My friend Erin has been tweeting about the movies of 1990- how she felt about them then, how she feels about them now. It’s a fun exercise. Erin’s a genius in many ways, and her dissections of pop culture are fantastic.
Her tweets reminded me of a phenomenon that I experienced as a kid but never as an adult, which is watching movies over and over and over again, usually every day, for an extended period of time. Did you guys do this too? Why? Were we that bored? Were we that lacking in new movies to watch? Was there something about our developing brains that required constant repetition? Would we have done this had the Internet been a thing? I have more questions than answers, but here are the four movies I remember watching over and over and over.
Back to the Future- This was the first movie I ever watched on a VCR. I watched it over and over and over, annoyed with how long it took to rewind back to the beginning so I could watch it again. And the scene where Michael J Fox plays the modified guitar and gets blasted across the room? I rewound, replayed, and paused that scene at least 60 times. I had to know how it worked.
Heathers- This was my first “favorite” movie, and god bless my parents for realizing that the R rating was like the buzzing of flies to me. I was obsessed with Heathers, in a way I’ve not been obsessed with anything else. It was just so cool to look at, and even at a young age, I realized that it was smart- smarter than me, in fact. I watched it until I could recite the dialogue along with it, and until I had memorized everyone’s outfits in every scene. I loved studying slightly older females at this age, planning my semi-adulthood, and this movie gave me a lot to look at.
Real Genius- Real Genius does not get enough credit for being one of the first nerd-positive movies to make being a nerd look cool, without being called “Revenge of the Nerds”. It helped that Val Kilmer was the hippest nerd on the planet, and a fox. I watched this movie almost every day for about 8 months. I loved the intrigue, I loved the humor, and I loved that it made kid Emily feel smart.
Young Guns II- I have no explanation for this one. It was not a fantastic movie, but I think I had a Balthazar Getty crush. For one summer during middle school, it was my routine to wake up, do nothing, go into the basement, watch Young Guns II, do more nothing, eat, and then sleep.
I’m sure there are tons more movies I’ve rewatched a thousand times but have forgotten about- like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, for example. But you get the point. Maybe it was a necessary part of development… it was a necessary part of my development, at least. When you’re young and your hormones and your body are changing so fast you cannot keep up, perhaps you need a bit of repetition and comfort to keep you grounded. Perhaps I was working on finding my own personality in these movies, trying to figure out who I was by examining the things that kept me the most engaged. I see bits of myself in each of these movies now, and bits of these movies so deeply in my emotional DNA that I cannot figure out what came first.
Or more likely, it was boredom.