes it can be hard to remember that, but that film definitely taught me the message.
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Never take an infant to a movie theater where a movie made primarily for adults is playing and where mostly adults have paid to watch a movie in an environment where they can hear the dialogue without distractions.



Setsuko Hara is my co-pilot
What I learnt from movie-watching:

Either nothing or everything. I don't think one should watch films to become a better person or to learn something (unless a documentary for learning facts, although those are prone to propaganda and manipulation, too, but that's besides the point). Watching films is an extremely personal experience and as such it has more to do with learning about yourself than about the world. The ultimate goal of experiencing art is expanding your sensitivity and empathy, not becoming smarter. I find many quotes and ideas from movies that I retrospectively agree with, some new watches that correspond to my current outlook on life, but I can't really say I watched a film that changed me morally, and made me say "From now on, I will be a better person". If you can, then more power to you, but I think it's a little bit naive to believe that, and weak of you to let a single thing affect you so much. It should be more of a process, I guess, but who am I to judge.

If anything, movies gave me an expressive, poetic frame of mind, but it's just an adornment of what I always felt like. Yes, I have changed, but in a way I did not change at all.

Here's a movie quote that's important to me:

It's from Mekas' As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty. When I was watching the film for the first time in 2013 I didn't even take notice of it, but somehow along the years it's become me.

You see, it's not so much what I learnt, it's what/how I became.

What I learnt from precisely watching films at cinema:

Bigger does not necessarily mean better, especially when there's lots of talking. I'd rather have it small, but quiet. (now how gay does it sound)
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I don't think one should watch films to become a better person
I'm having trouble understanding this/reconciling it with all these other things, which sound very much like "[becoming] a better person":

learning about yourself
expanding your sensitivity and empathy
I also find it difficult to square these things with your conclusion:

I can't really say I watched a film that changed me morally, and made me say "From now on, I will be a better person". If you can, then more power to you, but I think it's a little bit naive to believe that, and weak of you to let a single thing affect you so much.
How can films teach you more about yourself and expand your "sensitivity and empathy" in a way that doesn't make you a better person?



I thought I was going to the movies in real life...

Oh, I get it. You're talking about applying movie going to other areas of life.

Well, I caught the bus going to the movie, so I figured I would catch the bus going to work too.

Am I doing it right?



Setsuko Hara is my co-pilot
How can films teach you more about yourself and expand your "sensitivity and empathy" in a way that doesn't make you a better person?
"learning about yourself" = learning about your sensitivity, what moves you, what excites you, what saddens you - it's very selfish.

Sensitivity towards art, empathy towards fictional characters and events. I've seen enough skunks loving humanist masterpieces. As much as I hate to admit it, you can't learn life from movies.



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Lethal Weapon 2 taught me to always check if there's a bomb underneath the toilet.
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"learning about yourself" = learning about your sensitivity, what moves you, what excites you, what saddens you - it's very selfish.

Sensitivity towards art, empathy towards fictional characters and events. I've seen enough skunks loving humanist masterpieces. As much as I hate to admit it, you can't learn life from movies.
I'd say its moreso that people can have a very strong capacity for self justification, for short circuiting the kind of empathy they can express at fictional/ised characters and situations.

I don't think that's an argument against building empathy in the first place though and most research I'v seen does tend to suggest that repeated exposure helps build the capacity for it.

I would tend to agree with you that cinema generally isn't the best medium for imparting very specific information though, it works much better focusing on emotional response and broader ideas.



I think if you watch great movies you can learn a lot about life. Movies that criticise their characters and demonstrate arguments and misunderstandings. You can also learn about history from historically accurate movies. I've put a lot of effort into finding movies that push my boundaries and expand my appreciation of art. Then, you can also learn a lot about cinematic technique.



"learning about yourself" = learning about your sensitivity, what moves you, what excites you, what saddens you - it's very selfish.
It can be, but that's on us, not the movies. Art can teach us about ourselves, but it's what you choose to do with that knowledge that's either selfish or self-improving.

Sensitivity towards art, empathy towards fictional characters and events.
I don't think empathy works that way. How could it? You watch a film, empathize with the characters, but you're not becoming a better person because they're fictional. Except, wait, you realize it was based on a true story. Poof, suddenly you've improved as a person after all?

The whole point of empathy is that you care and understand about another's perspective or situation, something which doesn't hinge on that perspective or situation being real, because in some sense the whole problem is that nobody else's is real to you, anyway, the way your own is. That's why empathy is necessary in the first place.

I've seen enough skunks loving humanist masterpieces.
Saying that people can improve through experiencing art is not the same thing as saying everyone who experiences art will improve (let alone improve enough to be a good person).

As much as I hate to admit it, you can't learn life from movies.
I agree in the sense of "you can't learn life only from movies." I pretty strongly disagree if it means "you can't learn anything about life from movies." I think you can learn a lot about life through art, even if only indirectly. If not, what are we even doing? Just amusing ourselves? That seems to dramatically undersell what this medium is capable of.



Ghouls, vampires, werewolves... let's party.
I don't learn squat from movies. I watch movies only to alleviate boredom. If I want to learn something I'll go to the library.




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They've encouraged me to see things from other points of view, which, whether any one thing persuades you, simply reminds me you to approach disagreements, beliefs, and situations with more humility than you would otherwise. They also make more vivid a personal mantra of mine, based on an old quote: "Everyone you meet is going through a struggle."
Movies & books both do this for me. I find that people who neither read or watch movies often have a very limited view of the world. Watching movies & reading introduce me to a huge variety of characters, warts & all.

Paraphrasing your mantra, in the Catholic Church we sometimes say that everyone has his own bag of rocks to carry. One often thinks that oneís own bag is much heavier than the next personís. I know I do. Even though books & movies tell me otherwise.
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Just because you didn't learn anything in school because you didn't pay attention in class doesn't mean other schools weren't very good at teaching other people a lot.



Discover I've figured out how to develop viewing choices to like SUPER-strong enthusiasm, where my day brightens no matter what happens. But I can't be sure those I know in my life quite "get" it all the way. I'm not even sure how you actually fully share that kind of thing or if it even can be shared out in life.