I barely can watch movies anymore. This has less to do with problems of changing aesthetics and me being unable to adapt (, although maybe a little bit). It’s more about it getting harder and harder to suspend my disbelief. An example from last night: I tried to watch „Don’t look up“ but got so infuriated by the depiction of how things would supposedly work, that I couldn’t enjoy an otherwise interesting idea. I guess I just don’t like when a movie’s plotting is dependent on unrealistic premises, especially when it claims to start from a place of (somewhat heightened) realism. Things should make sense within the confines of its world. If our actual world builds the backbone of the movie’s world then you gotta show the work that’s happening why things are different than we normally would expect them to be. Show me the work. This is not the same as asking for everything to be explained. I am simply asking for potential plausibility. Handwaving in the right spots is of course part of storytelling.
Maybe it’s because I have studied history of science and technology, have been working in the literature studies department while I was studying and am now working as a programmer that I am therefore primed to notice and dislike such inconsistencies. I prefer nonfiction, memoirs and sociologically interesting sci-fi. Works that do not reduce the interesting complexities of our world to tell a story that doesn’t shy away from the effort to be plausible.
I think that this happens to me more frequently now, is because I am much more time- and attention-constrained. I do not have the resources after a long day to consume too many things that ask me to do the work of „making it work“. I also have less chances to consume anything at all the older I get and the more responsibilities I have and am therefore more discerning on what I spend my time on. „Tried and true“ is often the answer. So no wonder that watching sports have become such a big part of my life instead of artistic works. I also prefer a solid but consistent tv show over an at times brilliant but otherwise disappointing one. I assess consuming media more and more from a standpoint of how risky it is: How likely will I be disappointed? I already have lists of lists of things I would like to do. If I decide to try something new, it better be worth it. And: It seldom is.
There is a ratcheting effect built in this way of consuming media: You do more and more of the same and less and less of the new. If it was only me I would even prefer such a bias, but it also has consequences for enjoying things like movies and tv shows together with my partner. So I end up giving chances to things I would have not considered. Maybe that’s good. Things shouldn’t be too predictable either. But boy, do many, many things suffer from a lack of plausibility…