Movie Madness

My movie reviews and rants at your fingertips.

The Second Time Through: the Occasional Necessity of Rewatching

You ever seen Dragonball: Evolution? I have…twice. Before you question my credibility, let me explain. The first time I saw the film, I had too much Mountain Dew and needed something easy to follow and pretty to look at. Despite having the exceptional Emmy Rossum, the film had garnered nothing positive in the realm of critical or commercial success. But despite all that, I gravitated towards it that fateful Thursday night a year ago. When the credits rolled, I was left surprised at how tolerable it was. This film, a stinker to its core, had managed to help me by having a horrible reception. My lack of expectations gave me cause to say I enjoyed it. Months later, when an opportunity came to rewatch it, and I was left bored and feeling cheated. This time, my own feelings of the film ruined it for me. Thankfully so, since the film isn’t a good film at all. But this was just another example of a theory I’ve been practicing since high school: the rewatch.

Rewatching can occur for any number of reasons. Mulholland Dr. and Daredevil required it because I couldn’t get through them the first time. Like in the case of Dragonball: Evolution, I had to see if this was actually as good as I thought.

Rewatching a film is described as this: having seen a film, a repeat viewing can be to either 1)strengthen your like of a movie 2)re-evaluate your previous assumption or memory of a film 3)to see if it worth buying or 4)to see something new or different about the film, like another layer ora different aspect.

A week ago, I saw the movie Gnomeo & Juliet with my girlfriend. I had trouble enjoying the film because I had something weighing on my mind that wouldn’t let me let go and enjoy the film. The more I think of the film, the more I like it. But because I wasn’t it an accepting mindset, I didn’t review it here so I could do it at a later point fairly (I’d give it a 3 if you really want to know). Other movies have suffered this same fate, Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

I usually make it a point to rewatch a movie for reason #3. Since my DVD/Blu-ray collection is close to 400 titles, I’m learning to rely on the rewatch more and more to remove unnecessary purchases (Do I really need to own a movie from the Twilight franchise?!). Every since high school, I learned that buying a DVD was an investment. Buy only the ones you really love to watch, and rent the ones you don’t watch more than once every couple of years.

Some films that I buy I love because of reason #4. David Lynch, Darren Aronofsky (minus The Fountain), Tarantino, Nolan, Fincher, and Tarsem are all directors who rely on this. Movies like Cameron Crowe’s Vanilla Sky or some of this year’s best picture nominees (Black Swan, Inception) are perfect examples of movies that need multiple viewings. There is too much to absorb in one viewing. These directors and films could be Champions of the Rewatch.

Some movies, at least for me, are either strengthened or weakened by the second viewing. Like my first example, the rewatch allowed me to see the film as the dud it is. However, certain films that I didn’t enjoy the first time I warmed up to the second time through.

I know a certain reader will declare blasphemy, but Hulk was one of those such movies. When I originally went, I had high expectations and the end simply undercut everything I was hoping for. After the film, I went on a 10 minute screaming session about how absurd the last moments of the film. Years later, I revisited it and loved it. Easily one of my favorite Marvel movies. (Sorry Andrew, it’s how I feel)

Another big example of this is Citizen Kane. Similar to how the industry received it during its first release in 1941, I shrugged it off. I thought it was bland and old and long. Boy was I wrong. The second and third time through was when it really hit me. This movie has some brilliant quotes and probably my favorite black and white movie ever.

Sin City suffered a similar fate, but I had been so enraptured by the source material I couldn’t keep them apart. Rewatching it allowed me to see just how well crafted it was and how faithful it was to the source material. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind somehow scared me. It was way too relatable for comfort. But fortunately, the rewatching helped me love it as it is.

On the flip side, movies can lose their discovery feeling and lose a lot of its fun when you know what’s coming the second time through. Movies like City Island and Sunshine couldn’t keep up the tension for me the second time through.

Not all movies can sustain you multiple times through. Like I mentioned in my post about Will Ferrell, The Repeated Appeal of Will Ferrell, I touched on how some movies are subject to an even more rare reason: to memorize and quote. This for the occasions involving cultural and possibly educational purposes. Anchorman and Borat quotes are all over today’s slang. Familiarity with these things keep us in the group as opposed to out of it. Thus, Netflix and Redbox staying where you can see them.

All in all, there are many instances when a rewatch is necessary for film. It isn’t always going to give the desired result, but it happens more than you would think. So go rerent Titanic and call me in the morning.


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