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Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

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Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

Old 02-26-14, 06:55 PM
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Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

Like most people here, I noticed that often times people that see a "classic" movie for the first time many years, or possibly decades, after it was first released often don't think as highly of it as people that saw it when it was first released. Of course, when fans of those movies discuss it with younger viewers that may not be as enthusiastic about it, they often end up replying "you just had to be there when it first came out to fully appreciate it." If a good movie really is a good movie, why does when the movie was released seem to make so much of a difference in terms of how much someone likes it?
Old 02-26-14, 07:02 PM
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Re: Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

Expectation. For both the former and the latter.

For the first time release. Expectation or non-expectation and being surprised.

For the first time seen years after release. Expectation has usually been built up and now the viewing has a value placed upon it.
Old 02-26-14, 07:05 PM
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Re: Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

A few things I can think of...

One is that if aspects of the movie are unique and original, whether it be the plot, filming techniques, special effects, etc, other films that come later on will copy it and improve upon the formula. What was awesome at one point may not be years later, especially if you've seen it repeatedly.

Another is that circumstances like hype, marketing, and anticipation for release all add to the build up and excitement of a movie. A lot of people can get caught up in those sort of things, coupled with a pleasant movie theater experience, which wouldn't be the same if someone just popped in a blu-ray decades later.
Old 02-26-14, 07:09 PM
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Re: Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

I'd agree with expecations set for a really popular movie. Some films live up to the hype and others fall short. Also for older films some movies just age better than others so to someone that saw what they think is a classic back when may not always be as great to a modern audience member and may just be the original viewer's nostalgia thinking the movie is better than it actually is. Not saying that's the case for every older film but I tend to think that way a lot especially when a film just screams the era that it was made in they just become hard to watch at times.
Old 02-26-14, 07:29 PM
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Re: Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

Originally Posted by Sub-Zero View Post
Like most people here, I noticed that often times people that see a "classic" movie for the first time many years, or possibly decades, after it was first released often don't think as highly of it as people that saw it when it was first released. Of course, when fans of those movies discuss it with younger viewers that may not be as enthusiastic about it, they often end up replying "you just had to be there when it first came out to fully appreciate it." If a good movie really is a good movie, why does when the movie was released seem to make so much of a difference in terms of how much someone likes it?
EASY RIDER (1969) really caught the zeitgeist of the moment and if you were in high school when it came out, as I was, it seemed quite meaningful at the time. Everybody went to see it and discussed it afterwards. At a college screening of it a few years later, everybody laughed at it. And again, ten years after its release, when it played on a double bill with THE WILD ANGELS, everybody laughed during EASY RIDER but were awestruck by THE WILD ANGELS.

I watched EASY RIDER again last year for the first time in decades and I was impressed with it all over again. While some of it remains a little ridiculous, there were some very brave directorial choices in it and a searing look at the culture clash that was going on at the time.
Old 02-26-14, 07:43 PM
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Re: Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

Sometimes there is a real generational gap. People were laughing, so I remember reading, when The Exorcist was re-released in theaters a few years back. Were many people doing that when it was first released? Based on comments from people who did see it originally, I'd bet no. Has the movie aged badly, or are audiences, namely young people, just not into movies like they used to be? I don't know, but it is an interesting reaction to that particular film.
Old 02-26-14, 07:51 PM
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Re: Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

Originally Posted by Brack View Post
Sometimes there is a real generational gap. People were laughing, so I remember reading, when The Exorcist was re-released in theaters a few years back. Were many people doing that when it was first released? Based on comments from people who did see it originally, I'd bet no. Has the movie aged badly, or are audiences, namely young people, just not into movies like they used to be? I don't know, but it is an interesting reaction to that particular film.
THE EXORCIST really scared a lot of people when it came out. People took it very seriously. I don't remember taking it that seriously myself, but I didn't laugh at it. Four years later, people laughed at EXORCIST II (and booed the truncated ending), but I happened to take that film very seriously and was an early defender of it.
Old 02-26-14, 08:02 PM
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Re: Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

When I saw The Exorcist re-release back when I was in college (2000 or 2001) I and others definitely chuckled a few times in the theater.
Old 02-26-14, 08:03 PM
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Re: Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

I was not around to see Citizen Kane, Vertigo or 2001 when they were first released and when I watch them I am still amazed by how good they are. IMO if something is good it will be timeless.


