A couple of months ago Kumail Nanjiani passed along a story to N.Y. Times carpetbagger Kyle Buchanan about 20somethings not being into movies as a rule, and watching them sporadically at best. The quote is pasted below. It would seem that Nanjiani’s “friend who directs big movies” is onto something. Here is HE’s reply to the vast Millennial and GenZ multitudes who are represented by the girl Nanjiani and his friend spoke to, the one who said “I don’t watch movies and neither do my friends…not really.”

So you guys are basically saying “later with watching carefully compressed and craftily written, acted-out stories about the human experience on big screens in theatres”…you’re blowing that off because narrative tales seem more effective or absorbing in longform cable and because movies aren’t YouTubey enough and they don’t deliver the goods, according to your standards and demands. Right? You’ll watch an occasional film from time to time, sure, but not out of habit or any sense of loyalty to the form.

Do you guys understand that dramatic or comedic movies have been delivering craftily written, acted-out stories about the human experience for a little over a century? First with silent movies and then with soundtracks starting in the late ’20s? And that until you guys came along no generation has ever said “no offense but fuck the theatrical communal ritual of watching craftily written, acted-out stories about the human experience”? You realize that, right? You guys are the first!

Did you also know that before the advent of movies there were things called “plays” that did roughly the same thing (i.e., presented craftily written, acted-out stories about the human experience)? And that the writing and presentation of plays first began some 2700 years ago, all the way back to ancient Greece in 700 b.c.?

So let’s sum up, shall we? You guys are the first generation to blow off a century-old tradition of people gathering in a theatre to watch movies of a semi-aspirational nature. And in a certain sense you’re also blowing off 2700 years of theatre, or more precisely the tradition of submitting to that…in a way you’re the very first humans in 2700 years to say “sorry but our attention spans can’t handle the ordeal of concentrating on a two-hour (and sometimes three-hour) dramatic or comedic presentation”?

I realize you guys watch craftily written, acted-out stories about the human experience at home, but you’re doing this while texting and multi-tasking and feeding the dogs and preparing meals or paying the pizza-delivery guy and folding laundry. The spirit of focus and concentration and generally submitting to a sustained two-hour drama or comedy is going away, and you guys are the pioneers! You’re definitely making yourselves heard and shaping the saga of human history.