Thursday, October 23, 2014

Birthday rewatches

So birthday rewatches are officially a thing now.

It was my birthday on Monday, and I followed what I now recognize has become a new tradition: I re-watched a favorite movie.

Five of my past six birthdays have involved re-watching at least one movie I love -- I say "at least" because last year I re-watched a movie after midnight on the 19th, so it was really October 20th when I watched it, and then watched another during the regular evening viewing hours.

Probably the only reason I didn't watch a movie on October 20th of 2010 -- new or old -- was that my dad and his wife were in town to visit my then-newborn son, and we went over to a friend's house for dinner.

So I thought it was worth quickly recapping what I've chosen and why I thought my birthday was a good time to watch it.


Children of Men (2006, Alfonso Cuaron)

Why now? It was meant to be Pulp Fiction, actually. I had wanted to join everybody else in reflecting on 20 years since the movie was released ... and probably nearly 15 since I had last seen it. The long running time (168 minutes) was daunting for a Monday night, but we would have pressed forward if the BluRay had worked. But Pulp Fiction became the second movie I brought from the U.S. that has not been able to play on our region-free DVD player. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer was another option, but we opted for Children as the only movie under two hours. Which turned out to be key, because my wife had developed a sore throat, and was not expecting to last the length of even a 109-minute movie. That she did is a testament to just how good Children is.

Having seen Children of Men five times now, I consider it one of those movies where I start to get anxious if it's been too long since my last viewing. My previous viewing had been in early 2011, so it was definitely time.

Interestingly, this was the first time I actually watched my own DVD copy, which I have owned for at least six years now. My previous two viewings came at times when I already owned the DVD, but one was a random catch on cable where we started and couldn't stop watching, and the other was a friend's BluRay at his house on a big screen. So it was also the first time I sampled my DVD extras, specifically, the one that details what went into creating a digital baby that was so realistic-looking, I half-wondered if someone on set had actually birthed the child an hour before filming.


The Social Network (2010, David Fincher) and Timecrimes (2009, Nacho Vigalondo)

Why then? The Social Network was an impulsive after-midnight watch on my computer on a night we had gone away for the weekend to celebrate my 40th. I was already half in the bag when I started watching, taking full advantage of knowing no children (only one at the time) were going to wake me up in the morning. I can't remember why I selected this over the 100+ other options in my Case Logic folder, as it was already my third time watching in barely three years since the movie had been released. I was just jonesing I guess.

As for Timecrimes, this was what we watched later that night when I got home. We had been wowed by Nacho Vigalondo's twisty little bit of low-budget time travel brilliance when we first watched it within a year or so of its release, and I'd been looking for another opportunity to see it. It was streaming on Netflix and I chose my birthday as the time to advance it forward for a second viewing.


Beavis and Butt-head Do America (1996, Mike Judge)

Why then? A little different story on this one. Like Social Network, this was an after-midnight viewing on Friday night/Saturday morning, another in which my wife was obviously not involved. The viewing was less about it being my birthday than it being a Friday night and me still having some energy to summon from somewhere. But I've always thought this was an underappreciated gem, having watched it twice before the year 2000 but never since. It was also streaming on Netflix so I said "What the hey?" Perhaps unsurprisingly, I did not like it quite as much this time. Still good, though.

Note: For the evening of my actual birthday, we'd had a long day out in Ventura and my wife was happy for me to just take myself to a double feature. So I saw Argo and ... (ahem) Alex Cross.


Unforgiven (1992, Clint Eastwood)

Why then? Unforgiven was one of a half-dozen BluRays my wife gave me the previous Christmas to celebrate having finally purchased a BluRay player a few months earlier. Most of them, however, were movies that were either long or heavy -- The Departed and The Proposition were two others -- meaning that they almost never seemed like movies you could casually slip in after a long day of dealing with a toddler. So I decided to specifically use my undisputed right to choose the movie on my birthday as a chance to get my first rewatch of my all-time favorite western (and one of my top 20 films on Flickhart) in at least 15 years. And yep, it was just as terrific as ever.


Bound (1996, Larry & Andy Wachowski)

Why then? My wife was actually out of town for a work conference for my birthday in 2009, meaning that I got to live like a bachelor for a couple days. That meant having total control of the TV and which movies got watched. I rewatched about four movies while she was gone, but specifically saved Bound -- which I had rented from my Blockbuster through-the-mail account (that really dates it) -- for my birthday because I had built up its awesomeness to nearly mythic proportions, and had gone way too long without seeing it. I've since purchased the movie (I love it so much that I went to the trouble of ordering it from Amazon, something I almost never do) and have rewatched it again. It's my #20 on Flickchart.

There now, aren't you edified?

Would still like to get in that long-overdue Pulp Fiction viewing. Speaking of where I rank things on Flickchart, Fiction's all the way up at #4, behind only Raising Arizona, Back to the Future and Raiders of the Lost Ark. It's streaming on Netflix, so I will have my chance -- we just didn't want to have to watch something on the computer for my birthday viewing. (Our cable that connects my wife's Mac to our TV is still on the fritz.)

And how do I feel about being 41?

That one's a bit more tricky. Let me get back to you. 

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