July 13, 2003

Repeat Viewings

In an article in this Sunday's Times, Emily Yoffe looks at the way young children will watch a video over and over again as a way to completely digest the plot, have satisfaction knowing the next story point and play at being the characters. Cinecultist realized we understand this desire to watch the same thing more than once all too well when we found ourselves (sort of) watching You've Got Mail and The Wedding Planner on TNT this afternoon. (See the humiliating things CC will reveal to our readers?)

Cinecultist knows there are people out there, perfectly cultured and engaging people mind you, who might only own 2 DVDs and one of them might be The Matrix. In this universe with a zillion on demand channels, Netflix and a packed cineplex, why would we want to own movies let alone watch the same ones repeatedly? Especially since we're not toddlers, unable to grasp the complexities of character or plot the first time we watch that Meg Ryan comedy. But those other responses elicited by a familiar story, the comfort of knowing what's next, laughing at familiar jokes or discovering a new aspect to a well-known character can be very soothing and pleasing even to jaded adults.

The first video tape Cinecultist bought was Cameron Crowe's Say Anything, purchased with a gift certificate the year we were 13, after having seen it in the theater with our Dad that spring. CC used to make little check marks on the back of the box to keep track of the number of times we watched it and also had quote contests with our friend, Sarah Stanek, to see who remembered the most dialogue. Thinking about it now, it's not surprising that CC needed a little comfort, a little repetition at this confusing time in our life, when we were starting to figure ourselves out. Lloyd Dobbler and his trench coat, Diane Court and her toothy grin, that Peter Gabriel track these things still feel familiar like sheets washed more times than you can count.

Movies can thrill and take us to new places, or they can be old friends who come out once and awhile just to hold our hand.

Posted by karen at July 13, 2003 11:36 PM