Originally Posted by Brack View Post
Has the movie aged badly, or are audiences, namely young people, just not into movies like they used to be?
IMO the latter, they are just looking for quick fixes of action, cheap thrills & violence. The Exorcist to me is much more than a horror film, I also consider it a psychological drama. It's not just about a 12 year old girl being violated by a demon. The main character is Damien Karras and the main theme is his fall from grace due to his loss of faith.

On another note, I remember watching The Godfather Part III on opening day. I went to see it because I love the first 2 films.
Did I like the film? Yes I did.
Did I love it the way I love the first 2 films? No.
But when the movie was over there were some young people sitting behind me and they were furious.

Some comments :

"What a piece of shit!, Pacino didn't even shoot anyone."
"Where was the giant shootout at the end?"
"Pacino's a softy in this one."
"What a shitty gangster film, more people needed to be killed."

I wonder what thee same people would of said after watching Takeshi Kitano's Sonatine or Andrew Dominik's Killing Them Softly.
Old 02-26-14, 08:11 PM
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Re: Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

Originally Posted by Brack View Post
Sometimes there is a real generational gap. People were laughing, so I remember reading, when The Exorcist was re-released in theaters a few years back. Were many people doing that when it was first released? Based on comments from people who did see it originally, I'd bet no. Has the movie aged badly, or are audiences, namely young people, just not into movies like they used to be? I don't know, but it is an interesting reaction to that particular film.
I don't think that The Exorcist in particular has aged badly at all. It's still a fantastic film I just never found it very frightening.
Old 02-26-14, 08:15 PM
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Re: Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

Originally Posted by Brack View Post
Sometimes there is a real generational gap. People were laughing, so I remember reading, when The Exorcist was re-released in theaters a few years back. Were many people doing that when it was first released? Based on comments from people who did see it originally, I'd bet no. Has the movie aged badly, or are audiences, namely young people, just not into movies like they used to be? I don't know, but it is an interesting reaction to that particular film.
No, many people were fainting in theaters or running out in tears when it first came out. The country's general populace was much more religious back then and took the issues raised in The Exorcist much more seriously. For modern audiences it's mostly a goofy horror movie with bad special effects and lines so well known in pop culture, that much of its original power has been removed.
Old 02-26-14, 08:22 PM
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Re: Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

Sub-Zero, I think this is a very interesting topic you've brought up.

Consider Casablanca, released at the beginning of 1943, always hailed as one of the greatest Hollywood movies ever made. Here are some of the things that would have informed a 1940s moviegoer's experience of the movie:

1) Bogart and Bergman were familiar as actors/stars.
An audience has a much different reaction and relationship to contemporary movie stars than do viewers watching a movie from the past, featuring actors with whom they are unfamiliar.
Think about how audiences in 2013 reacted and related to Bullock and Clooney in Gravity, for example. Clooney playing a man who is joking and flirtatious, but also capable and heroic. Bullock playing a woman fighting for survival, who the audience instantly has to invest in and root for her to emerge victorious.

2) In 1943, WWII was raging and its outcome still in doubt.
A movie can resonate thematically with its contemporary audience in a way that will never be replicated with an audience watching it decades later.
The idea that even the couple in a great movie love story would sacrifice that love because there was something more important happening in the world was an incredibly immediate and powerful theme for a 1940s audience. 70 years later, can a viewer really claim to understand what it was like when most of the members of a theater audience had someone they cared about heading off to war?
In The English Patient, the hero turns over valuable maps to the Nazis for a chance to save his lover. Fifty years after Casablanca, an audience that knows the Allies will win WWII can completely ignore such action.

