Once upon a time I loved Before Sunrise. I saw this movie -- about an American backpacker and a French student passing a night in Vienna -- in 1996, weeks before embarking on my own European backpacking adventure. For obvious reasons, it really resonated with me. That was going to be me! Having deep conversations about deep philosophical questions with exotically-accented EUROPEANS in pretty European places!
Today I'm not even slightly tempted to watch Before Sunrise, or it's 2004 sequel Before Sunset. I know that the movie belongs to an era, and a mindset that has long since passed for me.
There are some movies and books that you must see at certain phases of your life or you'll never understand their appeal. Today a movie wherein nothing happens, and people just talk about their feelings and thoughts and opinions will not engross me. It'll annoy me.
I don't get Pretty in Pink. Did the poor kids in your high school drive cars? In my school, the only kids with cars were the ones whose rich, divorced fathers were trying to buy their affection. I enjoyed the The Breakfast Club once I stopped obsessing over the title. Why do the kids call themselves The Breakfast Club. No one eats breakfast. But they do eat lunch. No one even references breakfast. Is it suppose to be a play on words? Are they breaking fast from their cliques?
I watched Grease for the first time three or four years ago. The way my peers revere this film, meant I had high expectation. Understandably, I was disappointed. But I can see how it would be kitschy fun to watch this movie as a teenager at a slumber party.
Dirty Dancing isn't -- as I'd long assume -- a story about an impressionable young woman and her statutory rapist. Was I the only person who watched this as a teenager and was horrified that Baby was dating a guy in his mid-thirties? Evidently the movie suffered from bad casting, and I suffered from an inability to suspend my disbelief.
Am I coming across as a pretentious douche who is criticizing the films you love? Does it help if I confess to you some of the movies that I once loved, but now find trite? Here's a partial list:
Singles: I went to the premiere of this movie. Well, the Edmonton premiere. But still. It was exciting. Just looking at the poster makes me all nostalgic for the days of wearing wide-brimmed hats, black tights, work boots, cut offs and flannel shirts. At the same time! While I worked at coffee house. I over identified with every character in this film. What was it about, you might ask. I have no FREAKIN' clue. But there's something about a giving your lover a garage door opener...
Reality Bites: I use to fancy I was quite a bit like Lelaina, the Winona Ryder character. Did you? What? NO! It was just me? Just like her, I wanted to meet a slacker like Troy, so I could change him. But only because he wanted to be changed! He was a slacker who -- with the love of a good, slightly judgmental woman -- would be a non-slacker. Slackerdom, it's like a siren song to women of a particular age. I'm so glad I grew up.
The English Patient: I saw this movie three times. IN THE THEATRE! Because I evidently enjoyed spending money to watch selfish people engage in a needlessly-complicated, emotionally-charged, depraved relationship. I still love Ondaatje's more-nuanced, non-linear book, but I'm boggled by how much I loved this film as a 23 year old.
Dying Young: Falling in love with a terminally ill rich dude is a very noble thing to do. As you can infer from the title, this film doesn't have a happily ever after ending. In my early 20s, I loved unhappy endings. Happy endings were for the middle class.
Also of note: this movie was the first time I saw a young beautiful woman with a tattoo (on the back of Julia Roberts' character). Prior to this I'd only seen tattoos on the forearms of my friends' dads. Remember the good old days when hardly anyone had tattoos and you could tell whose father you should NEVER accept a ride from based on the presence of tattoos? "Oh, thanks Allie's dad. But you and your crudely rendered Betty Boop tattoo can just remain seated on the chesterfield. I called my non-tattooed dad and he'll come pick me up."
Want to join me on this celluloid trip down memory lane? Are there films you once loved, but now you can't bear to watch even when they come on the television late at night? Is it too late for me to watch that movie with John Cusack where he holds the boom box over his head in the pouring rain? Does the movie have a plot, or does the previous sentence sum up the entire film?