TROUBLE CITY

Is it possible to see a movie too many times?

BlogsRonald PanarottiComment


I'm sure the smartass answer to that question is a simple "uh, yeah," but there are some films that it seems you simply never get tired of, no matter how many times you've seen them or how many wasted hours of your life you could have spent doing something else more worthwhile that it adds up to.

I'm sure we all have our favorites in this area. Maybe it's something that, if you happen to catch it on TV, you'll always stick around to see it through to the end, even if you tune in when the film is already half-over. Or it may be something where your VHS copy is getting worn out and, rather than see the obvious wisdom that perhaps you've watched the movie too many times already, you proceed to get a new copy on DVD (or now, Blu-Ray).

Or it may be an emotional crutch, a movie that will always snap you out of a bad mood no matter what kind of day you've had.

I've seen the "Star Wars" films so many times that I know most of the soundtracks by heart (we're talking the original trilogy here). I could probably say something similar about most of the James Bond films. And my favorite bad movie, "The Black Hole."

When I'm stuck standing in line somewhere, sometimes it's a stress reliever to try to silently remember how the movies unfold, which I can sort of manage (the sound portions, at least). It's not unlike listening to a book on tape -- and it's better (and more entertaining) than fuming over the long lines that I can't do anything about. (Try it, if there's a film that you remember fairly well. It actually does make the time pass quicker. By the time you get to a good scene, you'll probably be done waiting.)

Anyway, my point is, there's no reason why I need to watch any of those movies ever again. I've seen them enough to last a lifetime.

So what's stopping me from just donating them to the local library? Sure, I spent money on them, but that's only part of it.

It's not that I am getting anything new out of these movies at this point. But I think the reason we gravitate to certain films over and over is that they are like the cinematic version of comfort food for us. They may evoke nostalgia for a certain time in our lives during which the movie in question had just been released. "Star Wars" certainly has that appeal -- I was a child when the original films came out, and the appeal is remembering what got me hooked on movies as well as a more innocent time when I was free to just be a kid. (All those great Kenner action figures and playsets didn't hurt, either.)

I've found that people who admit to liking "The Black Hole" are most often those who were about 8 when it came out, like I was, and have a fondness for Disney films of that period.

And I guess it was part of that "golden age" of science fiction movies our generation had, bookended by "A New Hope" on one end and "Jedi" on the other and fun, if cheesy, offerings like "The Black Hole" in between. There were also action figures for "The Black Hole," but they were not nearly as cool as the "Star Wars" ones. (Besides, what can you do with an Anthony Perkins action figure? Have it attack Princess Leia in the shower?)

Frankly, I could not imagine never watching any of these movies ever again, even though I've seen them countless times already. I guess that, over time, movies just become part of who we are. We like what we like, and we want the things we want -- including our favorite films from years gone by.

And I guess that's a simple enough pleasure to ask for.