Or, no, not yet
Nope. Haven’t watched The Tin Drum yet. I’m a pioneer, if you think about it; who ever heard of someone reading the book but slacking off about watching the movie? I know my whole deal is literary and incisive and brilliant, so not to burst anyone’s bubble too much, but in college, I did it the regular way (watching the movie instead of reading the book) more than once. In my defense: this was a class called Cinema and Literature; we read books and watched the film adaptations of them. He was kind of asking for people to do that, no?
I’ve been training, a little,for the marathon that will be watching a 2+ hour German movie as a person who now almost exclusively watches television. I watched Another Round, which was excellent, and… that might be it for movies. I watched Squid Game in Korean with subtitles, not dubbed; any points for me there?
I was 17 when I took Cinema and Literature; it was my first semester at NYU. I wonder what freshman me would have said if I told her that in 19 years a global pandemic would, among other effects, like ripples in a pond, wreak havoc on my attention span specifically in a way that made it difficult to watch a movie. I can still read books and finish crafting projects from beginning to end and watch, so help me, every acclaimed television series that has ever existed (and plenty of trash), but movies are tough. Why? How? How did this happen?
My junior year, I lived in Paris, which has, at least it did at the time, the most movie screens per capita in the world. Good God did I see a lot of movies in Paris. Old movies, American movies, world cinema, stupid box office stuff (fun fact: Meet the Fockers in French is called, literally, Me and My Parents and My Wife and Her Parents). I saw Citizen Kane and M and Laura and Deliverance and What’s New Pussycat? and The 39 Steps and Dr. Strangelove. I saw that many movies like each week; those are just the ones I remember off the top of my head.
Back in New York, in 2007 I was a movie reviewer, and saw everything. (If you go to that link, you can see little sneak previews of my reviews, but they no longer exist in their entirety because the New York Press no longer exists; death of print media, etc. etc.) It was an apt year for me to be a movie reviewer, because I think I would have seen everything anyway. I’d take these super long walks after work in Chelsea up and down Manhattan and punctuate them with a screening. I’m a movie person, is what I’m saying to you.
And yet, here we are. Look at that joyful little girl in the photo, cuddling with her mother in the woods behind their house. She was more of a TV person, too, her favorites being Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, and Muppet Babies.
Just an interval this time. No big epiphany about life here, just keeping it transparent and saying yup, still haven’t watched the movie. I will, because if I don’t I can’t ever finish this project — I have a whole plan, see; next entry is about the movie, and then a final one, where I really sum it all up and drive it home. Is it refreshing, reader, to read about the inability to do something, about procrastination? (That’s a mostly rhetorical question, but if your answer is yes, I recommend Nicholson Baker’s The Anthologist and, tangentially, Barton Fink and Contempt, more good movies from my movie-watchin’ days.)
You ready for a surprise ending? I’m watching this thing tomorrow night. It’s happening. Don’t call me up and ask if I want to go do something fun, because I’ll be watching The Tin Drum. Don’t do it! Put down that phone!