Repeated Viewings

June 28, 2008

Last night, in honor of Cyd Charisse (God rest her soul), I watched THE BAND WAGON for what I would guess to be the fourth or fifth time.  I’ve been finding something to like about this movie each time I watch it.  Sometimes I’ll watch it for the dancing technique of Fred Astaire (my eyes aren’t always on Cyd Charisse, but you can understand why they would be!).  Last night I decided to focus on the dramatic story line, and found it to be full of great comedy, and real dramatic tension as the company of actors tried to figure out how to salvage the train wreck that was their musical version of Faust.

I knew how the story would end, but I still sat there wondering if they would manage to pull it off.  That got me to think about why I’ll watch some movies again and again.  Do I watch some movies over and over again for the technical wizardry?  I’d be lying if I said the answer was always either yes or no.  Sometimes that’s just what I’m in the mood for-a movie with a lot of “How did they do that?” moments.  It’s fun to escape every once and a while, isn’t it?

But lately, I have found that the reasons I will watch some movies repeatedly is because the script is so well written that the dramatic tension is as fresh the fifth time as it was the first.  MIRACLE is a great example of what I’m talking about.  I watched the U.S. Hockey team beat the Russians live on TV back in 1980.  I remember where I was and with whom I was watching when Al Michaels yelled that immortal phrase, “Do you believe in miracles? YES!!!!”.  Still, when I saw the movie for the first time, and a few weeks ago on DVD, I still sat on the edge of my seat as the great moments in the hockey game played out.  What’s more, I kept wondering up to the Olympics scenes if these men from Minnesota and Massachusetts would EVER put aside their differences and become a cohesive team.

What’s even more surprising is that a movie doesn’t necessarily have to have a happy ending to maintain the dramatic tension on future viewings.  I’m thinking of PAY IT FORWARD in this case.  In the final act of the movie, Haley Joel Osment’s character becomes the victim of a violent attack by two school bullies.  And when I say violent, I mean knives and stabbing were involved.  Even though I know it ends tragically for this character, I still find myself hoping that when the doctor at the hospital breaks the news it will be different.  I know it may seem silly, as the movie plays out the same way no matter how often you watch it, but that’s what I mean about the dramatic tension when it’s done well.

So I say to you, don’t feel foolish for watching your favorite movies repeatedly.  If it meets your standard of dramatic tension, then you have every right to enjoy that same dramatic tension, whether it ends in a high or a low.


One comment

  1. […] bookmarks tagged repeated Repeated Viewings saved by 4 others     erin1209 bookmarked on 07/12/08 | […]

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