Since I started travelling full-time, I’ve been on a lot of flights. In fact, for the past year and a half, I’ve been on an average of one flight a month. While I don’t really mind flying in general, what really makes the experience worthwhile to me is watching movies on planes. With that attitude, you’d think the movie Planes would be the perfect flick for me, but as anyone has seen it knows, it’s terrible.
Still — there is a certain pleasure in watching movies on planes. Most international airlines have a huge selection of the latest Hollywood flicks. And the truth is there’s pretty much nothing better you can do while on a plane. On the most recent flight I took from New York to the Philippines, I watched five different movies. These only took up half the flight. Still, I enjoyed them more mostly because I was really watching them. I took the time to actually think about that were saying.
While at home, I rarely pay attention to a movie that I’m watching. It may be on, but I’m likely doing something else as well. I could be on my laptop or my phone, or even just thinking about something else. But when watching movies on planes, I fully appreciate them. I watch them because there’s no better use of my time — but I also watch them because I love them. For me, movies and the culture around them are my lifeblood. I consume media at a more consistent rate than most people I know. And because I’ve stopped binge watching TV, I make sure that when I consume media, I make an effort to absorb it.
I really do care about the type of media I consume. Whether it’s movies, television, or books, media is what shapes your worldview. It’s the reason the political culture wars exists right now. Our media diet is largely what defines us, so I like to use the opportunity when flying by watching movies on planes and catching up on what I’ve missed. This can, of course, have the reverse effect. If you use your downtime to solely consume garbage media, the garbage is going to fill your head and spill out the side of your skull.
But luckily planes always have movies like Moonlight, Arrival, and Silence. They are Hollywood movies for sure, but they make you think and question the culture around you. And for me, there’s no better place to watch films like these then when practically sitting arm-in-arm with other sweaty men who are also physically too big for their coach seats. Otherwise you might just have to contemplatively stare out the window for 10 hours at a time – or try to read a book while having someone’s seat leaned back into your knees.