Long ago, before streaming services and DVD players and even VCRs and cable TV, when you wanted to watch a movie at home, you had to know exactly what time and what channel that movie was on. would be broadcast. You sat for a long time in front of a television that also served as a piece of furniture and you took kitchen and bathroom breaks as quickly as possible during commercials.
When I explain this archaic practice to my 21st century college students, they believe me, but they don’t quite understand.
And yet it is true. That’s how I would look The sound of music every Christmas with my grandmother and The Wizard of Oz around Easter and scary movies – The Amityville Horror, Audrey-Rose – which would appear on Saturday afternoons on Dallas’ two independent television stations.
In the early days of HBO, there were a few movies accessible over and over again. I don’t know how many times my sister and I have watched 9 to 5 on cable in the early 80s, but I still know all the lyrics to the title song and almost every word of the dialogue. Same for midnight madness, Cannery Row and Xanadu.
My best friend Melissa was the first person I knew whose family owned a VCR, so she was the first person I knew who could rent a movie. She could watch a movie anytime she wanted — depending solely on when her doting dad drove her to Blockbuster.
Most weekends in 1987, until Melissa’s family moved south to San Antonio, we could watch Superior gun At her place. When I hear a song from the movie – “Danger Zone”, “Take My Breath Away”, “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” – I’m 15 and wide-eyed at Tom Cruise all over again.
All these decades later, of course, our home movie options are virtually limitless, depending on your streaming services and how much you’re willing to spend. We can start, pause, rewind, fast forward, add captions at the bottom of the screen. We could watch movies old and new all day, making the experience convenient and, well, mundane.
I missed movie theaters during the worst of COVID-19, and I’m happy to experience the common experience again – overpriced popcorn and soda, reclining (and heated!) seats, too previews, a giant screen and a sound that you sometimes feel vibrating through your body.
My inner teenager was thrilled that Top Gun: Maverick was only released when audiences were ready to venture out again. The sequel was made for the big screen and I couldn’t wait to take my two nearly grown children with me. Although I was drawn in by the nostalgia, I was more impressed with the heightened plot and elevated writing compared to the 1986 original. (Admittedly, I didn’t care much for the quality dialogue in ancient times. See Xanadu proof.)
That my peers and I are old enough to be drawn to nostalgia is not so much alarming as it is sobering. We are, indeed, middle-aged. In fact, my own children are already targets with the release of Light yearthe origin story of Buzz Lightyear, a hero of the toy story movies that were released even before my eldest was born.
While Woody and Buzz seem young to me, they’ve been around since 1995. Millions of kids yelped, “To infinity and beyond!” They and their parents – and their grandparents, I daresay – are ready to accumulate more knowledge about memories of simpler days.
It’s also a film tailor-made for the big screen, the better to admire Pixar’s animation genius and the corner of space they’ve carved out for our favorite ranger.
In just a few months, the hits of summer 2022 will be available to watch forever and always in our homes and on our phones, mixed with thousands of other titles. Progress is a good thing. But I’m happy that some moments are still important and special. That’s how memories are made.
Tyra Damm is a columnist at Briefing. She can be reached at [email protected].