Watching movies is a popular pastime for many people.
But can it be considered a hobby?
There are good arguments on both sides of this debate.
What Defines a Hobby?
To determine if watching movies qualifies as a hobby, it helps to examine what defines a hobby in general. A hobby is typically described as an activity or interest pursued for pleasure during one’s leisure time. Hobbies are not professional occupations but are done voluntarily for fun and relaxation.
Some key features of hobbies include:
- They are activities people engage in regularly for enjoyment. This could be daily, weekly, monthly, or during free time.
- Hobbies involve some skill, knowledge, or interest in the activity. Simply watching random television shows may not qualify, but watching and analyzing certain types of movies takes more purposeful effort.
- They are not done out of necessity or for financial gain. Hobbies are voluntary activities people seek out for personal fulfillment during their discretionary time.
Reasons Why Movie Watching Can Be Considered a Hobby
When you look at the definition above, a strong case could be made for watching movies as a hobby based on several criteria:
- It’s an enjoyable pastime done regularly. Many people set aside time each week specifically for watching movies of interest to them. This regular, intentional scheduling of movie watching for leisure and fun aligns with the definition of a hobby.
- It requires an investment of time and effort. Simply channel surfing and watching random movies that come on TV does not constitute a hobby. But intentionally seeking out classic films to watch, creating your film festivals, researching directors or actors you enjoy, and curating lists of recommended movies takes effort and dedication that goes beyond passive television watching.
- It’s an interest pursued by personal fulfillment. Movie buffs often watch films to satisfy their tastes, interests, and creative cravings, not out of obligation or necessity. The act of viewing and analyzing films can bring a great amount of intellectual and emotional enrichment.
- It cultivates knowledge and appreciation of film. Many movie lovers develop substantial knowledge about cinema, directors, actors, genres, and techniques. Their skill in critiquing and comparing films grows over time. This requires ongoing learning and engagement.
- It allows for social connections. Watching and discussing movies often happens in social settings like theaters, drive-ins, film festivals, and private movie nights with family and friends. Sharing the movie experience creates bonding opportunities.
So if you have a focused interest in film and devote regular time to watching movies to increase your knowledge, satisfy creative needs, and have fun, there’s a compelling reason for considering movie watching as your hobby.
Reasons Why Movie Watching May Not Qualify as a Hobby
On the other hand, reasonable counterarguments could also be made that watching movies does not quite rise to the level of a full hobby:
- It requires limited skill. Compared to hobbies like painting, playing sports, or musical instruments, simply watching movies requires much less learned skill. You need literacy and visual processing skills, but not the same level of creative, intellectual, or physical expertise as many traditional hobbies.
- It’s a very common recreational activity. While virtually anything could technically be called a hobby, viewing movies and TV shows is perhaps too widespread of a leisure activity to qualify. After all, the average American watches over 4 hours of TV per day. An activity done by such a large segment of the population may be better described as routine entertainment rather than a unique personal hobby.
- It’s passive entertainment. Whereas most hobbies require active participation, watching movies is fundamentally a passive activity centered on observation and consumption rather than skill development. Apart from analytical thinking, it involves little creative exertion.
- Success and progress are harder to measure. Having concrete ways to improve and feel a sense of accomplishment is central to most hobbies. But with movie watching, progress is largely subjective. There are no levels of expertise or clearly defined metrics for success comparable to other pursuits.
- It lacks standards and regulations. Time-honored hobbies usually have established standards, criteria, and regulations maintained by official clubs, organizations, and competitions. For example, bridge, chess, and photo competitions all have structured rules and ways to demonstrate one’s achievements. Watching movies is an informal leisure activity with no official governing bodies or ways to regulate advancement and prove merit.
So while a movie buff may have extensive knowledge and dedication, movie watching may lack some of the depth and structure of more formal hobby pursuits.
Evaluating Your Movie-Watching Habits
How can you determine if your movie-watching qualifies as more than routine entertainment? Here are some key questions to ask yourself:
- Do I watch movies more actively, analytically, and purposefully than most people I know?
- Do I seek out classic, foreign, or obscure films beyond mainstream hits and new releases?
- Do I read film theory books, listen to movie podcasts, or take film studies classes to expand my knowledge?
- Do I make an effort to support small indie theaters and film festivals in addition to big chains?
- Do I keep lists of movies to watch, directors to explore, or film topics to learn more about?
