Hey, have you seen . . . ? What did you think of . . . ? Did you like . . . ? I can't wait to see the new . . . ? Are you going to see . . . ? Are you a fan of . . . ?
No matter what the original conversation topic had been, my discussions with other North Americans ultimately included one or several of the questions above, which often lead to lengthy digressions into movies, celebrities, Hollywood, and all the rest of it. In North America people relish describing movie scenes, mimicking dialogue, retelling jokes and punchlines, and describing the emotions they experienced as they watched the latest blockbuster. Of course, I barely noticed this when I lived in North America where talking about movies forms an enormous part of everyday small talk, chitchat, and serious conversation. As a discussion topic, I surmise it is second only to weather.
In Hungary, films are rarely a topic of discussion. Sure, Hungarians watch and enjoy movies as much as anyone else in the West, but they seldom bring films up when you talk to them and, I have noticed, often find it somewhat strange when you do. If you ask the average Hungarian if he or she has seen this or that, they will usually just say yes or no and perhaps mention whether or not they liked the film in question, but they hardly ever delve any deeper into the topic than that.
Naturally, this must have something to do with culture. I imagine movies are a popular topic in North American because they form such a large part of North American culture. Movies are also probably considered a somewhat neutral domain; in other words, they are something everyone in the United States and Canada can talk about regardless of their background. I'm speculating here, but perhaps the movies are the only real unifying culture an otherwise polarized North America has left.
Whatever the case, the same does not hold true here in Hungary. People like watching films, but rarely feel impelled to talk much about what they have seen. At first this struck me as odd, but after four years I have come to appreciate not talking about or hearing about movies all the time and, to be honest, I don't miss it all that much either.