News+Opinion » Cover Story

VOYEURISM ‌ Confessions of a Junkie

Brandon Joyner and his 15-a-week movie habit



"Vice is its own reward."—Quentin Crisp

"When I wake up in the morning, I put a movie on, then turn it off when I go to work. In the evenings I watch a couple more. I'll get through about 15 movies a week.

"I started going to movies really, really young. My parents were pretty intense moviegoers themselves and they'd take me to everything. They weren't shy about taking me to R-rated movies, although I wasn't allowed to see Silence of the Lambs at age nine or ten. I bought it on video when it came out the next year, watched it in secret, and didn't tell them.

"I really started going to the movies religiously in the early '90s, and by 1995 I was in way too deep, watching 20 films per week. Around '99, when I got out of high school, I got a job working in a video store. I'd rent five and sneak the rest out the back door, bringing them back when I was done.

"Movies are an important source of ideas for me because I'm so closely involved in the local theatre scene -- I just graduated with a degree in music from the College of Charleston. Watching videos for the directing and camera angles is fun but it doesn't have any practical use around here. So I zone in on performances -- Anthony Hopkins in Lambs, Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam, Orson Welles in Citizen Kane -- and I learn from them.

"I also study the differences between then and now. For example, an old musical might allow me to watch Mario Lanza's technique. You can actually see how he's making the sound with his body.

"I probably should go outside a little bit more. I used to play sports, basketball, but I'm way too competitive anyway, and I normally watch movies late at night. About three or four weeks ago I was feeling stressed out, fighting with my girlfriend Ellie. There wasn't the usual hop in my step. It was because I hadn't been getting my usual fix.

"When I'm watching a movie I'm completely absorbed. I put the weight that's on my shoulders on the character in the film. Let's say a rehearsal was crappy and I've had a bad day; I can look forward to watching a film where someone's trying to run a newspaper, or a man's attacked by a dinosaur. It very much eases the pain of the day."

Add a comment