Studying Film? How to enjoy movies without overanalyzing everything

When you start studying film in classes and are closely analyzing scenes, sometimes you start to do that when you watch everyday movies. You forget how to turn off your film studies brain. Sometimes it's nice and sometimes I find it can really suck the joy out of watching movies. I am a Creative Industries student at Ryerson University, and my main focus is the art and business of film, so I take a lot of film studies courses. Which I love, and it's something I enjoy obviously since I review movies. But sometimes you want to just watch a movie and enjoy it. The following are a few ways I have come up with to separate school movies from fun movies. This way I can watch movies like a normal, not-so-geeky, over-analyzing person. 

The first and most important thing for me is a change of setting. Creating different spaces for the different ways you watch movies. When I watch movies for school, I typically watch them as if they were part of a lecture. Watching them at my desk, with a laptop or notebook for notes. Keep it more formal and create a strictly educational space. When I watch movies that are just for fun I make a more comfy atmosphere. In my bed with blankets, pillows, soft lights. I am always snacking when I watch movies and I usually will put the movie on my tv. Another change of setting would be the movie theatre, which is partially why I think I like it so much. You can really separate it if you go from your laptop to the silver screen and state-of-the-art speakers.

Another way to turn your film studies brain off is changing the people you watch the movie with. If it's a movie for class I’ll watch it usually by myself, and if you can maybe watch it with friends from your film classes. Whereas if it's for fun, surround yourself with people who don’t study film. People who are watching for fun who maybe don’t understand the first thing about cinematography, or lighting, or care what actors are in it. It creates a more relaxing and fun atmosphere watching with friends.

A trick I find helps is watching movies that are opposite to the genre or time period you are currently studying in class. If you are watching some black and white 1920s mystery movie, watch a 2021 action movie. It creates a separation between what you are required to watch and what you want to watch. I generally like to watch a lot of comedies and rom-coms when I am watching a lot of serious films in class because it's just so drastically different. Things that are maybe more silly and aren’t as focused on stylistic approaches.

In general, I like to learn to turn that part of my brain off. It’s fine if I have the odd thought about how the movie was made or I like that shot because that's good when you are taking film studies classes. But, sometimes I don’t enjoy movies that other people like because I am so stuck on stylistic things that others may not notice. It’s not that I have a great eye or anything it's just that you are studying how films are made. You are going to pick up on that stuff. Movies have always been my escape, my me-time. They help me feel happy or relaxed, and sometimes my school brain wrecks it for me. I don't know if this is just a me problem but I hope this was helpful to someone. Maybe you never feel this way and maybe you enjoy it, but I like to have that separation. 


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