Have you ever watched a movie and fallen absolutely in love with it, told all of your friends about it, and generally placed it on a pedestal, only to find out later that you were wrong? I’m not talking about loving a movie that all of your friends hate, and then saying, “Well, it was okay… but I didn’t LOVE it,” just to appease them. That’s peer pressure. That’s different.
I’m talking about the high, gushy feeling you get when you first see a film, and then years later, when you watch it again, you think to yourself, “I liked that movie?”
What happened? What changed? Not the movie, certainly. No, it was you.
In the same way that we HATE peas as a child and then grow to discover that they’re not always terrible, we find ourselves changing. Maybe a better example: as a child my son LOVED Vienna sausages. If you open a can of those little wieners in front of him now, he’ll start gagging—and so will I. Our tastes change as we mature. That is as it should be.
But is this the case with every movie that we fall out of love with? We’ve just outgrown it? No, I think not.
There are movies that simply don’t stand up to the test of time. Perhaps we’ve come to expect more from a story—there are plenty of flat plots out there. I don’t think it’s wrong to raise the bar.
Maybe the acting wasn’t as good as we first thought. I find this happens especially when the actors are so pretty that we become mesmerized by their looks and forget the story. Occasionally it’s the sets or effects that are simply lacking, but I tend to forgive those shortcomings if the story is full and well-told.
Why do I bring this weird phenomenon to attention? I recently watched a few movies that I had seen before, with the intention of sharing them with others in my family who hadn’t. We watched Jane Eyre with Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine from 1943. I still liked the film, though it wasn’t nearly as frightening as the first time I saw it.
Next, my husband and I watched Our Man in Havana with Alec Guinness and Maureen O’Hara. The first time I watched it I thought it was mysterious with a touch of humor. This time it was hilarious, but a tad slow-paced compared to modern standards. The real mystery was all but gone. Hollywood, if you’re listening, THIS would make a good remake!
We also watched The Man with the Golden Gun. Now, I adore Bond movies. I do. But I think my son best summed up our feelings when, as the end credits began, he announced, “Wow! I had no idea how un-cheesy the new Bond movies are!”
With all of this in mind, I will begin the task of rating my collection of movies more carefully. If there is a film that I haven’t seen in a few years, I will re-watch it before bestowing the fourth or fifth star of blessing.
Maybe the first time I saw it I was infatuated with the leading man. Perhaps I saw it at a birthday party with my best friends and I was oversaturated with joy. It could be that I was watching the movie alone in the dark—that makes almost every film scarier.
I’m not always one for change, but when I come to the realization that my tastes have changed, I try to remember that it’s natural. I’m more mature. I’ve grown. It’s not always that I’ve been de-sensitized to what I see. After all, Darth Vader still scares my socks off!
That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading!