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a burning question

Mr. Hammer asks the following question in the comments:

BTW, am I the only person that will watch a movie which I "surfed" upon that: includes cuts of scenes, dubbed over dialog and long commercials breaks, even though I've got the movie on video or DVD? What causes this behavior?

I'd like to know that as well. It's something I do all the time, like getting excited when True Romance is on TBS even though I know it will be chopped to bits and I have the special edition DVD right here.

I do the same thing with a song on the radio. I'll get all giddy "Wow! I haven't heard this song on the radio in ages! I can't believe they are playing it!" And my husband, ever the voice of reason, will remind me that I just listened to the CD yesterday so why all the excitement.

I've never been able to explain the movie/song on the tv/radio experience, but I have wondered how many people react the same way?


It all comes down to validation. You placed enough personal value on a movie or a song to spend your hard-earned money on it. When you see or hear it being broadcast to the masses, your sense of taste and style is affirmed. You knew it was a good work and the networks are now saving you the trouble of telling everyone.

Plus, it's "free." If you don't watch it or listen to it, you're passing up a freebie.

I'll enjoy listening to a song much more if it comes on the radio than if I consciously choose and play its cd. I've always wondered about my reaction. My guess is that it has something to do with the thrill of recognition, your brain telling you, "hey it's THAT song." It's a rush that lasts the whole song.

I get some of that thrill seeing that a movie I like is on and I'll linger longer than I would like, but these days, access to unchopped widescreen DVDs gives my left brain the ammunition it needs to get me to move on.

Hate to theorize on my own query, but it might be an age thing. We (meaning Michele and my generation) were in the key movie demographic (17-25) when:

1) Cable finally became common in most households.
2) VCRs became affordable
3) As a result, video "clubs" spawned overnight, but still didn't have "new releases" until about 18 months after leaving movie screens.
4) Buying your favorite movies was prohibitively expensive.
5) Forgot where I was going with this itemized analysis, so maybe someone can put together a hypothsis using these facts or have a Gen X or Y person disprove this theory.

JFH (ya'll can call me John BTW)

I do that all the time...I just got sucked in to watching "Dogma," which is quite hacked up for broadcast, and yes the special edition DVD is on the shelf...

I've always felt the same way about hearing favorite songs on the radio. I think it's a small unexpected surprise, and we all like nice surprises. I think with movies it's just that it's easier to watch it when I find it when chanel surfing than to get up, find the tape, and put it in. But John's ideas sound valid.

Serendipity. And what everyone else (above) said.

I'm just the opposite. If I do happen upon a movie on tv that looks interesting, I'll rent/buy/netflix it. I absolutely cannot stand the editing and commercials when movies get shown on basic cable.

Maybe it's more of an "event" when it happens at a specific time rather than on-demand. Whatever, I think the phenomenon is a real one, and if TV and radio marketing people were more creative, they might be able to take advantage of it...

I like the feeling I get when I know thousands of others are doing the same thing as me at the same time. It makes me feel less lonely.

It's fun to watch the DVD of a movie you saw on television earlier and point out all the stuff they edited out, i.e. Boyz N the Hood and Dumb and Dumber on the superstation.

There is a basic issue of time and attention commitment that comes into play. If I surf into a movie I love and own, I can watch 45 minutes or an hour, and flip to other stuff during commercials or sections that drag a bit. As much as I might love the movie, I don't always want to commit 2 hours to it, which is what it feels like when I pull the DVD or tape out of the box. I know I can pause, skip, rewind, etc. You'd think more control would be a plus, and often it is. But somehow it feels wrong to miss parts of a movie I loaded deliberately while it's OK to miss scenes if I'm still surfing.

There's also the personal politics of viewing selection for anyone who doesn't live alone. My wife and I almost never watch the movies we both love and own on DVD, except maybe once right after we buy them, because then you're asking 2 people to commit 2 hours to one thing, which is so hard we don't even try. But if we're surfing together and the flick comes on, we just say "Hey great, let's watch it."

Time and attention definitely are factors -- I bought a DVD last week that I could not WAIT to get my hot little hands on, but with 2 little kids, a house to keep and a full time job, neither time nor attention are plentiful right now...