One of my favorite ways to spend a lazy afternoon is to - surprise - watch a movie. Although seeing a new movie is always at the very least interesting, my preference on certain days is to revisit a film that I’ve already seen. In addition to being comforting, watching a familiar film is also a great way to reexamine past memories and old feelings.
You may have had the same experience. Much like hearing the first strings of an old favorite song, the opening scene of an old favorite movie may drum up an old romance, a broken heart - now healed, or a particular time in your life when things were just… different.
Thinking of old favorites, a few titles instantly come to mind: “Jason’s Lyric” was the first truly romantic movie I ever watched with a boy, and I can clearly remember my face flushing in embarrassment during the steamier scenes. “The Wedding Singer” was a great experience I shared with my best friend and I smile as I remember us singing along with the totally rad 80s soundtrack. “Spellbound” was an early introduction to Alfred Hitchcock, whose films I learned to truly appreciate.
At times, I’m amazed by the differences in my adult perception and that of my younger self. For instance, as an adult, I love the ballet. A luxury that never ceases to delight me is to see “Romeo and Juliet” when it’s in town. However, as a teen, I preferred to see the Shakespearean love story adapted by “Moulin Rouge” director, Baz Luhrmann. In this version, the then 21-year-old Leonardo Dicaprio was Romeo, and Claire Danes, then star of the MTV teen drama “My So-Called Life,“ was Juliet. Although the dialogue remained true to the original play, the setting was updated to a modern day Verona, complete with wild parties, street performers on the beach, and a priest cool enough to wear Hawaiian shirts to church.
As a kid, “Mahogany,” starring Diana Ross and Billy Dee Williams, was a chance for me to watch my idol wear beautiful clothes and break hearts. As an adult, it’s a joy to see Ms. Ross in her element, and I still think that she and Billy Dee Williams made one of the best big screen pairs in Hollywood history. “Sixteen Candles,” an 80s favorite for many, was a wonderful story that I could sympathize with. I fell in love with Molly Ringwald’s crush, Michael Schoeffling, and I wanted to cry at the sweet ending. Watching the film at a friend’s sleepover, I was the only little girl who didn’t get distracted enough to stop watching the movie.
The next time you consider heading out to your local theatre, consider staying in and reviewing an old favorite. Remind yourself why you loved it then and why you love it now. Think back to what you were doing when the movie was released. You might be surprised at how much you've changed, and how much you've stayed the same.