Spinning Eyeballs (Speed Reading Movie Credits)

Just a few more days to weigh in on the TV theme poll. There it is on the left side of the blog, or here if you’re on Facebook.

The TV theme poll will be up through January 31. I’ve been thinking about my next poll. I’m curious whether people read movie credits and if they do–what are they looking for.

In the beginning movie credits were minimal. You had the major actors, the director, the screenwriter and not much more. Now, the caterers get credit. And the folks who provide first aid. Unnamed characters get credit (Bank Robber #2) as well as the lawyers, insurance company and stunt doubles. There are credits for hair stylists and assistants, too.

I’m pretty sure if you stumble upon the set one day, some union requires you to get credit. So they invent a silly name to describe your function and list your name. How else do you explain things like “Gaffer” and “Best boy”?

I’m not saying these folks shouldn’t get credit, I’m just saying it takes a long time to give them their due and by the end of the movie I’m ready to head to the latrine.

But there’s more. We have disclaimers assuring us no animals were harmed and no real events or people portrayed. And then there are acknowledgments for the city where filming took place, folks who provided expertise and anyone else the director or producer wants to thank (or is, by contract, required to thank).

And then there is the music. This is the part I usually pay attention to because I’ve been sitting for half the movie trying to remember the name of that song. Or the composer. And I’m curious to know whether the actor did their own singing or was that dubbed?

So, I read the music credits carefully even though that usually means waiting for the very end–standing alone in an empty theater with no one, but a teenage kid with a broom who is impatiently waiting for me to clear out so that he can clear out the popcorn and spilled Raisinets before the next audience comes in.

I’ve even had said teen inform me politely that there is nothing at the end, so I don’t need to be waiting. Yeah, I know, kid. I’m just reading the credits.

Those music credits can be interesting because they credit everything. The hero hums two bars of the song in the shower. Credit. The villain whistles four bars so far off key you can’t recognize the tune. Credit.

I understand the legal obligation to provide the credit, but I’m always surprised at the number of songs that get credit when I can’t find them in the movie.

If you’re watching at home, you can slow the scrolling down, but in the theater credit reading could be an Olympic sport. Especially when they go to two or three columns. (Have you ever successfully read through the credits in any StarWars movie?)

I get why people don’t bother reading. And I appreciate the movies that provide entertainment on the side–outtakes or even better a visual epilogue.

What I don’t understand is why I stay until the end. Is it because they are there that I must climb credit mountain? Curiosity? Obligation? I’m not sure. So, I’m going to create a poll that asks you whether you read the credits and why.

Do you tend to stay to the end–or do you get a jump on the crowd by leaving before the end of a sporting event or the applause at a play?

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