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“You’re watching that again?”
I’ve heard Thea say it… lots. Because I rewatch movies… lots.
I don’t really understand people who can watch a movie once, thoroughly enjoy it, then never care to watch it again. Mediocre movies, fine. But I could watch my favourite movies over and over again… and I do.
I’ve probably watched the Godfather two or three times a year since I first watched it in 1998. That’s… 25 to 30 times. Same goes for my other favourite: The Lord of the Rings, Braveheart, The Silence of the Lambs, Alien, Jaws, When Harry Met Sally, The Abyss, Raiders of the Lost Ark. All inherently rewatchable.
Part of it is the combined memory of when I first saw it or when I first showed it to friends or imagining what it would have been like to see it for the first time with a theater audience during its initial run (for movies I never saw in the theater, obviously…). I thought The Exorcist was terribly creepy and unnerving when I first watched it on VHS many years ago… Then I forced Thea and Dan to watch it, they hated it… And I couldn’t watch it anymore. I saw it through their eyes and it seemed boring and cheesy. Then I got it for my birthday on Blu-ray this year, the picture and sound cleaned up for high-definition, and it’s creepy and unnerving again. I rewatch it through my thirty-one-year-old eyes and I can appreciate it the mastery of it again.
I guess what I’m trying to say through my rambling is that the joy rewatching a favourite movie is a combination of memory and changing perspective as we age.
And once you’ve seen a movie 20+ times you’ve gone beyond plot and characterization… It’s all about the details. Finding things you never saw before. Understanding nuances of motivations based on your own growing experiences. Watching the scene from The Godfather of Don Corleone lamenting the hopes he had for his son… I have a greater depth of perspective now that I have my own son… and my own hopes for him.
And in a way it’s kinda like visiting old friends. As silly as it might seem, I find that I have genuine affection for fictional people played by people paid to pretend to be someone who they’re not.
Rewatching movies teaches me about the technical aspects of how movies are made and how ideas are conveyed visually, but I also start to pick up the strands of themes and the intentions of the filmmakers and actors.
I can’t think of a time when I got sick of watching a favourite movie repeatedly. I remember when I ate too much shrimp in one sitting and I’ve never really recaptured my love of it. Although, I’m well aware that Thea does not share my love for repeated movie watching and I have to be careful not to saturate her. Because it’s more fun to rewatch an old favourite with… an old favourite. I should insert a little smiley face there.