Recently, my niece and nephew spent the night with us and we decided to watch a movie. Because we did not want to be the bad aunt and uncle, we tried to find an age appropriate movie which proved difficult. They are young teenagers so a children’s movie was not going to hold our interest, and an “R” rated movie was out of the question. So I delved back into my childhood and suggested Adventures in Babysitting. Elizabeth Shue plays a teenage babysitter that ends up having to go into the city from the suburbs to rescue her friend. She has to take her charges with her and a series of mishaps occur. I think my niece thought it was a bit corny (let’s face it a lot of those 1980’s movies had a bit of the “cheese” factor) but I found watching a childhood movie to be comforting and nostalgic.
When I think back, there were several childhood movies that I could watch now without them getting old. I was in the generation that was the first to have movie titles almost at demand. I remember getting our first VCR, which resulted in being able to watch the same movies over and over and over again. We had a little library of VCR tapes that were recordings of some favorite movies from when cable had a free weekend of a premium station. Those tapes were sometimes mismarked and the recording sometimes started a couple of minutes into the movie because someone was not fast enough with the record button, but the novelty of being able to watch them whenever we wanted made it not matter. We did not care that the quality was a little poor since we had no idea that someday we would have high definition and digital and could just get any movie by scrolling through our TV menu or an app and ordering it. Instead we relied on that little library of black VCR tapes with the white labels, or we hoped that the library would receive a favorite movie that we could check out. Later, we spent many an evening browsing the shelves at Blockbuster trying to get there before the weekend rush so that a new release would be in stock.
I’ve already written about how Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was in frequent rotation. Other movies that were watched way too many times included Annie. The original Annie movie with Carol Burnett as Miss Hannigan. My brothers and I would watch this movie whenever we could. We still know many of the lines and some have become part of the family lexicon such as saying “She had to go bathroom” in Miss Hannigan’s silly voice. A favorite memory with this movie is that we visited my grandma for Thanksgiving one year. My grandma was probably in her 80s and was pretty hard of hearing so often if we had the TV on she would not pay any attention to what we were watching unless it was the news and then we had to turn up the volume so loud that the neighbors across the street probably heard it. Because it was Thanksgiving night one of the network stations had family movies on and Annie was the movie that night. My grandma noticed the movie and become so interested that we had to turn the volume up for her. We enjoyed that movie, all together watching it at high volume as if Annie herself was singing live in living room. Of course my brothers and I were then able to recite some of our favorite lines with no one being none the wiser.
As a young teenager, the movie The Outsiders was seen plenty of times. All those cute boys were in it. It’s funny now to watch it and see how young Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Ralph Macchio, and Matt Dillon were. Tom Cruise had such a small part in that movie, definitely before he was a star.
There were other favorites such as Dirty Dancing, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink and Top Gun. These tended to be a little more adult and do not quite bring back that feeling of childhood. Thinking back on the list of those favorite movies, it is fun to go back and rewatch them now and remember what it was like to watch them as a child. They held a kind of magic to the world that you could not imagine. And the memories of having so little responsibility, that an afternoon of watching favorite movies was not a special event. So, on one of these hot summer afternoons where the only place you want to be is the pool or the air conditioning, pull up your Netflix or on demand app and indulge in a bit of nostalgia with a favorite childhood movie. It will take you back and make you feel young again. –June
“There’s no place like home.” -Dorothy