Cinema Quarantino: Comfort Watching

Comfort watching can be anything from reality TV to period costume romances to challenging arthouse fare to old horror movies.

Howdy readers! 

Sometimes the only way to deal with a uncontrollable and terrifying situation is to jump feetfirst into something else. In an attempt to manage my near paralyzing fear right now, I’ll be doing my best to blog more often. It’s a win-win: I regain a sense of control over my world, and you can be entertained for however long it takes you to get through a thousand words or so. So let’s dive in!

Happy Thursday!

Today we’re going to talk about comfort watching – what it is, and how to do it successfully. So however you get comfy before you comfort watch, do that now; put on your PJs, your workout clothes, a homemade cosplay project, or nothing at all (no judgment!) and settle in for a little chat!

What It Is

Comfort watching is anything you put on while feeling emotionally or physically vulnerable, in order to achieve one or all of the following goals:

  • Giving yourself a break
  • Getting back to your normal
  • Filling time
  • Other

Please note I did not include “cheering yourself up” or “making yourself feel better.” The reason is because “cheerful” might not be everyone’s idea of normal; likewise, not everything I comfort watch cheers me up. I tend to bury my feelings so watching a big sobby movie that evokes an ugly cry response is the best way I have to deal with things. Sometimes it’s the only way I can shut my anxiety up and focus on something else, before I make a major life decision or process a significant life event. It’s a form of meditation.

Comfort watching can be anything from reality TV to period costume romances to challenging arthouse fare to old horror movies. The point is that it somehow connects with you. 

The Crow is a comfort watch for me for personal reasons. It reminds me of friends in high school that I miss, and friends I still have. And I love the idea of an afterlife, even though I am an Atheist. 

How to Comfort Watch

  1. Settle on a title ahead of time. Don’t think ‘Oh I should watch something!’ and then fall down the eternally scrolling rabbit hole. PICK SOMETHING. If you can’t think of something, consider memes. There are so many rando movies screencapped in memes that you’re bound to be reminded of something you’d like to watch again.
  2. Decide what you aren’t going to do. Instead of having something playing in the background like always, sit and watch the item. Don’t play on your phone. Don’t be up and down doing chores or folding laundry. Don’t read the news or check your phone for messages or updates – give yourself a break from all the other shit you’re doing in a day. And not reading the news for two or three hours will not change the outcome of it. The news will be there, whether you read it or not. After you’re done watching, take a breath and prepare yourself before you check the news again. When you do, you’ll be ready.

    Marvel Movies! Such fun! 
  3. Decide on a time. Things are uncertain and weird right now. I see a lot of memes and jokes in my various social media feeds about how time has lost all meaning and people don’t know what day it is. This is where delayed gratification comes into play – pick something, organize it, and then wait for it. Make a reminder on your calendar, in your phone, on a post-it on the TV. And then WAIT! By the time you’re ready to hit play it’s gonna feel like Christmas and your birthday at the same time!

    80s movies! 
  4. Watch something familiar. The entire point of comfort watching is control: control over your surroundings and most importantly the content you’re consuming. If you decide to take a risk on something you’ve never seen, there’s a risk of being reminded of unpleasant situations or just having picked a bad movie. If you’re bound and determined to watch something new, let it be something you’ve heard is great from reliable sources.

    AMPAS Gold Standard Series
    YOU KNOW IT. Fantasy and Sci-fi FTW! 
  5. Make it a special event. SNACK UP! Get some tasty snacks ready, or maybe even have a food-themed movie night. If 300 is how you relax (again, no judgments) then consider having food delivered from your local Persian restaurant. Watching Mulan or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? Chinese! Or mix it up – order some messy, saucy barbeque and eat it with your hands while you watch Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility. The point is to do something you normally don’t.

    Most people will watch this at least once. I haven’t seen it for 10 years and let me tell you, it was just as magnificent as my original viewing. Can’t believe it was a box office bomb!
  6. Involve other people – remotely! Use any of the myriad social media apps to watch something together. Have a remote watch party with friends and synch up your viewings at the same time, then watch it together over the phone.

    Mrs. Brisby is one of my childhood heroes. She does things despite being terrified, which is what real courage looks like.  
  7. Make the most of it. For people who are quarantined with family or room mates, a comfort watch might be challenging – but it doesn’t have to be. Consider it a time to share something you love with someone else – maybe even let them pick something. Now’s the time to get along with people and bury old grudges and build bridges instead of walls. 
Another weird comfort choice of mine. A great family piece for older kids. 


So! What sort of things do YOU comfort watch? How do you do it? Is there anything you like to eat or do while you’re watching it?

Most of all – how are you doing? Let me know! 

Author: jennnanigans

Orlando-area writerly person.

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