Watch It Again, For The First Time

Gil Milbauer on watching movies repetitively:

[E]ven though we seem to be watching the same movie over again, we really aren't. Each time we are more familiar with the movie and are able to focus on different aspects; like anticipating great lines/scenes, looking for continuity issues, thinking more deeply about how certain aspects relate to other things that come up later.

I've heard many parents complaining about how annoying it is to them that their small children like to watch videos over and over again. The thing that they should realize is that it's a different experience every time, because their knowledge of it (and other things) is different every time.

It's interesting that Gil chose Groundhog Day to make this point; after all, the movie itself is repetition - of living through the same day over and over again while still learning something new with each repetition.

I often check for this quality when watching movies. Is this a movie I'd want to see again? Are there multiple layers or complexities that are not immediately apparent upon the initial viewing? Is there something about the acting or the cinematography that begs to be watched again and again? Is the dialogue so good that it is worth memorizing? My favorite movies have these qualities: Taxi Driver, Memento, Dark City, The Shining, Pulp Fiction, Donnie Darko, Apocalypse Now, The Big Lebowski. I've seen all of these movies countless times and I hope to see each of them a countless more. More so than any other rubric, repeatability is a quality inherent in all great films.

While on the topic of Groundhog Day and repetition, I should also mention Nietzsche's doctrine of eternal recurrence:

What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: "This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence ? even this spider and this moonlight between the trees and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!

Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ? "You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine." ? If this thought gained possession of you, it would change you as you are or perhaps crush you. The question in each and every thing, "Do you desire this once more and innumerable times more?" would lie upon your actions as the greatest weight. Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?

- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, p. 341
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I think I've seen Glengarry

I think I've seen Glengarry Glen Ross multiple times. The interaction between Spacey, Harris, Pacino, and Lemmon are sublime, and of course Baldwin's "Always Be Closing" scene is classic (this was back when David Mamet released GREAT films).

Shawshank Redemption and Go are two more movies that require more than one viewing.

Memento was the most

Memento was the most compelling movie I've seen and remains in my top 5 list of all time. I never get tired of watching it.

When my best friend and I watched movies at his place, 9 times out of 10 it was either The Big Lebowski or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. We know'em thouroughly and it's always an option we keep in mind when bored.

Shouldn't forget "Brazil."

Shouldn't forget "Brazil."

I had thought about

I had thought about Groundhog Day being like the experience I was describing, but I was trying not to spoil the movie for anyone.

Maybe I'll write it that way next time.