POP! Culture on Repeat

POP! Culture on Repeat

“I have to believe in a world outside my own mind. I have to believe that my actions still have meaning, even if I can’t remember them. I have to believe that when my eyes are closed, the world’s still there…We all need mirrors to remind ourselves who we are. I’m no different.”

– Guy Pearce (Leonard Shelby) in Memento

When one cannot travel, but one loves to travel and must remain at home socially distancing, what are they to do? When Massachusetts went into lockdown in early April, I decided to find some creative ways to see family without being able to be with them. It would require ZOOM, borrowing the format of one of my favorite podcasts, and rewatching one movie a week.

My brother Jeff told me to listen to Bill Simmons’ The Ringer’s The Rewatchables. It is a brilliant idea of a podcast for someone who grew up in the 80s and 90s watching television shows and movies, some not so appropriate. But the podcast, which is incredibly popular and probably does not need an overview, has several individuals talking about “rewatchable” movies and creating categories and awarding winners of some of these groupings. Simple but fantastic. 

My brother and I have always been movie and television fans. At the same time, we have loved all aspects of POP! Culture, we have always been drawn to long conversations about a wide variety of films, great directors, actors, movie scores, etc. So, it seemed logical to mix our love of the podcast and our fascination with movies to find a way to stay connected during these difficult times. I have always seen film and tv as an escape and a cool down, so it seemed a fitting way to deal with the time forced to stay apart from family.

For the last 17 weeks, my brother and I have watched and discussed on ZOOM one movie per week. Sitting virtually or physically across from one another with notes in hand, we dive into all aspects of the film, debating why it fits the qualifications of “rewatchable.” Just the idea of rewatching some of my favorite movies, some I have not seen in many years, proved a tempting way to pass the time and keep in close communication with my brother. Again, as I said, a simple idea that can both enhance the feeling of togetherness and nostalgia during these unusual and trying times. We first decided that we would select a film covered by The Rewatchables podcast and listen to the episode together. After making plans to chat at 3 PM on a Saturday over three months ago, we waited for the podcast to release their newest episode. When we heard the movie of the week was one of our favorite films of all time, we knew it was destiny.

Our first movie was The Karate Kid, which, as I said, the podcast covered, and we listened to it together over ZOOM and would pause it, often, and chat about what they were saying and provide our commentary. The podcast was around under 2 hours, and it took us over 3 hours to cover it. But it was a fantastic time, and we had fun creating new categories and declaring winners of our own. We decided we would do this every week. Still, we would select the films and follow the same format as the podcast, but branching off in ways that reflected our excitement and what we wanted to get out of our movie rewatching experience and film conversation. 

This way of doing it has proved so much fun and makes our brotherly and weekly conversation, something that we both enjoy. And let’s be honest, we get to rewatch some of our favorite films! Usually, I will select a category (war film, comedy, science fiction, etc.), and we will both nominate movies and then choose the best of those selections. So far, we have picked some fantastic films. Some have even overlapped with films The Rewatchables podcast has also recently selected and discussed. 

Here are the movies we have chosen, completed, and have spent hours upon hours talking about over the last 17 weeks!

Batman Begins (2005)

Office Space (1999)

Glory (1989)

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Warrior (2011)

Memento (2000)

The Lost Boys (1987)

Platoon (1986)

Back to the Future (1985)

Groundhog Day (1993)

Swingers (1996)

Gladiator (2000)

Snowpiercer (2013)

Weird Science (1985)

Stand By Me (1986)

Reign of Fire (2002)

Tommy Boy (1995)

The Karate Kid (1984)

So, a wide variety of movies reflect our film tastes and films that we remember being awesome and seem worthy of a rewatch. Recently, since things have improved in Massachusetts, we have stopped doing our weekly chats on ZOOM and now sit in one of our backyards with social distancing, and masks handy, and a craft beer, which is a staple of our movie chats! We often agree on the winners of the film categories created by The Rewatchables podcast during these chats. For example: for the “most rewatchable scene” we had the two Bobs talking to Peter in Office Space or William Dafoe’s tragic scene in Platoon & for the greatest “Heat Check” for Tilda Swinton in Snowpiercer, Oliver Reed in Gladiator, or Carrie Ann Moss in Memento, or the absolute crowd favorite and to whom we renamed our own “overacting award” (to be clear, this is NOT bad acting, just an absolutely over the top impressive performance) to Tim Cappello for his shirtless saxophone playing in The Lost Boys. We disagree, but we think about the song “I Still Believe” from The Lost Boys and calm down and believe that all is ok!

My brother and I plan on keeping these movie chats going, so I will blog about some of the movies, from time to time, and discuss our film winners from the categories created by Bill Simmons on his podcast. The Rewatchables podcast has provided an important outlet and springboard for my brother and me to remain connected during these difficult and trying times. Now, on with the show!

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