- Do I have in-depth discussions about films with other movie enthusiasts?
- Could I see myself joining a movie club, taking a film course, or attending amateur movie screenings?
- Do I watch movies to satisfy a deeper creative, intellectual, or emotional need?
- Have I cultivated an expertise in certain film genres, directors, or movements?
If you answer yes to several of these questions, it may be reasonable to consider movie watching more than casual entertainment for you and call it a hobby that brings real personal fulfillment.
Benefits of Movie Watching as a Hobby
Developing an enthusiast’s passion for film can be very rewarding. Some of the benefits of elevating movie watching beyond casual entertainment to hobby status include:
Watching films, especially classic or foreign cinema, exposes you to new ideas, cultures, and ways of thinking. Good films will make you think as well as feel. Movies require more active intellectual engagement than passive TV watching. They can stimulate imagination, curiosity, and critical thinking skills.
Getting lost in a good story on screen is a great way to put your mind at ease. Movies provide an enjoyable escape from daily stresses and anxiety. Laughing releases endorphins too. Unlike TV channel surfing, choosing a quality film that engages you can lower cortisol levels and bring better relaxation.
Films can help viewers experience emotions in a safe environment. A sad movie may make you cry and release pent-up feelings. A feel-good movie might make you smile and uplift your whole mood. Movies provide a contained emotional journey.
Quality films represent society and culture and help viewers understand the human condition better. Becoming more culturally literate expands one’s worldview and ability to connect with people from diverse backgrounds.
Talking about films gives people a shared experience and a sense of community. It provides a social bonding opportunity and common ground for connection beyond surface matters. Deeper relationships can develop with others who love film.
For some hobbyists, movies inspire their creative outlets like screenwriting, photography, costume design, or recreating scenes through art. The film can spark the imagination and motivate artistic hobbies. Creating your films is another option.
Let’s not forget enjoyment. If you have a passion for film, watching movies will simply bring you happiness and fill your leisure time with a fun, rewarding activity. Making movie-watching a hobby ensures it stays an active delight versus a passive chore.
See Also: What Are Different Types of Hobbies
How to Make Watching Movies More Enjoyable
Elevating movie-watching to hobby status takes some planning and effort. Here are ways to get the most fulfillment from film as a regular leisure activity:
Curate your festivals
Choose a genre, actor, director, country, or theme and decide to watch a curated set of movies around it. Spread them out over weeks or months. Planning your mini-festival makes film-watching more intentional.
Read film reviews and scholarly analyses
Go beyond the basic trailer and plot summary to learn more context. Understanding cinematography, symbolism, and critical insights will enhance your viewing experience.
Watch with others and discuss together
Conversations make movies more enjoyable. Host your viewing parties, go with friends, or join group discussions online or in person. Talking deepens understanding.
Compare and contrast movies
Watching movies in clusters around a topic or tracking themes across films allows you to make nuanced comparisons. Note how techniques are utilized or modernized.
Expand your access to indie films
Don’t limit yourself to the mainstream. Search out limited-release, foreign, and art house films. Subscribe to arthouse streaming services to discover gems.
Keep lists of movies to watch
Maintain a to-watch list with meaningful additions beyond whatever is new and popular. Curate lists around directors, topics, or awards.
Learn some film and theory history
Take a class, read introductions to film books, listen to podcasts, or watch documentaries to become more conversant in the language and history of film.
Go behind the scenes
Watch making-of documentaries, director commentaries, and interviews with cast and crew. Understanding their visions and techniques will enhance your appreciation.
Pay attention to cinematography
Notice camera angles, lighting, filters, tracking shots, and framing. Develop an eye for quality cinematography and its emotional impact.
Share your perspectives with others
Enriching conversations about film often happen informally in everyday life. Don’t be afraid to share your take on interesting movies when opportunities arise.
Branch out and take risks
Don’t get stuck in your comfort zone. Experiment with films outside your usual preferences. You may discover new favorites.
Keep an open, curious mind
Let movies surprise you and suspend assumptions. Approach each film as an opportunity to learn something new about the world and human nature.
With some planning and effort, it’s possible to turn movie watching from a default leisure option into an engaging, knowledge-building hobby. Follow your passions.
Learning More About Movies as a Hobby
Those who want to become serious hobbyists will benefit from continually expanding their film knowledge and connecting with other movie enthusiasts. Here are the positive next steps:
Take a film studies course
Community colleges, online learning platforms, and adult education centers frequently offer introductory film courses. Learn about history, concepts, and production.
