My sophomore year of college, it seemed like every Sunday afternoon, my roommate and I would be sitting on our futon watching Dante’s Peak. Right around the part when Mayor Rachael Wando (Linda Hamilton) begs her ex-mother-in-law to evacuate the Cascade Mountains with the rest of the community because the sulfuric water readings from the local town springs indicate there is going to be a deadly volcanic eruption nearby (stop looking at me like that), I’d usually turn to my roommate and ask, “Do you like this movie?” She’d look at me and say, “No, not really, not really at all.” Then, around the part when the Wando children steal their mother’s pickup truck so they can tear full speed up the mountain, through the pouring ash and raining balls of fire, to save their grandmother, who refused to vacate her cozy mountainside B&B despite numerous warning signs that she would undoubtedly perish in the natural disaster, my roommate would ask me, “Well, do you like this movie?” When I’d say no, I didn’t, at all, we’d both tear our eyes from the screen and wonder aloud, “If we both don’t like it, then why the hell are we watching this movie? AGAIN?”
You might be asking yourself, “Gee, Dante’s Peak an interesting film choice, considering it’s arguably one of the most unmemorable movies of all time.” The problem was, it wasn’t our choice to watch Dante’s Peak, it just happened to be on television every Sunday. And there are some movies that I must watch if I stumble upon them while channel surfing. I’m not talking about On Demand or HBO stuff; I mean basic cable movie features that you feel compelled, obligated even, to sit through. For me, it’s The Devil’s Advocate, Indecent Proposal, and, most recently, Remember the Titans. I’ve seen each one of these movies on television so many times that I can anticipate an upcoming commercial and plan snack/bathroom breaks accordingly. It can’t be just me; I’d be willing to bet there is someone out who is bored to tears watching yet another showing of Miss Congeniality. Or Deep Impact. Or Independence Day. But you won’t change the channel, will you?
Which movies have you seen a million times, when one viewing was more than enough? Have you figured out why you seem to watch these movies again and again? Let me know how to break the Sunday afternoon cycle of Pierce Brosnan (left) as forlorn vulcanologist Harry Dalton and Hamilton (right) as divorced mayor-in-distress Wando. Wow, it doesn’t sound like it’d be a particularly hard habit to break, does it?