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Saturday, 20 August 2016

Reliving & Recapturing My Long Lost Childhood & Youth: Why I Enjoy Watching Movies From The 1980s & 1990s

When I was younger, much younger during the 1980s (I was the first born child in the family back in 1981), me and my family never went to the cinema, nor watched movies. Going to the cinema for us wasn't something we could afford to do (& to this day, it is still expensive to go to the cinema - or movie theater as it is known in the US), and as because my parents were from a foreign land, they didn't really get all the American, Hollywood culture and fame that came with it. I was mostly bombarded with TV shows, kids cartoons, quiz shows you name it. Therefore, as a child up until my early 30s, I was more of TV person, rather than a movie one. The only time I ever got round to seeing films was when they would be on TV, but even when VHS tapes were still around, I never owned movies on videotape as a young child as they were quite expensive. I do remember at one point owning a copy of Mrs. Doubtfire on VHS tape in 1994: it was a film I was dying to see and because I didn't see it in the cinema, because it is so costly to go to the cinema, I'd thought I'd wait until the film was released on video. When it finally came out, I went to my local Woolworths, went to the aisle that had it and my parents paid for it and I watched it at home, over and over. At 13 yrs old, that for me, was my first real taste of movies. 

And ever since then came the internet and DVDs, which became more cheaper and affordable over the years and through it, I find time to catch up on watching & buying old movies from the 1980s and 1990s that I very much missed out on first time round as a youngster and teenager, but as a 30- something adult. There is something very striking about watching a film catered to adults when it originally came out during that time - but in your late 20s, early - mid 30s and early -mid 40s, especially today. 




*1990s Film Alphabet by Stephen Wildish

My favourite decades in film were the 1990s and 1980s and so by reliving those decades and watching stuff that I was practically too young for - as well as didn't know much about, it really gives me a sense of appreciation and understanding at what they were trying to say to the audience, who were much older than me at the time of the release of those movies. But also in reflecting back on the movies that I did watch as a child, that my sense of perspective has changed so much, or my new fond appreciation for them as an adult: when you watch a movie or TV show when you were younger, and you re-watch it again when are older, your opinions, views, ideas that you thought you once had about it 10, 20, 30 years ago, are now different as you view it in a completely different light. 

Then there is a question as to why we choose to watch our favourite retrospective movies over and over again, and yet not get sick of it: it's like a habit - we don't think too deeply about it, but we enjoy them because we love the ending, the characters, the performances, the music, story/narrative -whatever. There is clearly something about it that makes us want to return to it, again and again. Another reason: the nostalgia factor - the feeling of pleasure and gratification it gives to us, the satisfaction of seeing what it was like back in those days, the yearning and desire of revisiting a part of your childhood that brings back happy memories can make you happy, in appreciating the past & to recapture a long-lost feeling or sentiment. Likewise, whenever I watch a comedy film, it makes me laugh and happy. We watch these movies to dissect a fondness about how (great) things were back in the old days. Clearly, there is an emotional attachment to these movies; of them being a part of our childhood, teen-hood that forms part of its poignancy, and that the older we get, they stay the same and can never change. Actors in real life get older & die, but the characters they play on-screen, they can never age, nor will it ever change. It remains static. The term 'nostalgia' is a noun representing a feeling of pleasure, and in some cases, sadness when you think about things that happened in the past.

Familiarity breeds happiness for so many movie watchers, I think: the more times you watch the same or your favourite film, the more you know the characters, understand how their mindset works and why they behave the way that they do, as well as the plot and story. Repetition can generally lead to boredom and tedium, but with mediums such as film, and in some cases depending on that film, it, as in repetitiveness breeds affection. And that is so true. A movie that you have seen over 5 times is much more easier to process and deliberate with other people. Be it in person or online. 

It also explains a lot as to why I choose to watch, re-watch, write reviews and offer my opinions on chosen films from the 1980s and 1990s: I grew up in both decades, I love both decades when it comes to music, movies, television, video games: popular entertainment. & by sharing my loves and likes about my favourite movies, as well as dislikes too, it makes me appreciate classic movies, far more so than ever I had imagined. I also don't buy into critical acclaim or professional critics reviews: I just go by my own and if I enjoy it, then I'll state that I enjoy it, and if I don't, I don't. I've seen and love movies critics abhorred, so their influence means nowt. 

Also when people say things like 'they don't make them like they used to', they duly mean it, because this is entirely true: around 90-99% of modern movies today aren't the same, nor of the same quality and interest as those from the past. It's not just a figure of speech, but it echoes these exact sentiments. & when they try rebooting, remaking movies of the 1980s and 1990s for today's market, it just doesn't have the same resonance and feeling as the originals. I'm just not into today's movies, nor care much for most of the films of the early to post -2000s, as they don't appeal to me at all. The current crop of movie stars, many of them lack the star appeal than the ones we had during the 1980s and 1990s when in those decades we had so much talent, and dare I say it better talent, as well as better movies. 

Arguably, most movies from the 1960s to the 1990s seemed to have more at stake, but also higher quality values than that of today: as that's quality not in terms of appearance, the aesthetics, production but also through the storytelling, narrative, characterisation, casting, performances, the various genres etc. How much is that attributed to the feeling of nostalgia? A great deal actually. 

Reviving your childhood is never a bad thing and through classic movies and films, they are and forever will be great indicators of the past that became so enjoyable for us, individually & personally. 

And for that, I am ever so grateful and thankful for the movies of the 1980s and 1990s. 

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