(Author’s note: I can’t decide whether or not to put the ‘u’ in favorite. I can’t decide whether to stay true to my American roots or write for my Singaporean audience.)
I’ve been thinking it’s time for me to get a new favorite movie. One of the quirks which make me unusual as a film student (and now teacher) is that I have little interest in seeing movies more than once. If I need to analyze it for a project, or show it in a class, naturally I will, but typically I don’t want to revisit movies I’ve already seen. I tend to have a photographic memory when it comes not only to movies, but to the experiences surrounding them.
The movie we’re going to watch on Friday, Election, I saw with Becca Doten at the Century City 14 screen theater. I remember I saw The Pelican Brief with Aunt Rose at the Buenaventura Mann 6 theater before it became a discount theater. I can even remember I ate Sour Patch Kids and Diet Coke, and this was in 1993. I remember there was a fight during Gladiator, which was far more exciting than anything on the screen, and after the movie they gave us all a free pass to come back to the movies again.
The first time I saw Living Out Loud , my currect fovourite movie, was in my apartment on cable. I believe it was the Love Stories channel. Interesting, because the movie is certainly not a love story. I fell in love with the movie then. I’ve always put story at the top of my importance list for good movies, and something about this story clicked with me. It was about rugs being pulled out from under our feet, and the way getting up and dusting ourselves off allows us to reinvent ourselves. Maybe because I was graduating university in a few weeks, or maybe it was because my mom was going through a divorce, but I was in a dusting-off and starting-again mode.
A couple weeks before coming to Singapore, my mom and I watched Living Out Loud again. It was still good, but now I felt like my life had direction, and my mom was single and happy about it. The movie didn’t have anywhere the same impact and I wondered if I had over-rated it four years earlier.
Does that mean I need to go back to my previous favorite movie Fearless, about a man who survives an airplane crash? I’m scared to watch it again, because it’s been over 10 years, and I’m obviously not the same person now I was in Secondary 2 when I watched it on HBO at 11 o’clock at night. What if I don’t like it anymore?
It’s the same thing with my favorite two books. I read them both in high school. While nothing I’ve read since then makes me want to stand up and say, “Wow! This is my new favorite book!” I also wonder if I would still love them if I read them again. Is Alanis Morrissette’s “You Learn” still my favorite song? Is Ethiopian still my favorite kind of food? Is Chicago still my favorite play? Is Fat still my favorite student? (I put that one in just to see if she’s paying attention. She’s actually my second favorite student.)
Many people struggle to name their favorite movies because they think there are several that fit the bill. I struggle because I wonder if none fit the bill, that a favorite movie has to capture my mood and my emotion at the time I watch it perfectly. It’s steadily changing.