A friend of mine has a twelve-year-old kid who is an enthusiastic fan of the horror genre – specifically, horror TikToks and video games, at least as filtered through Youtube streamer videos. I’ve been toying with the idea of showing her classic movies; initially, the idea was to show her a few classic horror movies, not out of a desire to ‘correct’ her taste (aside from having enjoyed worse things, I liked some of the examples she showed me), but in fact because I’m legitimately curious what someone whose idea of horror mostly draws on no-budget TikToks would think of Alien. In puzzling this over, I’ve decided that, whatever movies I do show her, I will break a personal habit and actually talk through the movie with her.
In thinking this over, I realise that I might actually be quite strange for preferring to remain dead silent through a movie, giving my full concentration over to it. I go to the point of turning off a movie I’m actually interested in if people are talking around me because otherwise I’m just not getting what I want out of it – I’ll talk after the movie. With this situation, though, I want two things: one, I would like to model proper media engagement beyond ‘I like it or I don’t’, and the best way to show the process of that is to show her the actual process of it – the small thoughts weaved together into larger thoughts, which obviously requires verbalising them. Two: I do, in fact, want to know what she thinks of different parts of a movie.
The other space where I love talking during through a movie is when I’m watching it with my best friend. Obviously, we have perfect chemistry where we understand each other’s thought process so intuitively that we know exactly what will make each other laugh and when, never undermining the genuinely serious moments nor allowing the sillier moments to go without a joke. Of course, I’m also comfortable using a movie I’ve seen before as background noise for socialising, even if I often find myself distracted by it.
How comfortable are you with talking through a movie? Which contexts are you okay with it and which are you not?