There are a number of films that, when they appear on a screen before me, I sit rapt with attention until they are over. Even though I have seen them countless times. Films like Bride of Frankenstein, Animal House, Gross Pointe Blank. The list goes on: Animal Crackers, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Caddyshack. And on: Risky Business, Dr. Strangelove, Taxi Driver. There are more, but decorum forbids me from continuing the list here.
Needless to say, in a household with a TV located in the living room, this can cause a logjam when it comes time to determine just how the living will be done in that room. All this new-fangled technology that has been created to make watching any movie merely by clicking your remote three times and saying "There's no place like on-demand" doesn't make that visceral need to sit and watch. Maybe I lack the faith necessary to believe that I will get another opportunity to review all those antics and actions. Maybe I lack the imagination to switch the channel and try something new. Maybe it's just laziness. But there is good news: My wife has found some of these that she can enjoy right along with me. Our mutual vortex includes The Philadelphia Story, Batman Returns, and Fight Club. That last one, I'm proud to say, has played in the background on numerous winter evenings as we address our Christmas cards. Like my own list, there are plenty more mutual favorites. They're the ones that keep us laying in bed on a Sunday morning because we are hostage to the final credits. There's so much life out there. So many other things to do. But not until we have finished watching our favorite movie. One of them, anyway.
So imagine my amusement when I found myself walking out of the living room the other night while my wife immersed herself in one of her celluloid touchstones. The lady who has so often cajoled me out of watching Die Hard one more time gasped with glee when I flipped past Hair. It was just starting, and she sat transfixed. Happily, the couch did not burst into flames, and our son didn't call with an emergency of his own. She was able to sit and savor that little gem from her collection like it was the first time. Or the twenty-seventh. She knew the words. She sang along. I thought for a moment or two she might rise up and dance along.
She didn't. Which was fine. I didn't mention the DVD we had of that same film that she could watch whenever she wanted.
Because that's not the deal. It's the gift of cable TV.
Thank you, cable TV.