Manohla Tarkis | AO Scott
I watched until my eyes started to bleed
This is the year of small and small screens, the year of frantic yet blindfolded viewing. On a lost day a long time ago, I spent a horrible (uncomfortable!) 11 hours and 15 minutes on my phone. I read the news, domscrolled Twitter, did the puzzles, checked my email and did the scrolling. No wonder my eyes started to ache constantly, sometimes stinging, which made me worry that my glasses needed a new medicine. I didn’t, had to stop looking, but couldn’t put my phone down, which prompted me to the big world I had greatly missed.
The point of the top 10 list is to share our favorite movies. But thinking about my favorites this year and the many new and old topics I’ve seen, and how I saw the movies, well, Saw. As a big screen fundamentalist, I love going to the movies, first and second class cinemas, art galleries, museums and cinemas. I know any theater and studio in Los Angeles (where I live) has the biggest screen, the best sound, the most spectacular views and the seats – for me, I like to sit in the middle of the theater.
When Movie theaters closed In Los Angeles in March, I cried. (They are still closed.) The tears of the critics are small, but who am I to go to the movies. I grew up in New York in the 1970s and watched as many films as I could, including on TV. But going to the movies was one of my first adventures of sovereignty, and it was one of the first ways I experienced leading a normal life without parental supervision. Moviegoing is my thing, a way of watching. Until March, it was also a tool for how I understood time, its form, structure and demands: film screening dictated what I did day and night, in which I spent many hours going to screenings.
Like a lot of people, this year I felt unconcerned because of how I enjoy time now. I worked from home for a long time, but to review movies, I go to theaters. So watching movies I review at home is a learning challenge, how to respect the attention they deserve and deserve, how to sit – sit – on the couch and do not check Twitter without pressing the pause button. It didn’t help that we had a lot of windows, which made it impossible to copy a dark screening room, even if the shadows were drawn. So, being majestic, I hung the sheets over the shadows, tapping Trader Joe’s shopping bags over a small window, which was ridiculous.