Update. Next Publication is: Under Strange Suns, available digitally August 2015, print version due December 2015, Twilight Times Books.

Films of Consequence

I’m not sure the current generation will display the same tendency. But back in the early days of cable, back in the time of chunky VCRs and laser disc players, adolescents would view the same film over and over. At least I did as an adolescent. I imagine that was largely a function of limited viewing options. The number of cable channels was limited. HBO and Showtime would run the same selections through multiple times per day. Video rentals cost money and picking one was a crapshoot, so spending money on a tried and tested flick made sense. You might grab a couple of new films for the weekend but you’d always include and insurance pick, something you knew you liked.

It seems likely that with the sheer volume of options – streaming video, hundreds of cable channels, Red Box rentals – that variety and novelty will discourage tweens’ and teens’ multiple viewings of the same picture.

But I can’t tell you how many times I watched the opening of The Three Musketeers on the rented laser disc player, replaying the slow motion sword play over and over. I actually have a copy of The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers on DVD, so the number of viewings continues to increase.

Nate and Hayes received frequent viewings on both cable and video. What a lark. Terrific turn of the century adventure.

Black Moon Rising is another Tommy Lee Jones vehicle I caught multiple times. I found it on Netflix the other night, watched it again. You know what? It holds up. A 1980’s time capsule. The big hair. The hideous Chrysler K cars. The crappy synth music. But so what. The film still works. I noted that John Carpenter wrote the story and co-wrote the screenplay, so the quality is no surprise. The film’s got pedigree.

Conan the Barbarian received surreptitious viewings when my parents were out. I bought that on both VHS and DVD. I’d pick it up on Blu-Ray if I had the funds.

Look, these are B movies I grew up on. No question. These aren’t movies that will rank in critics’ Top 100 lists or be taught in film school. But they still hold up as quality entertainment. They may, perhaps, have subtly influenced my story telling. I don’t know. What I do know, is that I still like them.

What about you? What films were on frequent rotation on your TV screen?