Saturday, August 10, 2013

Weekend Weigh-in: Are Some Movies Better Suited for the Small Screen?

Blasphemy, right?

I'm a big believer that every movie deserves to be seen on the big screen, but a recent theatrical screening has me thinking that there are some movies that might play better at home. Anyone else think this? What movies and why?


  1. Interesting question. I would imagine that more quiet, contemplative films would fit better in a more intimate setting. When I want to get my zen on, nothing's better than putting on a movie by Ozu (he of Tokyo Story and Floating Weeds, among many others). In his later years Ozu didn't even move the camera. His actors often look right in the camera, making for a meditative experience. On the other hand, I got to see Floating Weeds on the big screen for a college film class, and it was fantastic. It probably helped that the audience was respectful, and not filled with tweeting, texting morons.

  2. Tough call. I love the theatrical experience, but sometimes it's nice to be able to watch a movie for the first time at home without everyone around me talking, texting, or eating things that are wrapped in 17 layers of the noisiest cellophane on the market. Frankly, theater screens have all gotten so much smaller and darker that it feels like I get a more complete experience waiting 3 months for the blu-ray. Cheaper, too. That being said, I still believe the movies are a communal experience and given the option I'll always try to watch something theatrically. As for particular movies that might benefit from home viewing, that I couldn't say. I can't think of any that would work better at home than in a theater.

  3. Generally speaking I am going to say no. If the movie is good to great it deserves to be on the big screen. That being said some movies can be watched on the small screen for the first time and still be good but the big screen can only help a movie. On the other end of things there are a handful of tv shows I wouldn't mind seeing on the big screen that are filmed as though they were movies (Breaking Bad, Walking Dead etc) While I know it has nothing to do with the movie itself sometimes I can't deal with going to horror movies at the big screen anymore.

    I saw the Conjuring last week on a Tuesday hoping to avoid the stupid kids who laugh at all the inappropriate moments during horror movies and I still couldn't do it. I still liked seeing The Conjuring but it definitely brought me out of the film a few times.

  4. I don't think I've seen a theatrical screening that has made me long to see it on a smaller screen (although that's not to say that those movies exist). The greatest advantage of a theatrical screening is the feeling of total immersion. But one advantage of a home viewing is that you can control everything - the volume, your position to the screen, the company, the food, the toilet breaks, etc.

    1. Good points. I saw Man of Steel on the big screen, and by the end I was freezing (the AC was a-blasting), had to piss, and had a headache from the endless audio assault. Would I have enjoyed it six times less if I'd paid 1/6th of the ticket price for a redbox rental? No way; in fact, I'd probably have enjoyed it more that way.

      As for the question, that's a tough one. I agree with Tom that it'd be awesome to see some shows on a big screen, or at least in a kickass home theater with a large projector screen for a cinema-like atmosphere. I think there's something special about seeing an an image projected onto a screen, then bouncing back into your eyeballs rather than having it shot directly from the monitor to you, as TVs and computer screens do. As nice and sharp as light-producing monitors can be, there's just something different and calming about the projection/screen method.

      But, to give the question a straight answer, Muppet Treasure Island is one of my favorite flicks, and I don't think I'm missing much not seeing it in a theater. Something about the scale of the sets, and the puppets alongside the actors...

  5. Interesting question, but damned if I can think of a specific example of a movie better viewed on a small screen. I'd second some other posters' sentiments that there are some advantages to home viewing, but overall (especially living in oh-so-polite Canada where people are generally respectful of theatre etiquette) and in general I think there is more to gain from watching movies on a big screen with a (not-to-large) crowd.

    I guess movies trying to evoke feelings of claustrophobia might be more effective on a small screen, so maybe something like Buried?

  6. Found-footage films might benefit from being seen on the small screen, particularly if the viewer is prone to motion sickness. In particular, I think the V/H/S movies might be more appropriate based on the format of the movie itself.

  7. Les Mis - can't think of any other reason for those hyper-close ups.