1. Play I Spy
“I Spy,” if you’re unfamiliar, is a game where one player calls out something to look for, and the other must find it. For example, if I was watching an art film, I might say “I spy a metaphor for the communist revolution disguised as a bakery scene.” Then the other player has to look for it. Doing this will help you pay attention, and have you constantly looking for clues. Circus clowns, extremely long pauses in dialogue, and crying are also safe bets to look for.
2. Watch in installments
No one needs to know that it took you almost two weeks to watch an hour and a half movie. Yes you may forget what you watched a week ago, but that’s what Wikipedia is for. Plus, you probably wouldn’t have understood the movie you’re watching in one sitting anyway. And will the reward of bragging and being pretentious be any less sweet if you cheated? Hardly.
3. Drink alcohol
If you think for a second that whatever Russian epic you’re watching wasn’t filmed by an angry drunk director in subfreezing temperatures, you’re kidding yourself. By consuming large amounts of alcohol while watching the film, you’re not lessening the effect. You’re actually enhancing it! Think of it as “method viewing.” Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino have nothing on you!
Watching an art film is the equivalent of doing 100 mental sit ups. So why not have your body match your new culturally strengthened mind? Not to mention it’ll keep your heart rate up and stop you from falling asleep.
5. Take notes
Odds are you won’t retain much. But you need talking points, or otherwise this will all be for nothing. So take notes and practice things you’ll want to say. For example — “Yeah, I’m definitely going through an Acid Western phase. El Topo was fantastic.” Or “I only watch films from the Pre-Code Hollywood Era. Nobody takes chances anymore.” You know, stuff like that. Follow these tips and you’ll be a certified film snob in no time!