I’m almost begging for an argument with this post, but here goes nothing…

There are three words I say, and I say them often. They are the words that drive damned near everybody who hears them nuts, and the words that make me look like a chronic assoholic. Thing is, I’m not saying them to sound smart, or to browbeat someone into seeing things my way. I say them because they are three words that have helped me in my cinematic obsession.

By now two or three dozen readers know what three words I’m talking about, but to the uninitiated, I’m talking about my unofficial creedo:

“Watch It Again.”

Allow me to explain.

For starters, permit me to list off a handful of titles:


What do all these films have in common? The first time I watched them, I didn’t like them. The reasons are varied, and going over the how’s and why’s isn’t really the point of this post. The point is that in every case I could have very easily left them for dead and never given them a second thought.

But in every single case, the same thing happened. People close to me – friends, co-workers, relatives – would bring up these films and talk about them with a glimmer in their eye. They’d quote lines, make references, and sometimes even go so far as to call me crazy for not liking them. In many instances, their passion rubbed off, and I’d think to myself “I musta missed somethin’ “. I decided to give the film another spin, and sure enough they were right and I started seeing the movie in a way I hadn’t before.

In recent years it’s been other bloggers, podcasters and movie geeks doing the damage. I’ve listened to people talk about films I’d skimmed past, often ones that I believe I “should” see early on, that for whatever reason didn’t land. I’ve talked with some of you, listened to your recordings, and read your writings, and it’s often given me a different perspective and a better appreciation.

I’m not just saying “watch it again” to be a shithead. What I’ve noticed through examining many people’s perspectives on art and culture is how fluid our tastes are. With every passing day, and every film watched we change our whole outlook. Ever watch a film you thought was badass as a kid and realized how shitty it is? The equation works in reverse too. I’d be a damned liar if I tried to convince you that the films I loved at seventeen were the exact same films that I love now. Not that I don’t dig those ones anymore, so much as I enjoy a wider range with the passing of time and life experiences. Think back to your first sip of alcohol as a kid – and compare that to your taste for alcohol as an adult.

Another motive behind parroting the same advice comes from an inevitability that occurs with re-watching. The first time we watch a film, we are as deeply immersed in it as we ever will be. Everything is so new, and we drown in the plot since we’re experiencing it for the first time. The second time around, given that we already know the plot, subtleties are able to come through better. Watching a film again allows the viewer to bask in nuance like photography, expression, delivery, and patterns. Being able to stew on such details can make the difference between “Didn’t much care for it” and “That was better than I remembered”.

The final factor is mindset – the factor that is by far the most subjective. Putting aside the fact that our mindset changes with age, there are dozens of reasons why a person could write off a film due to being in the wrong frame of mind. Hell, sometimes my enjoyment of a film was sullied because I was just in a bad mood that day. Is that the movie’s fault? This isn’t even counting the whole side-tangent of expectations. Did I initially dislike THE THIN RED LINE because it was a bad film? or did I dislike it because it wasn’t SAVING PRIVATE RYAN?

Thanks to people suggesting I circle back, over the years I have reclaimed films I would have otherwise tossed away. In some cases, I’ve dug even deeper and researched them like philosophical edicts, leading to even further enjoyment. Do I demand that you do such a thing? No. It helped me, but if you don’t want to work to fully enjoy a film that makes complete sense to me. I’ve also been told that life is too short to spend rewatching something you weren’t fussed about. That’s true, but going forward, you’ll likely spend some of that time watching something else so bad that even I don’t think it has “Watch it Again” merit. What seems like the bigger waste of time?

So no, Virginia – I don’t say “Watch It Again” to be a twit. I say it because over the years people have said it to me, and they’ve been right.

Not just about movies, but about music, film, TV…you name it. High brow, low brow, the serious and the silly. Sure I could have just shrugged them off and moved on to the next thing on the list…but then I think about all those favorites I’d never have reclaimed, and say a silent thanks to all of the people who suggested to me that I go back and give it another try.