Once, after watching The Naked Gun at a friend’s cabin, said friend called his sister a dildo. She immediately told on him to their mom who went ballistic. I believe the movie was still running in the background as she interrogated us about where we learned that word and if we knew its definition. We were very young and had no idea what the definition was. We kept our mouths shut as to where we learned it because we were afraid she wouldn’t let us watch The Naked Gun ever again.
I’m not sure when in my life I learned what a dildo was. At that time it was just an hilarious sounding word, but I’m sure that when I did learn I looked back at that experience and went, “Oooooh, no wonder…” Lately I have been on a kick of watching movies and TV shows I loved as a little kid like The Naked Gun in search of a similar experience minus the loud/effective parenting.
The reason watching these old shows is so fun is there’s a simultaneous nostalgia and newness. There are scenes and lines I have forgotten about and then remember a split second before they happen. It’s like a satisfying deja vu. The comedies are the most fun because there are a lot of jokes I just didn’t understand due to their adult nature, a la The Naked Gun. They are like different versions of the movies from my past.
I have watched most of the movies multiple times since starting this venture. The newness part wears off with each viewing; the nostalgia sticks around a little longer but also starts to fade. I think I watch them multiple times because I won’t be able to do this sort of thing again and I want to do it as many times as I can. I can’t love movies I didn’t understand as a little kid again for obvious reasons. I could not watch them again for another 15 years, but it wouldn’t quite be the same as I now understand the movies. I already get the punch line to “It will be Terry’s job to give the actors their hand cue,” from Wayne’s World. There wouldn’t be any now-I-get-that-joke moments, or at least very few.
This experience of the old/new is one I enjoy and know is fleeting. I have this same thought when I go to the theater to watch a movie I already know I’m going to love. The most recent example being Django Unchained. I sat in the theater thinking to myself, “Take this in. You only get to see this for the first time once.”
My wife and I often talk about which movies/books/TV shows etc. we would erase from our memory if we could find a hypnotist or an Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind-style doctor to delete selective memories. I would take a bunch of time off work and watch them for the first time again. I would dedicate one day to watching Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Inglorious Basterds, and Django in that order. How awesome (and appropriate) would it be to again watch Memento for the first time? I would watch the Bourne trilogy again so I could have that This-Matt-Damon-Movie-Is-Supposed-To-Be-Awesome moment again. I might even watch movies I saw as a juvenile like Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore so I could see them for the first time as an adult and finally answer the eternal question: Do I like them only because of how old I was when I first saw them?
After going through the movies, I would launch into more long-term shows: Lost, Arrested Development, The Office, Firefly (long term? ha.), the first three seasons of 24 etc. Man, that would be great fun. I know it’s bad to focus on the past and want to re-hash it, but it can be a lot of fun.