Arif is an entrepreneur and freelance writer that has posted several featured articles on HubPages.
In today’s world, we are spoiled with seemingly endless numbers of online streaming services and websites where we can easily start watching whatever film or TV show that tickles our fancy. It could be Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, Peacock, or Amazon Prime Video—one does not need to look far.
Oh, and did I mention you could also go to the cinema? (Assuming cinemas are open in your area given this pandemic.)
Americans that are 18 and older spend an average of 4 hours per day watching movies and TV. In fact, Americans are the world leaders in this hobby (according to the Nielsen Total Audience Report in August 2020).
But is kicking back after work and rewatching The Office a waste of time? Does having a marathon of all eight Harry Potter movies seem totally unproductive?
One begs to differ. There are actually some benefits to watching films and TV shows.
It Can Increase Creativity
In 2012, researchers from the University of Lancaster found that children who watched films like Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia had an increase in creativity and imagination. Children who watch TV have been found to be able to construct ideas more rapidly. They were also able to express themselves more clearly than others.
Well, no surprise there. After all, a film series like Harry Potter is full of magical wonder. They're great for kids to exercise the creative side of their brains.
It Can Help Improve Your English
Okay, I can attest to this. When I was growing up, I was a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings trilogy—the films, not the books. I would re-watch all three films at least once a week. The magic, the sense of adventure, and the great action scenes really had me glued to the screens.
But, unbeknownst to me, I was also subconsciously taking in the use of the English language from it. The English dialogue that was used was so poetic and beautifully constructed. It was a great tool to use in English essays at school for a 10-year-old boy. The key here is that people, especially young children and non-English speakers, are able to actually hear how the language is used.
Yes, reading to improve your English does help, but listening to spoken words, hearing how sentences are constructed, and knowing how certain words are actually pronounced phonetically are much better ways to improve one’s English.
It Can Reduce Stress
There’s nothing wrong with kicking back on a Sunday afternoon after a long week and popping on an Adam Sandler movie—or any other kind of film for that matter.
Research has shown that many films can have a positive impact on a person. When someone watches a film and gets invested in the story arc of the main characters—where a conflict is resolved, or the main protagonist triumphs over the villain, or when the school nerd gets to go to prom with the cheerleading captain—it can invoke positive emotions within the viewer, thus helping them cope with the harsh realities of life.
When a person enjoys a movie, they get a hit of dopamine, which acts as a natural opioid that is responsible for feelings of happiness and pleasure.
It Promotes Bonding With Family and Friends
Anyone here like doing movie nights? When I was in university, my friends and I would have movie nights on Wednesdays. We would get a pizza, a few packs of chips, some carbonated drinks, and we would put on a horror movie.
A horror movie has the ability to give a sense of thrill and excitement. The built-up suspense and the tense feeling that some evil spirit is about to jump at you definitely makes for some good fun that is best experienced in a communal setting.
And it's not just horror films, take big event movies like Avengers Endgame or Star Wars: The Force Awakens. If you watch these kinds of films in a fully booked cinema, the collective gasps and awes that occur when something exciting happens on screen would just ignite the entire hall.
I remember how my entire cinema hall just went wild when Captain America picked up Thor’s hammer in Avengers Endgame. It felt like we were watching our favorite basketball team score the winning point at the very last minute!
It's A Great Date Night
“Dinner and a movie?” One often finds that taking your crush to a movie is a great first date. It gives them time for some intimacy.
A movie date may be the first time a couple gets to hold hands or even share a kiss. And after the movie has ended, a couple has the chance to talk about their views on the film. This offers a great conversation starter.
The shared experience of escapism into a film is vastly more romantic than a dinner at a restaurant. If both of you are fully immersed in the story, then both of you may find yourselves sharing the same emotions as well.
Laughing hysterically in unison, or embarrassingly trying to cover one half of your face to hide your tearing eyes only to realize that you are both doing the same thing, makes things even more intimate.
To sum it up, the answer is no. Watching movies or TV shows is definitely not a waste of time. But just like everything else that's good in this world, it must be enjoyed in moderation.
So, turn up the volume, grab some chips, pour that wine, make that popcorn, and lose yourself in the movies!