How I Choose My Movies and Books

For my last birthday, Sidney bought me an Apple TV. This device allows me to watch Netflix and stream programming from countless networks and services. I have really grown to like it, especially now since the depressing lull in the sporting calendar has arrived. Each day last week Sidney and I watched a different movie via my Apple TV.

Who chooses which movies we watch? Well, we actually do it very diplomatically. Most of the time we will just switch off on who selects the film. Monday night Sid would choose, Tuesday night I would choose, Wednesday night Sid would choose, etc. Occasionally, we will even concede the choice on our appointed day and beg the other to make the selection.

As you might expect, we choose drastically different movies. Sidney opts for romantic comedies and family movies. I like the horror movies, thrillers, and documentaries. But perhaps even more contrasting than what movies we select is how we select them.

For as long as I can remember, I have selected the books and movies I consume by relying heavily on my gut and minimally on actual information.

When I select books at the library, I might read the first couple sentences of the inside cover and make my decision right then. If I like the setting and the very basic premise of the book I will take it home with me and start reading. I hate to have the plot laid out for me beforehand. I like to discover it myself as I read through and not have ideas swirling around in my head about what is going to happen. I want to be just as surprised with the plot as I am about the ending.

I get even more extreme with movies. When I choose a film for Sidney and I to watch I will quickly glance at its summary and running time and then press play. I depend on this extremely brief primer to generate that gut feeling in me that the movie might be watchable.

Every time I choose a movie Sidney asks me the same two questions and I reply with the single same answer (I am not kidding here):

Sidney: What is the movie called?
Me: I don’t know.
Sidney: What is the movie about?
Me: I don’t know.

I literally choose movies so quickly and effortlessly that I don’t pick up a movie title or a basic summary of what it is about.

By now it should go without saying that when I see a movie in the theater I never read about it in the newspaper nor read reviews. For me it just takes away the suspense and fun.

As I mentioned, Sid is the exact opposite. When she chooses a movie on Netflix she will look at the star rating and then get her phone out to look it up. She will do actual research. She will know the film’s title, cast, plot, and, I imagine, the ending. She knows very well what she is getting herself into.

What is kind of crazy is that we are usually both opposite of the roles I explained. Sid is the self-proclaimed “spontaneous” person while I am more methodical. When it comes to vacations, restaurants, and other experiences, I am looking at websites and searching social media for as much information as possible before making a decision. I try to leave very little to chance. Thinking about it, I might just use books and movies as my excuse to be a little rebellious.

Another Netflix movie will most likely play tonight. What will the film be and who will make the choice? You might just have to return in a couple days to read my Thursday Rundown to find out. Don’t Blink.

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