‘As the usher brings forth the Ice cream and snacks, we wait for the main feature to resume’
Second Times a Dream, well sometimes
My Father in Law only watches films once, he’s not into films and media the same way both myself and my wife are, but just the once? I don’t expect anyone to get obsessive about certain things that I do, but just the once? There are so many things that my opinion has changed on subsequent viewings. Sometimes good sometimes bad, it can be the passage of time so that either societal or personal viewpoints have changed. The best films can survive these changes but weaker ones suffer.
I recently watched the Phil Collins film Buster (1988), I had not seen it since the late 80’s early 90’s. I remember it being an enjoyable if un-remarkable film. Re-watching it I saw so many issues, some that were pointed out by critics at the time, but I had not taken any notice of. I can now see how it can be seen that it sanitises what was a major crime, in which someone ended up dying due to the after effects. It played into the stereotypes of the loveable rogue when those involved in the Great Train Robbery were in fact some rather unpleasant career criminals. I don’t believe that everything based on real life needs to portray real life events perfectly, but if something purports to be a real life story it needs to at least consider it’s tone and how those historical events can be seen.
As a fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy I am now overwhelmed with content and media, all of varying quality. When I was growing up a Science Fiction program on television was a rarity so you would lap it up no matter what. Now with numerous Television stations and streaming platforms throwing money at projects it can be difficult to pick what to go with. We all only have a finite amount of time and I have other things I like to and have to do. I am a huge Philip K Dick fan, I have read his books since I was about 14 years old even his non Science Fiction ones. I recommend ‘Puttering Around in a Small land’ if you want to go down road with his writings. Anyway back to the point, surprisingly I haven’t watched Electric Dreams (the program based around Dick’s short stories) as I just haven’t found the time yet but I will. The Amazon Series of The Man in the High Castle I should also be all over, however I watched around three episodes and didn’t get on with it. This being one of his most famous books I need to give this a second chance, I think you need to pick your battles and this could be one worth the time.
There are other reasons to watch films more than once, the basic ‘you just love the story’. Films and television can be like music, they can be associated with memories of both good and bad times and that is why nostalgia is so important in marketing. I have watched the Star Wars films more times than I can say, other than being excellent films and a lot of fun they have a lot of memories for me. If you read my Intermission post about seeing The Rise of Skywalker you will understand the place these films have in my life. I also have films that I relate to when I first met Rosie my Wife, films we saw together or films that were around at the time. You can also learn to love films because of their associations, I was never a big fan of Forest Gump (1994), it was though my Mums favourite film and when I met Rosie she also liked the film so I have watched it with her numerous times and come to appreciate it and Robert Zemeckis’s work on the film.
It can sometimes be that the association of a film with an event will overwrite the quality (or lack of) of that film. I have noticed when people put together lists of their favourite films they sometimes seem to only contain critically acclaimed films. This negates the purpose of film, as well as being there to tell stories film is there much like music to stir emotion, without a levels of emotion how would you care or empathise with characters? How else can you explain my love of films like Hawk the Slayer (1980) or The Sword and the Sorcerer (1982)?
Then there is a basic reason for re-watching a film, you miss things. There is so much nuance that can be lost on a first viewing, by watching something again you can pick up so much extra information (both visually and aurally) that it can change your perception of it. The age of the video recorder in the 1980’s was a revolution it enabled people to easily re watch films, you can argue that at points this is negative as people get obsessed over the small things rather than just enjoy what they are watching. There is however no reason why you can do both depending on your mood. If I need cheering up I will let myself be taken into the world of Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), this doesn’t stop me at other times watching the film and want to examine what delights The Collector has in his collection and wonder how he got Howard the Duck?
Re-watching something because you may have misjudged it is also well worth it, however with the proviso that you need to pick your battles. To me though the greatest reason to watch something again is because you either love it or the memories it brings back.
Until next time, I’m off to create some memories.
The lights dim, we now resume the main feature’