Shh! Don’t tell anyone, but I don’t have a job right now.
Wait. You knew that.
Anyway, I’ve spent many days at home alone. I beat some video games, lazed around doing now a whole hell of a lot, and didn’t leave the house very much. It’s not been good times.
After a while, I decided to do something other than apply for a few jobs that I know no one will call me back for. Whatever I was doing, I needed some background noise. Since all my music is on an external hard drive that requires my computer to be in a specific place that is not very conducive to me doing anything with the computer other than listening to music. Consequently, I put on movies.
Using cinema for background noise is a delicate art. When you’re listening to music and a song comes on that you really want to listen to, you stop to listen to it. When a song comes on that you don’t want to hear, you ignore it. Either way, that’s losing four minutes of noise. Not a huge interruption; in fact, it could even be thought to be a good thing, a little break.
With a movie, you have to think a lot harder about what you want. It has to be something with which you have enough familiarity that you won’t get sucked in completely, but also something that you won’t completely tune out and therefore defeat the purpose.
I believe that this conundrum rather neatly illustrates the differences between the four-minute masterpieces that good pop music can be and the ninety-minute opuses that every film aspires to be. Unless, you know, they’re not ninety minutes long. Or four minutes. Whatever.
Our society has evolved. We are all consumers now, and art is a commodity. Sometimes, we have to turn that commodity into noise so that we can stay sane.