3) To really get it, you need to know all the historical references.
Why would a 1943 moviegoer cry during the scene when the band plays "La Marseillaise"? Cheer when Renault throw the Vichy water in the trash? Be invested in subplots about minor characters trying to flee the war zone to get to America? Understand what it means that Rick fought in the Spanish Civil War?
And what about hearing the lines: "I'm shocked... SHOCKED! to discover gambling here." and "Round up the usual suspects" for the first time. In 2014, these phrases are idioms so common to English language that no one even thinks about them coming from a movie.

Can a viewer in 2014 really be amazed at the storytelling structure of Citizen Kane when Pulp Fiction is already a 20 year old classic?

Can anyone really explain to a young adult that was weaned on Cars and Shrek sequels what a visual revolution Toy Story was in 1995?
Old 02-26-14, 08:26 PM
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Re: Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

Originally Posted by PhantomStranger View Post
No, many people were fainting in theaters or running out in tears when it first came out. The country's general populace was much more religious back then and took the issues raised in The Exorcist much more seriously. For modern audiences it's mostly a goofy horror movie with bad special effects and lines so well known in pop culture, that much of its original power has been removed.
It still scares the shit out of me the same way it did almost 40 years ago when I first saw it. Every time I watch it I get absorbed by the characters and the story as it just seeps under my skin and creeps me out. The dream that Damien has with his mother coming out of the subway is IMO one of the creepiest parts.
Old 02-26-14, 08:28 PM
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Re: Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

Originally Posted by inri222 View Post
It still scares the shit out of me the same way it did almost 40 years ago when I first saw it. Every time I watch it I get absorbed by the characters and the story as it just seeps under my skin and creeps me out. The dream that Damien has with his mother coming out of the subway is IMO one of the creepiest parts.
Maybe it's just because I've seen so many horror films that it takes a lot to phase me anymore but honestly even when I first saw it as a kid it never really did much to scare me. There's some disturbing parts but nothing that really gets to me.
Old 02-26-14, 09:06 PM
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Re: Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

The Exorcist was a phenomenon during its original release, to almost the level of Star Wars (though obviously, with nowhere near the staying power).

Here is some great film of the audience going to see it. At the two minute mark there are some short interviews with people sitting in the lobby cooling out.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/VsA3nxzgK-M" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Old 02-26-14, 09:23 PM
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Re: Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

Also, a lot of it has to do with what comes after. Take Hitchcock's Psycho for example. This film's plot was so kept under wraps that audiences truly thought for 45 minutes that they were watching a mystery about Janet Leigh embezzling from her employer. But of course it's not.

It's impossible to appreciate that today because everyone knows about the 'shower scene'. And it's been parodied, discussed, imitated, etc so much that it's almost become a cliche. Although it's still effective today, it's impossible to get that visceral reaction that the initial audiences must have had.

Back to the Future is another one. It's now impossible to get how many yucks 1985 audiences got out of how much more advanced they were than 1955. Because we're now now almost 30 years in the future from when that movie was filmed. So "Pepsi Free" & Marty's 'life jacket' are as much relics of the past to current audiences as the 50's items the film made light of.

While the plot of good movies still hold up, there are still some things you had to be there for to fully appreciate their cultural impact.
Old 02-27-14, 12:33 AM
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Re: Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

Sometimes age has something to do with it as well. People who don't see The Goonies, for example, until they are adults tend to not appreciate it like those of us that were kids.
Old 02-27-14, 12:33 AM
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Re: Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

Originally Posted by Eddie W View Post
Back to the Future is another one. It's now impossible to get how many yucks 1985 audiences got out of how much more advanced they were than 1955. Because we're now now almost 30 years in the future from when that movie was filmed. So "Pepsi Free" & Marty's 'life jacket' are as much relics of the past to current audiences as the 50's items the film made light of.
While those two things are good examples, I'd probably say the big deal being made about the nuclear aspect is another example of "had to be there".