Attend film festivals and special showings
Look for upcoming local film festivals or theaters that screen retrospectives, hidden gems, and niche movies you won’t find elsewhere.
Join or start a movie club
Search sites like meetup.com for a local group, or gather friends regularly for your themed movie club. Share potlucks or cocktails while you discuss.
Volunteer at an indie theater
Art houses and indie theaters rely on volunteers to stay running. You’ll get to see unique films and support film culture.
Follow critics, festivals, and film sites
Stay current on film news and reviews. Develop your sense of quality cinema through respected perspectives. Listen to podcasts while commuting.
Take specialized classes
Many community colleges offer courses on specific movements like the French New Wave or genres like documentaries. Dive deeper into an area of cinema that inspires you.
Attend movie events
Keep an eye out for special screenings with director Q&As, actor appearances, or opportunities to view rare films you can’t stream.
Talk about movies regularly
Chat about recent viewings with family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances. Recommend great films you’ve seen. Dialogue will enrich your experiences.
Seek out film references
Your appreciation will grow when you catch allusions to classic films in contemporary movies and TV shows. Understanding intertextuality shows your knowledge.
Make friends with theater staff
Having a rapport with staff at indie theaters can lead to great film suggestions, free passes to special events, and a sense of community.
Feeding an interest in cinema will ensure movie-watching continues to be a joy rather than just background noise. Surround yourself with fellow devotees.
Is Watching Sports Similar to Watching Movies in Terms of Being a Hobby?
Watching sports as a hobby is akin to watching movies in many ways.
Both activities offer a form of entertainment, allowing individuals to escape from their daily lives and immerse themselves in a different world. Whether it’s the thrill of a game-winning touchdown or the climax of a cinematic masterpiece, the emotional investment and shared experiences are common threads between these two pastimes.
People gather with friends, cheer for their favorite teams or characters, and revel in the excitement that both watching sports and movies provide.
Noteworthy Movies to Watch
One benefit of making movie-watching a hobby is exposure to incredible films you might otherwise overlook. Here is just a small sampling of noteworthy films in a variety of genres to consider adding to your must-watch list:
- Citizen Kane (1941)
- The Godfather (1972)
- Rashomon (1950)
- A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
- 12 Angry Men (1957)
- Moonlight (2016)
- Some Like It Hot (1959)
- Airplane! (1980)
- Dr. Strangelove (1964)
- The Big Lebowski (1998)
- This is Spinal Tap (1984)
- Metropolis (1927)
- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
- Blade Runner (1982)
- Alien (1979)
- Children of Men (2006)
- Casablanca (1942)
- Annie Hall (1977)
- Before Sunrise (1995)
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
- Carol (2015)
- Man with a Movie Camera (1929)
- Shoah (1985)
- The Thin Blue Line (1988)
- Hoop Dreams (1994)
- OJ: Made in America (2016)
- The Battle of Algiers (Italy, 1966)
- Amelie (France, 2001)
- Rashomon (Japan, 1950)
- Bicycle Thieves (Italy, 1948)
- Pan’s Labyrinth (Spain, 2006)
- The General (1926)
- The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
- Sherlock Jr. (1924)
- Nosferatu (1922)
- The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
This is just a small sample of the incredible films out there waiting to be discovered beyond mainstream blockbusters and comedies.
With so much variety and art to experience, it’s easy to turn casual movie-watching into a rich and educational cinematic adventure. Dive in!
FAQs about Is Watching Movies a Hobby?
Why is watching movies a good hobby?
Watching movies can be a good hobby because it allows you to escape into different worlds, learn about various cultures and histories, and appreciate the art of filmmaking. It’s also a relatively inexpensive and accessible form of entertainment.
Can I say watching movies is my hobby?
Yes, you can say that watching movies is your hobby if you enjoy doing it regularly and find pleasure in it.
Is loving movies a hobby?
Yes, loving movies can be considered a hobby as it’s a passion and interest that you enjoy spending time on.
Is watching movies a hobby or interest?
Watching movies can be both a hobby and an interest. It’s a hobby in the sense that people engage in it regularly for enjoyment, but it’s also an interest in that people may have a passion for learning about film history, theory, and production.
What do you call a person who likes watching movies?
A person who likes watching movies can be called a film enthusiast, movie buff, cinephile, or simply someone who enjoys movies.