Nov 11, 2021

The Movie Man

It was around a decade ago when I met a guy—let’s call him Alex—on an internet forum of fellow movie buffs. The initial interaction was just me fishing for movie recommendations, but I got more and more curious about the extent of his knowledge about movies.

Alex was probably in his early 20s around that time. I could throw him any obscure movie, from any era, from any language, and he would be vaguely familiar with it. He could not only name most directors, and actors, he could spell out their filmography for you. That month, he was on a Romanian movie streak, which would involve watching 60-70 Romanian movies in thirty days.

I don’t think I watched that many movies in any year, so I was naturally curious how many movies had he watched.

“It’s hard to keep an exact count, but probably around 3000,” he answered.

Wow! To say I was blown would be an understatement. That’s not even counting the number of  TV series he had watched. Lost, Prison Break, Dexter, he had finished a lot of the popular ones. From black and whites to the silent era to obscure Japanese flicks from the 60s, from documentaries to seven hours movies, he had seen it all. IMDb Top 250, thousand movies to watch before you die, he had finished all the popular lists.

Alex wasn’t an ordinary movie buff; his passion for cinema was intense, so much so that everything else was a secondary occupation. He had a job, a typical 9-5 one, but career growth meant little to him.

Mind you, this was 2010, when streaming was still in its infancy. He downloaded movies on his 256kbps internet (still called “broadband” around that time). It took 8 hours to download a movie, so his computer was always torrenting something for his collection. He had 4TB of movies in his three separate hard drives.

What’s more amazing? He never ran out of movie to watch.

Fast forward a decade, I thought I catch-up with him. His movie habits have taken a small hit, probably because he’s married. But the passion is alive as ever. The count is now around 6000 and the collection has grown to 6TB. So, 3000 movies added in a decade.

He says, he’s “slowly catching up again.”

I asked if he hasn’t run out of movies to watch already.

“Nope,” he says.

His ultimate goal is to watch every good movie there is. And there are still thousands of them that he hasn’t yet seen. He’s not running out anytime soon.

So, why am I writing about Alex? Because, to me, he’s the antithesis of the notion of success and accomplishment. We are expected to keep climbing a ladder to reach some imaginary goal, stressing ourselves till the very end—a seemingly never-ending battle. And going slow in the rat race is perceived as a death sentence. Consuming content is frowned upon as it eats into the time for more worthy pursuits.

Dedicating his life to a single passion, which is simply watching movies, Alex sounds unconcerned and quite at peace. He’s content with his simple job with a predictable growth as long as it provides enough fuel for his real passion.

Reminds me of:

Dudeism advocates and encourages the practice of “going with the flow”, “being cool headed”, and “taking it easy” in the face of life’s difficulties, believing that this is the only way to live in harmony with our inner nature and the challenges of interacting with other people. It also aims to assuage feelings of inadequacy that arise in societies which place a heavy emphasis on achievement and personal fortune.*

Consequently, simple everyday pleasures like bathing, bowling, and hanging out with friends are seen as far preferable to the accumulation of wealth and the spending of money as a means to achieve happiness and spiritual fulfillment.

Maybe he’s a follower of “dudeism.” Maybe we should all be.

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