Bob and I have very different views about movies in more ways than one, but a major distinction is the amount of times we watch them. If I like a movie, I’ll see it over and over again until I can recite the lines and watch without actually watching. When I had eye surgery I was able to “watch” my favorite shows and movies while lying horizontal on the couch with an ice pack over my bandaged eye and didn’t feel I missed anything at all. Bob, however, watches movies once. He doesn’t enjoy the incessant watching, and even the movies that he loves he only watches once every few years as opposed to once every few months (or weeks), like I do.
From my experience, it seems that more people hold Bob’s movie-watching philosophy. I find that if I like a movie, I can watch it again. Case in point, on Thursday Bob and I saw an advance screening of Gone Girl. I have already gone to the movies with some friends to see it again. And I liked it just as much.
I do understand that watching a movie repeatedly does take out some of the sparkle. I recently tried to watch Forrest Gump, one of my all-time favorites, and found myself finding it a bit long halfway through because I’ve seen it so many times. I can watch Mean Girls in ten minutes because I know my favorite scenes. Sometimes watching a movie too often makes you less inclined to pay attention, less apt to sit in the dark and enjoy the experience. There’s no denying that repeat watching treads a dangerous line of over-watching.
But the joy of re-watching a favorite, for me, outweighs the dangers. I don’t get sick of them until I’ve seen them a million times (no exaggeration). You always notice something new, which makes it fun—for example, when re-watching Gone Girl, my friend pointed out that Ben Affleck has gray hair later in the movie and didn’t at the beginning, which is most probably a deliberate choice by David Fincher to showcase Affleck’s character’s hardships over the course of the movie. But aside from noticing new things, I’ve found that the things that make me smile or held my attention the first time don’t fail to do that again, if it’s a good movie or a movie I truly enjoyed. Watching Jason Segel sing his Dracula musical in Forgetting Sarah Marshall is always enjoyable; the "Hungry Eyes" dance sequence montage in Dirty Dancing forever makes me wish I could dance; even though I found it long the last time I watched it, seeing Forrest meet little Forrest never gets old in Forrest Gump. My mom calls some T.V. shows my "comfort shows," the ones I can curl up with on the couch to watch over and over if I'm sick or anxious about something, and movies are the same. If a movie is good, it should stand the test of time and the test of repeat viewings. If you get sick of it the second time around, then was it really a good movie to begin with?