We should love new movies more than old movies. Today's movies have bigger budgets and better technical quality. Yet, generation after generation seems to believe with certainty the movies from their own childhood and teenage years were better than the next generations'.
The fact that every generation thinks their childhood movies were the best may reveal not a complete downfall of Hollywood over the last 50 years, but rather the fact that as you grow up you just don't enjoy movies as much. Though the occasional great original movie (Moonrise Kingdom, Inception, Frozen) can make us excited, even then it still hard to feel that same childlike excitement.
However, consumer researchers have also discovered a few ways adults can maximize their enjoyment and recapture that childhood wonder.
Here are 4 reasons why you enjoy movies so much more as children and a few ways you can recapture that childhood magic.
#1 As a kid, everything was magical and new. So as an adult, you need to find new things.
Remember how impressed you were as a kid by that invisible thumb trick? And how today you find that completely unimpressive -- at least hopefully you do.
The next time you are even slightly impressed by an action movie, think how impressed a kid would be. Kids love things so easily that they probably thought X-Men Origins: Wolverine was cool.
Scientists find that when people become too overexposed to content (e.g. a type of fight scene), our brains stop paying as much attention. Once something is no longer new, our brains tell us to check out and the joy can start to fade away.
It's important for adults to branch out and start watching slightly "odder" content like the indie monster film Monsters or simply a Wes Anderson film. Adults won't be desensitized to the new type of content, so they'll likely find more magic and wonder in it. Or try a more intense movie experience like The Wolf of Wall Street.
#2 As a kid you had more time for movies. So as an adult, you need to make a little extra time.
When adults see movies, they talk about the movie for maybe a few minutes afterwards. If they are true nerds maybe they read a blog or two. But that's about it. The movie experience starts the night they see it and ends that very same night.
For a kid, the experience doesn't end when the movie ends. Instead, the movie is an invitation into years of immersion into a fictional world. Kids talk nonstop about movies, force their parents to take them to Toys R Us to buy the action figures, and then expand on those stories through play, reading, fan websites, and video games.
You should make the time to get more involved with a movie world. How "good" you find a movie, can be affected by how much effort you put into it. This means reading blogs about movies and watching the behind the scenes features on the DVDs.
#3 Kids are encouraged to be excited about movies. So as an adult you need to find friends that encourage that same excitement.
Not only do kids feel a sense of wonder with movies, but they are also encouraged to embrace that sense of wonder. Parents encourage their children to tell them about the things they love. No one encourages adults to talk about movies. The guy in the office next to me, even has explicitly made it clear that he doesn't want to hear any more about the awesomeness of The Empire Strikes Back. But come on, the bad guys win, it is just so cool!
This is unfortunate, because the suppression of expression is terrible for enjoyment. Professor Sarah Moore of the Alberta School of Business finds when people explain exciting things in a boring manner, they end up finding the content boring. But if they explain it in an exciting way they magnify their enjoyment. The conclusion: if people do not express their passion with strong emotion, they may lose out on some of the passion.
So if you want to enjoy movies more put on a costume and attend a convention where nerd passion is socially encouraged. Or have a Katherine Heigl movie night if that's more your thing. Or at the very least just post about a movie on Facebook and start a discussion. The point is if you share your passion with others, you can maintain and grow your passion.
#4 Nostalgia is why we love our childhood movies. So as adults we need to create more instantaneous nostalgia.
Nostalgia gets a bad image publically. However, nostalgia is a very powerful feeling, and there are many positive reasons to spend some quality time indulging in nostalgia.
The great thing about nostalgia is that nostalgic memories tend to be linked to memories of social connections. For instance people's memories of Star Wars are wrapped up in memories of their parents showing it to them for the first time or playing "Rebels vesus Empire" with their friends. These connected memories bring about the feelings of warmth, support, and love that fulfill humans' greatest needs.
You might even think that movies from your childhood were terrible, but love those movies nonetheless. You love those movies because they have meaning to you. The emotional connections and meanings are sometimes more important to you than the quality of the film.
If you want to enjoy modern movies more, you need to make movie going become more instantaneously nostalgic. So go see the films in big groups. Start a Sunday afternoon movie crew or go to a midnight showing. Again, if you want to enjoy something, you need to change the process by which you enjoy it to make it bigger, more memorable, and more full of social interactions with other fans.