SAN DIEGO — Collin McArthur has never enjoyed going to a movie because he finds the characters and stories on the screen completely unbelievable, calling the whole experience “just a big waste of time.”
McArthur, 53, was born with a rare inability to submit himself to the “willing suspension of disbelief” — the mental state into which an audience member needs to delve in order to be engaged in the plot of a film.
“When I watch a movie,” explained the high school math teacher, “all I see are a bunch of actors saying dialogue that someone else wrote for them and wearing clothes that some wardrobe person picked out.”
McArthur says he knows the whole thing is fake before he even enters the theater. “Those are not really guns,” he said. “Actors are not really killing actors.”
His disability hasn’t held him back in life, and is mostly an annoyance for his friends and family, particularly his wife, who finally stopped asking him to take her to the movies altogether.
“We haven’t seen a film since ‘The Bridges of Madison County,’” said Ellen McArthur, “where he kept shaking his head through the whole thing, asking why Clint Eastwood wanted to photograph a bridge.’”
“It makes no sense,” declared McArthur. “If Clint Eastwood wants a picture of a bridge, he’ll hire a photographer to take one.”
“It wasn’t about a bridge,” she replied. “It was about two people in love. Can’t you suspend your disbelief just once?”
Collin McArthur remained defiant. “You want disbelief?” he asked. “Here’s my disbelief: It cost me twenty bucks to see Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep pretending to be people in love. I can go home and get that for free.”
The McArthurs have since filed for divorce.