Double-Hit Films

My grumpy post about how I’m not excited by film at the moment has sparked lots of great comments about good movies (and good television).

Svend asked, “Are you disenchanted with the act of communal cinema-going, the film format, or the sorts of stories that tend to be told in film?” To which my answer is, “yes”. Which isn’t helpful. I haven’t self-analysed very much, and suspect that I’m just going through a DIFFICULT PERSONAL TIME in my relationship to movies. But it’s still the case that I think I want sitting down in a cinema to feel like a significant jolt away from the ordinary run of things, and I’ve half-convinced myself I’m not going to get that. If I was to click back through this very blog I would probably find evidence to the contrary in the recent past, but enthusiasm is low regardless.

So I got to thinking about times when I got that jolt enough that I went back a second time. Movies that I went to see twice on their first run, while they were fresh in the cinema and in my memory. How many? And what does that say about me?

I can think of five:

Diagnoses welcome.

18 thoughts on “Double-Hit Films”

  1. I saw Terminator 2 thrice at the movies. It coincided with me having enough money to see a movie thrice and being allowed out late in town. And having a bunch of friends who wanted to see it but couldn’t all go on the same day. And cheap movie tickets.

    I enjoyed it every time.

  2. Is the high quality of serialised TV changing your expectations of the visual medium? There are a lot of movies that I want to watch that are out on DVD, but they aren’t going to get much of a look in until I’m done watching The Wire, The Shield, I’m Alan Partidge, Brass Eye and a whole bunch of other great TV shows.

  3. Pearce: heh. Yes, actually. Riding on the train most days = awesome book-reading time. My book love is high. Are you hinting that book-love and film-love exist in a zero-sum relationship? 😛

    Matt: T2 strikes me as a very worthy thricewise experience. Did the annoying bits get more annoying, I wonder, or less? And regarding TV – hmm. Don’t think so, actually. I think of movies and TV as very different beasts.

  4. A friend and I saw The Matrix probably 10-20 times over the course of a few years at the movies. In Christchurch there was a late night show of it for a few years on Friday. Other than that I don’t think I can recall going to the movies more than once for a particular film. But I am a serial rewatcher.

    I feel really similar to you about movies. For me now I get what I’m looking for much more often from TV shows, with the added bonus of not being at the theatre. My main issue with theatre’s being, often uncomfortable, over priced, dirty and filled with people who lack appropriate manners. Whereas my house is the opposite. I have issues though.

  5. I’ve seen many movies more than once, but off the top of my head: Thank you for Smoking, Ponyo, Stardust, Travellers and Magicians, Titanic (maybe like, 4 times), Baz Lurhman’s Romeo and Juliet…ok so I’m a serial rewatcher.

  6. First element of diagnosis: four of those five films were from ’96 and ’97. No prizes for guessing when my peak moviegoing period was.

    Hot Friday was seen twice unexpectedly. I did what I was told when I was young, and seeing a movie twice in the cinema seemed an impossibly strange thing to do, but I remember enjoying it thoroughly both times (and understanding more of it the second time).

    Alien: Resurrection was seen twice out of duty, and the hope that it would improve the second time (nope) (although i still like 3/4 of the film).

    Scream and Swingers seem to share a sensibility, to me – knowing, arch, insider movies. With combinations of the hilarious and the agonising.

    Titanic was a great cinema experience and I don’t care what you say. Remember that this film ran continuously in Wellington cinemas for over a year. That’s uncredible!

  7. Morgue: No, just curious. For me book-love and movie-love aren’t particularly related to each other. For example I can’t even imagine wanting to watch a movie on a train or at lunch, and I very seldom want to read two of the same sorts of books in a row.

    I actually saw Ponyo twice at the movies in the space of a week – both screenings at last year’s film festival.

    Topping that, I saw Natural Born Killers 3 times in 4 days back in 1994.

    Dvd has changed the way I rewatch movies considerably – now I can just cue up a favourite setpiece at a moment’s notice.

    Sometimes this can cause a problem, e.g. in recent times wanting to watch specific scenes from Jaws and The Devil Rides Out (respectively) resulted in me getting so caught up in the movies that I ended up staying up later than I’d planned watching the entire thing. Directors Steven Spielberg & Terence Fisher both really knew how to draw in an audience/ Unfortunately Fisher is dead, and Spielberg is not looking so great himself.

    Many times the same thing happens to me with a book, but I don’t recall it happening often with a tv show. I seldom feel the need to rewatch a tv episode at all – in my experience even good tv tends to be absorbed in its entirity on the first viewing, whereas most of my favourite books and movies leave me wanting to go back to look for more.

    Perennial exceptions: The Prisoner, Twin Peaks, The Singing Detective.

  8. Titanic? Had to be forced on you….

    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Jurassic Park, Star Wars III, Gladiator and Spirited Away come to mind. Things that look good BIG.

  9. Babette’s Feast (my mum paid for me to take my Nana and she embarrassed me by telling everyone around us how her father was from Sweden and she went to visit), Twelfth Night (version with awesome Ben Kingsley, Nigel Hawthorne and Helena Bonham Carter), Dirty Dancing (I can’t think why)

    Have usually been too broke to see movies twice, but there are plenty of others I’d like to see again now…

  10. Hello from the aftermath of the Edinburgh International Film Fest, where I am glowing with love for cinema.
    That’s not to say I saw anything 100% awesome, just more the experience of seeing lots of random films in a short period of time.
    Morgue, my advice to you (if you are concerned about not being into film – if you’re not concerned then that’s all right) is to:
    – cut down on formulaic films. If you already know how it’s going to go, you don’t need to see it. This applies to “high brow” stuff as much as to blockbusters.
    – see films at random, sort of. By exercising the power of choice you are perhaps going to see the same types of films over and over again, even if your watching habits are diverse. I used to find Film Soc good in this respect.
    – see films at cinemas you like. If I was in Wellington I’d be looking to catch something at the (Paramount) Bergman or the Brooks, because I like the bricks and the seats are comfy. Dunno what your favourites are. Smell is sometimes an important consideration.
    – forgive films for being stupid in parts, or half-assed. I wasn’t the biggest fan of “Evil in the Time of Heroes”, but the escape from the stadium full of zombies was, in retrospect, brilliant.
    – sometimes it’s good to have viewing projects. Like setting out to be a completist for a director you don’t know too well. (I’m doing Linklater and Haneke! Yay.) Or else “this month I have to see 5 films with Steve Zahn in it”. Etc. It’s fun.
    Might have more advice but I just ran dry.
    – See a film called “The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle”. It will singlehandedly fix your problem I reckon.

  11. I totally endorse Chris’s suggestion to see movies at random – the Film Fest is great for this. Last year it was movies that didn’t particularly grab me in the book but which I saw just because they happened to be on days I wanted to see movies (e.g. Camino) that pleased me the most.

    Also, The White Ribbon was brilliant. Yes. Apart from Funny Games, I endorse Michael Haneke.

  12. Funny Games was poop. Both versions.
    I want a shot for shot English language remake of “The White Ribbon” with Steve Zahn as the schoolteacher.


  13. Can you imagine a Zahn and Zane double feature? The brooding SUPER SEXY Zane and his goofy-but-competant sidekick Zahn? It could be called ‘Zahnzania.’

    . . .

    This is a bit silly.

    . . .


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