by Adam Riske
The Revanant twice in theaters, Creed three times, Star Wars: The Force Awakens four times and The Hateful Eight five times. This begged the question why do we feel compelled to return again and again to see the same movie we’ve already seen?
You Didn’t Have the Same Praise as the Consensus
There’s nothing more infuriating than seeing a movie that is universally loved and you come out of it not getting the appeal. It’s like everyone is invited to this great party except for you. So you go back to the movie a second time thinking that maybe it’s not the movie but maybe it was your fault for not liking the movie. You make excuses likes “I must have been in a bad mood” or “I need to pay closer attention” and start giving the movie the benefit of the doubt during that second viewing. It’s less about living up to expectations (as yours were high the first go-around) and now it’s about seeing the movie for what it is. I went back and saw It Follows for this reason.
You Were Too Excited
With high expectations sometimes comes disappointment. There are times where I’m so amped for a movie that I’m initially let down by it because it wasn’t the greatest thing ever, which is what I’ve been building the movie up to be in my head during the months leading up to its release. A second viewing is essential to confirm whether that disappointment was warranted or not. This happened with me and Furious 7, which I had so much lead up for (with how they were going to handle Paul Walker’s death, etc.) and I came away from it slightly disappointed the first time. The second time out I liked the movie more.
It’s Comfort Food
There are certain movies you come back to because it gives you the warm and fuzzies just being around it. There are also movies you return to because you want to spend more time in that world that the filmmakers have built. Lastly, you re-watch the movie because you love the characters (they have become your friends in a way) and you want to simply hang-out with them again. This is a major reason I’ve returned so many times to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I want to spend time with Rey and Finn!
There are certain weeks where nothing appealing is released or what is released is not as enticing of an option as simply re-watching something you know that you already love. I saw Jurassic World three times during June 2015 because of this.
You Want to Go Back with People You Know
This one’s pretty straightforward. You see a movie by yourself and love it but want to see it again and share it with the people in your life that you love. Or maybe it’s a movie that you know is perfect for one particular friend and you can’t wait to see how they will react to it. I had this with my parents and Silver Linings Playbook. I couldn’t wait for them to see that movie because it meant so much to me personally.
You Were Tired
You go see a movie after a long day at work and you’re not in the correct mindset to lose yourself to the movie’s world. So you go back and see it again when you have less on your mind and are more willing to go along with the journey that movie is taking. The first time I saw Mad Max: Fury Road, for example, I was super exhausted and underwhelmed because I watched it right after going to a Bulls game.
Have you ever had it where you went to see a big blockbuster movie but the auditorium the movie was playing in was not up to par? For example, you want to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens but it’s in one of the small theaters with a tiny screen.
You’re Caught Up in the Sweep of the Movie
There are times where I’m so caught up in the moment of a movie that I have to see it a second (or third) time because it’s what is culturally relevant at the time. For example, you see a movie on a Friday night and the first thing you want to do on Saturday morning is to see that movie again. There is nothing else on your mind except wanting to go back and get your fix. This is how I felt after Kill Bill Vol. 1, which is a movie I saw on a Friday night and then turned around (on my way home) to go see again because I was high off the rush of the movie.
It was Fun!/You Like the Way It Made You Feel
Not much to say here. Just sometimes you want to go back to a movie because it made you feel great when you watched it the first time and you want to replicate that feeling. I went back to see Creed right away because no movie in 2015 made me feel as great (and motivated) as that one did.
Maybe you say a movie in 2D but want to check it out in 3D. Or vice versa. I wish I went back and saw The Walk in IMAX 3D! (starts crying)
It happens all the time. You are at home with nothing to do so you go out to the movies and see something to pass the time. Instead of checking out something new, you return to an old favorite. I have a theater within walking distance of my home and I often see things over and over just because it’s playing nearby.
You Didn’t Understand It
It’s just a movie that you can’t grasp until you’ve seen it through to the end a first time. You go back a second time to see if the movie played fair or to pick up on clues you noticed but couldn’t deduce the first time around. The ones I keep thinking of for this reason are The Matrix (which I didn’t expect to be as heady as it was – I thought it would be a mindless action movie the first time I saw it) or Mulholland Drive (a movie that I fell in love with from an emotional standpoint but needed to see it again to “get it” from an intellectual one)
Sometimes movies are great but they are one and done’s and not all-timers. Often I’ll go back to re-watch a movie I loved to confirm if it’s something I’ll want to watch five years from now. That criteria often dictates if I’ll put a movie on my year-end favorites list or not. This is one reason Bridge of Spies dropped out of my 10 best list for 2015.
You’re in Shock that You Didn’t Like It
I’ve had occasions where I’ve seen a movie I was really looking forward to and absolutely hated it. So, I’ll re-watch the movie over and over again until I like it because the sheer fact that I don’t like it is too crazy for me to comprehend and live with. I’m looking at you, The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
An Experience You Can’t Replicate At Home
One reason I see movies several times in the theaters is because I know it will be an experience I can never get again once it’s out of theaters. For example, I can never see The Hateful Eight in 70mm in my living room. Or Star Wars: The Force Awakens in IMAX 3D, etc.