None of us should live in a world where we consider the in-flight movie screen on an airplane to be an upgrade. No matter how big your smartphone screen is, you should never watch movies on it.
Ergonomically, it’s painful enough to provoke anger. On a bus or a plane, watching a blockbuster will make your fellow passengers envious. And it’s an act of gluttony to watch a movie at home when you could be out there filming one yourself.
All of these reasons are why you should not watch movies on your smartphone.
Watching Movies on Your Smartphone Is Rude
Some smartphone-movie-watching evangelists may tell you that being able to watch a movie on your smartphone means that you can take your movies anywhere. That’s true, and that’s a problem.
Unlike the quiet, nonintrusive activity of reading a book, watching a movie is, sometimes unintentionally, a communal experience. Have you ever tried to get some sleep on a flight but instead got sucked into whatever movie the person sitting across from you was watching, even though you couldn’t hear the sound?
The same principle is true anywhere else you would think to watch a movie on your phone in public: the subway, the train, the bus, or the doctor’s waiting room. The people around you will be drawn into your sub-par movie-watching experience, probably not by choice
If you think you can limit the awkwardness by choosing only G or PG-rated movies, then you have already compromised your own watch-movies-anywhere edict, and, to be frank, your boorish behavior is still pretty annoying.
Watching Movies on Your Smartphone Is Bad for Your Health
Ergonomically, there is no comfortable way to watch a movie on your phone. Even if you are sitting in a chair custom-built to accommodate you, you’ll strain your neck trying to look at your phone. And if you hold it up to your eyes, you’ll tire out your arms.
The only possible way to watch a movie comfortably on your phone is to purchase an adjustable neck stand like the Tekie Cell Phone Holder, but just one look at yourself in the mirror wearing one will prove that it is a crime against nature.
Additionally, we all know that screen fatigue is real. Squinting exacerbates the effects of eye strain. This is inevitable when trying to watch a big budget films on your phone.
Watching Movies on Your Smartphone Lessens the Experience
Well, wait a second, you might be thinking, why can’t I just hold the phone screen all the way up to my eyes, like one of those cheap VR headset experiences? Voila! Instant movie screen.
It’s certainly possibly, but try holding your phone there for a 90-minute runtime. Additionally, you yourself have to hold perfectly still as well, so you can’t laugh or react in any way.
Even if you invest in the best smartphone screen, they can only get so big. A smartphone screen simply isn’t good enough for you to appreciate the visuals of a big budget blockbuster.
Watching Movies on Your Smartphone Devalues the Art
Call us Luddites, but just because you can do something in the digital age doesn’t mean you should. Streaming movies can be bad for you. The ability to watch almost any movie, anytime, anywhere means that movies have become the white noise of our lives, always present in the background but increasingly less appreciated.
This is bad for the film industry, as average-but-accessible movies can do just as well as the big-budget blockbusters. But it’s also bad for us, the consumers of this artform, who will start to notice a decline in quality as budgets are squeezed.
Watching Movies on Your Smartphone Upsets Filmmakers
No filmmaker gets into the business with a lifelong dream of making movies for tiny screens. No matter what distributors like Netflix and Amazon Prime may let you do, the people you should be listening to are the ones who actually make the content you’re watching.
David Lynch makes his thoughts on watching movies on phones explicitly clear in this YouTube video:
These Days, Smartphones Are for Making Movies
The worst sin that you commit when you watch movies on your phone is the sin of sloth.
Your phone is a poor movie-watching device. When it comes to movie-making, however, it’s downright revolutionary. Using it for nothing more than watching movies is like using a Ferrari for grocery runs.
High Flying Bird, a film by Steven Soderbergh on Netflix, should be your call to action. Just like he did with his 2018 movie, Unsane, Soderbergh shot it almost entirely on iPhones. It’s almost impossible to tell, if you don’t know what to look for.
The movie utilizes all the strengths of the iPhone’s camera. The character close-ups look great. The camera is small, and goes anywhere easily. Complicated shots that would normally take hours to set up can be done with minimal equipment.
Smartphone cameras obviously have their drawbacks. Some of the indoor shots are way too dark, and the wide shots are a little curvy. These are nit-picky details, however, since the device that you currently have in your pocket has clearly demonstrated that it can create a polished feature film.
It simply doesn’t matter that High Flying Bird was shot on a phone, and that is remarkable. The characters are interesting, the dialogue is snappy, and the cinematography is beautiful. With a good idea and good actors, you too have ability to walk outside and make a masterpiece.
Support Your Local Movie Theater
We’ve spent a lot of time in this article telling you what you can’t do, but there is one proactive step you can take. The next time you feel the urge to watch a movie on your phone, take a walk to your local theater instead.
If you do, you’ll be supporting the local economy, and the arts as a whole. But don’t think of it as act of charity. Take a look at how movie theaters can ensure their survival by providing you with a unique experience; something your smartphone simply cannot provide.