Movie Watch

There was a post going around Twitter this past weekend where you are asked to name 5 movies you’d seen at least 10 times. Considering the people I follow, I saw many of the usual suspects mentioned (Star Wars being the big one). Of course, this got my mind going on those movies I could claim that I’d absolutely seen at least 10 times. Now I think for it to count, you would have had to sat and watched at least 90% of the movie. So if Shawshank Redemption is on TNT this weekend and you catch it shortly after Andy arrives in prison, I think that counts, but if they are well into him doing the taxes for the guards… then that doesn’t count.

The weird thing about this little exercise is not so much identifying the greatest hits of my own life, but trying to determine those movies that I have really and truly seen 10 times. Fundamentally, viewing a movie ten times is a lot. When you think about it, it’s a bit harder to do, especially as you move from your childhood into adulthood. Back then you had summers and random weekends and probably random afternoons where I decided to watch Young Guns for the twentieth time. As the list builds, anything that came out in the last decade or so is almost immediately eliminated. There are movies I feel like I’ve seen 10 times, but do I really know that I’ve seen The Replacements 10 times (I mean, I pretty much watch it every time it pops up on TV)? I love A Knight’s Tale, but I gotta be honest, it’s probably more like a 7 or 8 time movie for me at this point. Even something like Avengers is around 6 or 7 times, but there is almost no way it is 10.

But really, what does the list tell us about ourselves and our friends? There is a comfort in rewatching something over and over. I see it in my own household constantly as my wife has certain TV shows on a continuous loop (Veronica Mars, Gilmore Girls, Lucifer being only a few). You’d think she’d rather watch something new (and we do), but she uses the shows as a way to unwind and de-stress. She also uses them to fall asleep, training her mind to shut down as the episode plays on in the background.

There is also something to the idea of needing those familiar movies (or TV Shows) to help us through certain times in our lives. They can be a bonding mechanism or just a way to appease the next generation.

During last year, I definitely found it helpful to get a level of comfort in the familiar by watching something like Firefly on a weekly basis during the summer (about 2 episodes every Friday to really have a sort of throwback to “better times”). Revisiting those characters that I’ve loved through their handful of adventures is always a nice way to spend some time. I don’t have to worry about following every word since I nearly know all of them by heart. Even more than that, on first watch of nearly anything you are going to get caught up in the big moments (whether it is a small comedy or a big blockbuster). A single rewatch allows you to see what you missed in the first place.

Back in college, Clerks and Mallrats played over and over from the same VHS tape. It was a beat-up version copied from a rental so on my old-ass tv we had to turn the volume to its limits in order to hear it (even in our small dorm room).

Also during college, whenever I returned home for Quarter breaks, my sister and I would make a point to watch The Breakfast Club and Weird Science. Those movies became our way to bond in a real way that we didn’t or hadn’t been able to do when we were living together 24/7 and annoying each other day in and day out.

Casting my mind even further back, rewatching the pair of Ghostbusters 2 and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was the only thing that would calm my younger brother down enough to let my mom sleep (she worked nights, so during the summer we babysat). Again, it was a VHS copied from HBO with both movies on it. Over the course of two summers that tape was played nearly every day. It got so bad that my sister hid the stupid tape… but my brother found it time and time again.

Much like music has an ability to recapture a moment in time for the listener, I think movies can remind us of who we were when we first watched them, and then later, on the rewatches, we are able to glean different and new things from those same stories, finding a way to apply them to our current lives.

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John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

 

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

No, I’m not talking about Christmas… that’s still months away. No, I’m talking about that special week that only graces us once a year. That certain something which tells me summer still has about 1 solid month left. That week that informs me that I’ll always be a little scared to go back into the water.

Shark Week.

shark-week

Oh, yea!

Next week I’ll begin filling my DVR up to the brim with any and everything shark related. And then, over the next month I’ll watch it in little pieces here and there (cause I know how to party, clearly).

I’ve said it before, but I truly believe that had I not seen Jaws I might have been a marine biologist. Maybe those were just the dreams of a ten-year old John, but I’m not so sure. I do know this, Jaws scared me more than any horror movie I’ve ever seen: because it changed my thinking of the ocean (it may be fitting that it is currently running in the other room as I write this).

My family goes to the beach every year. We have since I was about 13 or 14. Typically the beach of choice is Destin, FL, but it does change from time to time. The reason I bring this up is that my mom knows to find a place with a decent pool, because that is where I’d rather go swimming. Don’t get me wrong, I love sitting under an umbrella and feeling the salty breeze on my face, nose buried in some book. If that was my life every day for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t be too upset.

But to get into the water? I guess, if you force me to. And I’ll enjoy myself for a little while.

But always I wonder what is beneath me. What’s in the water that I cannot see? Where is that instrument of destruction that could tear me limb from limb?

hammerheads

You may scoff. Say it is an irrational fear. You’re not entirely wrong. It is what it is.

So why, in the name of all that is sane, like shark week so much? Do I get some sort of sick joy from scaring myself mere weeks from when I might find myself face to face with one of them? I certainly don’t want to look into those black, “doll eyes”.

It is because I am fascinated by what they show. I am floored by the documentaries they put on each year. And yes, I know there are a fair number of repeats, but some of those I missed the first time around anyway.

Mostly, I think that kid inside me, who wanted to be a marine biologist all those years ago is exerting his will. Maybe if I had seen the Air Jaws doc instead of Jaws first… who knows?

 

Bonus:

Top 5 Shark movies –

1 – Jaws – Obviously. No brainer. The first, the best, and one of my top 5 all-time favorite movies. I’m amazed by the way we don’t see the damn shark for most of the movie. We see things from its perspective. We see the chaos it has wrought. But until it pops out of the water that first time (“You’re gonna need a bigger boat”). The end of the movie. The moment where father and son are at the dinner table and the kid is mimicing his father.

But more than anything it is the scene where Robert Shaw tells his story about the Indianapolis. That kills me every time. I get goose bumps just thinking about it.

2- Jaws II – Flawed, yes. But its biggest flaw is that Jaws I exists at all. You cannot compare yourself to one of the greatest films of all time. That’s just silly. The scene where the sailboats are tied together and the shark is hunting them. That’s just a cool scene.

3-Open Water – Not exactly a shark movie as much as it is a movie about being stuck in a bad situation… and then there are sharks later. This maybe my second worst nightmare put on the screen (the first being buried alive).

4- Deep Blue Sea – Sam Jackson gets eaten by a shark. Nuff said.

Actually this movie is horrible because why would you develop a smart shark? I get the study to help against Alzheimers, but why wouldn’t you make them without teeth or something. Everyone deserved their fates in this movie.

5- Sharknado – I mean, if by #5 I mean a train wreck that I can’t turn away from. At the time of this blog I have yet to see the Second One (that should have been called Electric Boogaloo), but I am sure it will be all sorts of awesome (and by awesome I mean really horrible).

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John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program. He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

The Dark That Follows is now available in print here or on Amazon!