Speaking of BTTF (BTTF2 actually), I find the "future" shown to be very "early 90's", and while I love the movie, I find it very weird to remember what I was doing when the movie came out (not so much with the first, because I was really young).

On a side note about BTTF2, I was a little taken back that in the movie, there is a drink called "Pepsi Max" in 2015 and there is an actual drink called that. We get that, but no hoverboards.
Old 02-27-14, 08:03 AM
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Re: Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

Originally Posted by UAIOE View Post
On a side note about BTTF2, I was a little taken back that in the movie, there is a drink called "Pepsi Max" in 2015 and there is an actual drink called that. We get that, but no hoverboards.
I actually think it's called "Pepsi Perfect' in BTTF 2 - unless there's another brand nod that I missed. I just wish we had those hydrating pizzas from Pizza Hut. Although, thanks to the Xbox One's voice commands, Old Marty's TV set-up is very much like my own.
Old 02-27-14, 09:49 AM
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Re: Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

Originally Posted by Eddie W View Post
Back to the Future is another one. It's now impossible to get how many yucks 1985 audiences got out of how much more advanced they were than 1955. Because we're now now almost 30 years in the future from when that movie was filmed. So "Pepsi Free" & Marty's 'life jacket' are as much relics of the past to current audiences as the 50's items the film made light of.
Example: back in theaters in 1985 (I saw the movie four times that summer), this exchange: "Who's President in 1985?" "Ronald Reagan..." "RONALD REAGAN? THE ACTOR?!!!" got GINORMOUS laughs from crowds. The fact that Ronnie was a B-movie second rate actor turned President was a constant zinger for comic material back then. It doesn't resonate now anywhere near as much as it did then.
Old 02-27-14, 09:51 AM
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Generally, pop culture references do tend to date a movie, as does something that particularly topical at the time.
Old 02-27-14, 10:11 AM
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Re: Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

Originally Posted by hanshotfirst1138 View Post
Generally, pop culture references do tend to date a movie, as does something that particularly topical at the time.
A younger friend watched Airplane! a few years ago and had to ask me who was the guy that sat in the cab for the whole movie.
Old 02-27-14, 10:32 AM
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Re: Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

Originally Posted by Shannon Nutt View Post
I actually think it's called "Pepsi Perfect' in BTTF 2 - unless there's another brand nod that I missed. I just wish we had those hydrating pizzas from Pizza Hut. Although, thanks to the Xbox One's voice commands, Old Marty's TV set-up is very much like my own.
There is a BTTF book called "A Matter of Time: The Unauthorized Back to the Future Lexicon", they catalog every little bit of info from the games, movies, cartoons, commercials, etc. You want to know the license plate number for Doc's 1955 car? In there. Anyway, they listed both "Pepsi Perfect" and "Pepsi Max". I think it was only mentioned, but not actually shown on screen, but there is a logo:



I don't know if the creation of the actual drink is a weird coincidence, or life imitating art.

It also lists a Pontiac dealership in 2015, so they can't be right 100% of the time.
Old 02-27-14, 11:03 AM
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Re: Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

Originally Posted by Mike86 View Post
I don't think that The Exorcist in particular has aged badly at all.
Except for the scene where the doctor lights up a smoke in the middle of a hospital
Old 02-27-14, 01:14 PM
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Re: Why is a person's enjoyment of a movie affected by when they first see it?

Originally Posted by Drexl View Post
Sometimes age has something to do with it as well. People who don't see The Goonies, for example, until they are adults tend to not appreciate it like those of us that were kids.
http://www.avclub.com/article/ighostbustersi-35378
Here's the thing about Ghostbusters, though--a thing that seems to come up a lot when revisiting beloved old favorites: It isn't as good as you remember. And if it is as good as you remember, that's because you're viewing it with nostalgic blinders on.

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