I have a family. My wife and I have some similarities in our movie preferences, and some real differences (no surprises among the married crowd). I have a six year old daughter who is not likely to, as yet, enjoy watching many of the films I find interesting. And, with a family (who I love more than all the films in the world), I don’t get out to the local theater as much as I might like, and when I do, it is usually with my family. So I find myself trying to eke out a few viewings of “my” movies at home in between family time, home projects, work, homework (‘cause I’m back in school again), downtime, and whatever else pulls at my time; all of which are good, even if I don’t always manage my time very well.
The process of watching movies at home goes something like this: when I feel I have some time I put “my” film into the dvd player, my daughter asks what I am watching, I pause the opening credits and explain it to her, then she settles down next to me as we begin watching the film, soon she begins asking questions like – what language is this? What are they talking about? What is that? etc. – I try to explain, frequently pausing the film, occasionally I read her the subtitles as we watch the film, I pause the film again when my wife asks a question from the computer room, I pause the film again to let the dog outside for a potty break, my daughter then plays with her Legos as I resume the film, occasionally my daughter (who is half-paying attention) asks a question about the film or wants to show me what she has created, the dog wants up on the couch (we have a pug, who can jump up himself, but insists that one of us lift him to the couch), my wife asks if I have paid a particular bill or called someone like I had promised, then, about half-way into the film it is time to put my daughter to bed, once that is done I am too tired to continue my film, so I go to bed. The next evening (or two, or three) I try to finish the film to much the same scenario. And please know that I am not complaining.
All this is affected by a bad habit I got into years ago when I worked at a video store where I could take home any film I wanted after work. During that time I watched the first third of many, many films, but never finished most of them. So now, I have to force myself to get beyond the moment of tension I begin to feel at about a third of the way into any film – that is, the feeling that the other films in the stack next to the tv might be worth a looking at. I am getting better at finishing films, though.
I like the comfort of watching films at home. I like having the kitchen nearby. I like being able to pause the film to take care of business. I also love my family and would generally rather spend time with them than with a movie. But, I have to say, seeing a film in a theater has great advantages. One of which is the unstoppable momentum of the film. Unless you leave the theater you will see the film with relatively few distractions. It is like going to school. You could study a subject on your own, but school adds a level of impetus that carries one along. My suggestion to those who have a deeply abiding interest in film, who are developing their own ideas about film, and who are single (or relatively so), is to take this opportunity see as many films as possible so as to develop a foundation of knowledge and experience while you can.
One final word: Recently I have seen some sections of some great films with my daughter, these include The Seventh Seal, La Terra Trema, The Bicycle Thief, and others. I read the subtitles out loud and she asks questions. We have had some great times, and I believe she is getting introduced to some great works of art (to go along with the history of great painting that her mother is teaching her). She recently told me that when she grows up she wants to live on a farm and write books.