Confessions of a Cinema Snoozer
I do. Whenever I’m planning to watch a movie that I suspect can be somewhat slow and subtle, I need to make a strategic plan for how to get through it without start nodding.
- Did I get a decent sleep the night before?
- Have I had a light dinner that doesn’t put me into overeating-coma?
- Have I been a frequent visitor of the coffee machine during the day?
The last point is the trickiest one. On one hand I know I need the caffeine. On the other hand I dread having to run to the bathroom mid show. That Must Not Happen. It’s a case where you need to find the perfect balance and know exactly at which point you can take your last drink and still be certain that it will have time to make its way out. If you’re brave you can take a last-minute coffee shot and hope it won’t come through until the movie is over. But it’s a gamble and nothing to recommend.
Why we fall asleep
It boggles my mind why I so easily fall asleep in cinemas. After all the armchairs in the cinemas in my city offer far from the comfort I’ve encountered in UK and US. They’re so small and the space is so limited that it feels as if you’re sitting in the tourist class in an airplane. (And then I’m a small sized person! I can only imagine how bad they must be for fully grown people.) I should be fully awake, cursing inside over the discomfort!
On the other hand falling asleep in my ordinary bed can be a bit of a struggle, especially if I’ve spent the night half on half snoozing in a theatre.
I guess there is some psychological factor at play there. You go to the movies to relax. And th fact that there’s no pressure for you to fall asleep, no alarm clock informing you that it’s just six hours until you need to get up, adds to that relaxation. It’s ever so easy to cross the line and go from “relaxed” to “snoozing”.
Movies that put me into trouble
So what movies are most likely to put me into trouble? Well, there isn’t much of a surprise there. The more artsy they are, the more likely is it that I’ll start to nod. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I will fall asleep. But it means that I’ll need to take measures not to do so. I need to be pretty hard with myself, for instance pinching and clawing myself brutally, chugging my nails or in extreme cases slapping myself a couple of times. The pain will clear my mind enough to keep me going for a while longer.
If you’ve ever been in this position you know how frustrating it is. Falling asleep during a movie seems like the cinema goer’s ultimate insult – a public statement that “this movie is so boring that I can’t stay awake”. But I swear: I’m not doing it on purpose! Given the choice I’d be fully awake every second of it. After all I’ve paid for the ticket to see a movie, not to sleep through it.
Most times it’s not that I don’t like what I’m watching. It’s just that my body refuses to cooperate. It’s as if it’s got a will of its own, like the in the case of Mr Bean during the church sermon.
Top snoozing movies of 2011
So let me share my top list of sleep-inducing movies of 2011, the movies I had to struggle hardest to remain awake. It goes like this:
- Tree of Life
- Certified Copy
- Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Those movies are quite good, especially Tree of Life and TTSS. Certified Copy was one that I unfortunately couldn’t appreciate as much as others did. But maybe I will if I return to it one day.
However none of those movies were anywhere my sleepiest movie experience ever, the one and only time I can recall fully falling asleep in a cinema (at home it happens now and then in the sofa, but then I can always rewind and re-watch whatever I’ve missed.)
Wings of Desire
My deepest movie sleep ever occurred as I watched Wim Wender’s Wings of Desire in 1988. It didn’t take more than five minutes into the movie before I was sound asleep and I didn’t wake up until the very end, having no idea of what had happened. There was something about angels listening to the thoughts of people… and then just a big void. Sadly enough exactly the same thing happened to my husband, who usually is better at staying awake. This time he couldn’t update me on what the movie had been like and I left the cinema feeling cheated on my film experience.
This week I finally got my redemption as my local film club showed this very film.
You can imagine I was a bit nervous about it; I paid a few extra visits to the coffee machine to be on the safe side. I’ll save the full review for another day, but I can say as much as that I stayed fully awake all the way through this time. And I didn’t have to pinch myself, not even once!
I’m not sure of the causes. Maybe I should attribute this to the fact that the chairs in the cinema are extremely uncomfortable. It’s an old cinema that has been restored to how it looked in 1914, and back in those days people can’t have been that picky about comfort so to say.
Or perhaps it was just something in the movie that was more engaging to me at this point in life, something that pulled me in. But for whatever reason I watched the entire movie and I’ll tell you what I thought about it sometime next week.
A source of embarrassment
It’s time to wrap up this post. By now I think you’ve got a good view into the predicament of someone with a cinema snoozing disorder.
It makes you struggle to stay awake rather than just enjoying the ride. It causes frustration, disappointment and in worst case even loss. As a cinema snoozer you never know for sure. Did I just close my eye for a second or was that in fact a micro-nap. Did I miss out something important?
It’s also a source of embarrassment. If you end up snoozing, at least you don’t want anyone else to notice.
And from that point of view I suppose I should be grateful. At least I don’t snore.
The toast of this week goes to my fellow cinema snoozers wherever you are. This one is for you.