Americans watch a lot of movies. A 2015 poll from Rasmussen showed that 9 percent of those surveyed said they watched a movie “every day or nearly every day”; almost half (47%) of the respondents answered that they watched once a week or more frequently.
But are we watching a lot of different movies—or just the same ones over and over?
Older movies are more accessible today than ever before—but over 50 percent of the fans’ highest-rated movies at IMDB were released in the last 25 years. Nearly a quarter of the films that IMDB voters love best were released in the 1990s.
What explains this? With so many movies at our disposal, why do we stick to the same favorites over and over? One reason might simply be choice paralysis: there are just more good movies than you can watch in a lifetime. Getting a foothold—finding a place to start—can feel intimidating.
Yet watching broadly helps us become more aware of the world around us—and can even help us understand, feel empathy for, and learn how to love people who aren’t like us. Or it can give us a firmer grasp of film history that informs our future viewing. It can thrill us with unexpected beauty or wonder. And it can be a lot of fun.
But is picking at random the only alternative? Not at all.
Here are four ways to be intentional about expanding your film repertoire. Following one or more of these suggestions will not only expose you to a lot of great films you might otherwise have never seen, it will also make you better able to understand, appreciate, and enjoy the new films you watch.
Seek out other films by artists or directors whose work you have enjoyed.
You can’t guarantee that just because you ...1
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