What Not To Watch… On A Plane

You’ve got to feel a bit sorry for January. January is a bit like December’s uglier, acne-prone sister, forced to stand next to her glittering, tinsel-adorned sibling in the family photo; bitter, uncomfortable and thoroughly unappreciated. Once the drunken revelry of Christmas and New Year is over, all we have to look forward to in January is wintery days, luke-warm cups of tea and looming indoor weekends of Emmerdale omnibuses. It’s no wonder then that more and more people are spending January in warmer climes, jetting off to exotic locations in order to miss out on the fun of falling over quite a lot and news reports like ‘Rothram Runs Out Of Grit’.

However, if you’re one of the growing millions currently packing your suitcase and grinning smugly at the snow outside, beware! There are still pyschological pitfalls to avoid. What you watch on your journey to paradise could significantly influence your enjoyment of your exotic getaway. Sure, there you are sat reclining, complimentary mixed nuts in hand as you wait for take-off, but the next few hours could change it all. One inappropriate film watched at high altitude can seriously mess with your head, your heart and more importantly, the amount of sick-bags in the on-board stock. We’ve put together a list of films not to watch whilst flying, in the name of smug holidays and of not ending up an emotional – yet tanned – wreck.

plane dead p

The ‘Suddenly Hits You With Emotion’ Film
Case in Point: The Dead Poet’s Society

It’s pretty obvious that you don’t watch weep-fests whilst flying. You’re already uncomfortably close to strangers as it is, you can feel their sleepy breath on your ears, and the last thing you need is to wake up your neighbour by blowing your nose on their blanket whilst wailing with grief. You ever seen Schindler’s List as a viewing option? No. There’s a reason. However, just because truly tragic films are vetoed from the start, it doesn’t mean you’re out of danger. You’re at high altitude, you’re sort of sleepy yet horribly uncomfortable and the bread you’ve just eaten is suspiciously cold. Your defences are down. A schmaltzy film you can usually handle with a cynical chuckle and a whiskey suddenly turns into The Most Important Thing You’ve Ever Seen. Add into the mix the group of students all standing on their chairs to salute the genius of that teacher guy Robin Williams played, and you’re a goner. Just try not to attract the attention of the stewarding staff as you sob into your orange juice.

plane mem

The ‘Secret Plans And Clever Tricks’ Film
Case in Point: Memento

Do you have any idea of how complicated films become as soon as you get onto a plane? We tried to watch The Lion King on a flight from Birmingham to Edinburgh once and thought our brains had exploded. The positioning of the spiky headphones, the constant flickering of the tiny screen, the confusion of the pilot’s sudden interruptions mixing with the film dialogue; it all breeds utter bafflement. Getting to grips with the characters’ first names is about as much as you should hope for. Also, as everyone knows, the real holy grail of any flight is managing to get to sleep. You don’t want your brain all riled up with actually trying to understand epic things like ‘motives’, ‘questions of morality’ or ‘the title’.

plane catch

The ‘Secret Identity’ Film
Case in Point: Catch Me If You Can

Paranoia can be a terrible thing in a low-oxygen situation.

“Wait, so you’re telling me that Leo Di Caprio just… just pretends to be a pilot? And it works? He like, gets onto the actual planes and stuff? Ha, well at least its not based on a true story… it is based on a true story? What the- who the hell is the pilot of this plane? No, no I’m serious, I want to meet the pilot. Right now. I want to quiz him. I don’t care that we’re at 3000 feet. Oh he needs to ‘drive the plane’ does he? Oh how convenient. Look I’m just going to- wait- stop calling for aid, no, get off me, oh God, I’m jumping, that’s my only chance at this stage. Help! Dear God help me!”

plane tap

The ‘Oh My God I Love This Film!’ Film
Case in Point: This Is Spinal Tap

Oh yeah, sure, you’re full of joy when you realise that as fate would have it, they’re showing Spinal Tap on your 9 hour flight. When you’re awake at 4am and feverish from the questionable chicken tikka, you will find solace in the mirth of a classic comedy. But remember. It’s 4am. Everyone around you is asleep, nearly asleep or is very much wanting to be asleep. Not only do you laugh when it’s funny, you’re laughing when you know it’s about to be funny. You’re laughing when you know that you’ll soon be laughing when it’s about to be funny. You’re laughing because you know you shouldn’t be laughing so loudly, but dear God, you can’t stop, and suddenly you’re back in year eight maths that day when Phil Hammond drew the offensive picture and you need to stop laughing but if anything, it’s getting worse and worse. Soon your insides are hurting, you pop a blood vessel and the only option is an emergency landing in a field somewhere near Norway. No-one needs that.

plane hos

The ‘Hero Of The Hour’ Film
Case in Point: Hostage

Oh Bruce. What a man you are. You see danger, you eat danger, you digest the danger without any significant bowel problems whatsoever. If only I was like you. If only I could have the chance to lead innocent victims out of fear- wait a minute – is this turbulence? Or a fiery crash? Fear not citizens! I’ll get us through this! Where are the oxygen masks? Don’t worry, I’ll get them down myself! Just need a good tug, they’re a bit stuck I think – Madam, please, if you can just – I’m trying to help you, please for God’s sake- is the pilot OK? Does he need any help at all? I once built a plane out of Meccano, so I know what I’m…Wait, why are you swinging a syringe at me? I don’t…Gosh it’s all getting a bit hazy isn’t it…

So there you have it, a travesty-free guide to what not to watch whilst airborne. Any films to add? Let us know below…

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