Watching More Than 50 Adaptations of A Christmas Carol Changed the Way I View Media

Anyone reading the blog last Christmas (or even just following me on one of the social media platforms I used at the time) likely remembers my big project last year. While I'm pretty much always seeking out new holiday movies, last year I watched and reviewed as many versions of A Christmas Carol as possible, finishing the season having seen more than fifty (an exact count is complicated, because several resided in the gray areas between adaptation, homage, and parody). On top of that, I saw several more than once - in order to keep various versions straight for purposes of comparison, I watched some as many as four times. It was, to say the least, quite an undertaking, particularly considering I was doing it as a side project to a side project.

The primary reason for the exercise was to gain a better understanding of the history of how the story was viewed, as well as some broader insight into the evolution of Christmas media in general. I wrote up my observations in a few summary posts last year, if you're interested. I finished the year feeling like I'd learned something and that it had been an interesting, if exhausting, experience. What I wasn't expecting was for it to fundamentally alter my experience of watching movies.

Fortunately, the change is for the better (at least as far as I can tell). Watching the same story told over and over trained me to be more attentive to gradations in tone and style. Essentially, it forced me to improve how I study what's on screen.

More than that, though, over the past year I've discovered I'm far less susceptible to boredom. I've rewatched several movies I've seen in the past (a few I'll be reviewing or revisiting here), and I'm finding I have almost unlimited patience for slow pacing, something that didn't used to be the case. I'm far more able to appreciate movies with minimal plot (ask me what I thought of "Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles" next time you see me).

To a limited degree, my tastes in movies were already expanding before last year's project. This site, as a whole, has been changing how I watch and think about film, a fact that will be pretty obvious if you compare my "reviews" from the first few years with anything more recent. But last year accelerated that change and left me open to movies I couldn't appreciate before.

All in all, it's been a nice bonus and a pleasant surprise.