Advertised monthly subscription services for everything from dinners to cosmetics increase the breadth of our experiences. How does this enhanced exposure then influence our relationship with the subject matter?
I recently subscribed to MoviePass, a flat-rate monthly subscription service that lets me see one movie in theaters on every day of the month. This certainly encourages me to see more new releases, including those from genres I might otherwise shy away from, or movies rated below my usually high “tomato meter” standards. I’ve been surprised that not only do my monthly payments to MoviePass increase the variety of films I see, but it’s changed the way I relate to the movies I attend.
MoviePass’s subscription model of movie watching has changed my relationship to films. Instead of increased exposure reducing my patience for imperfections, the monthly commitment has moved me in a novel direction. My experience with MoviePass has made my inner critic a bit gentler. That’s not to say I no longer notice aspects of a film that don’t work for me, but cinematic shortcomings no longer cloud my enjoyment quite so heavily. I meet each movie on its own terms and am able to enjoy the valuable moments even when the film is flawed.
The ability to deeply enjoy the positive nuggets in an otherwise mediocre movie is to credit for my recent reaction to The Water Diviner. Russell Crowe’s directorial debut about an Australian father searching for his lost sons following their deaths /disappearances during World War I is overall not a movie that I’d recommend. I found it overly sentimental with some very bizarre cinematographic decisions, but I’m glad I saw it. Despite those critiques, I deeply appreciated the ornate local of Istanbul and the vastness of the Australian outback. I savored Crowe’s intensity and honesty as he searched for his boys, all while charmingly befriending a foreign child. Though I wouldn’t recommend the film, there were still positive bits that I delighted in discovering.
My gentler attitude towards movie viewing feels rooted in dialectics, which posits that two conflicting ideas can both be true. In The Water Diviner, unwelcome slow-motion shots do not counteract Istanbul’s beauty. Likewise, schmaltzy moments do not negate the depths of emotion that Crowe otherwise mines. MoviePass has not silenced my inner critic, rather it broadens the experiences I’m willing to receive. For increased willingness alone this subscription service has been worth its price.