My parents say that when I was three years old, my days consisted of watching Disney’s Cinderella (1950) on repeat for at least four months. But somehow, when I rewatch it as an adult, I don’t remember anything about the plot. Music and lines of dialogue somehow trigger memories of my early childhood in miraculous ways, like how the music in the fairy godmother scene reminds me of the old green carpet of my childhood home and a life before my sister was born. On the other hand, there are movies that I watched constantly that I literally, and I mean this with full honesty and am very much bragging, can recite word for word to this day. Give me The Parent Trap (1998) and I’ll put on a whole show for you, name the time and place. It doesn’t matter how old you are, there are certain films that our parents placed us in front of that will never leave our minds no matter how much we try. They have become so much more than just collections of songs that we sang over and over again for anyone who would listen; these movies are physical marks of our growth and development into the people we are today.
I have no problem knowing that I have certain movies from my childhood that trigger fond memories and amazing talents, and I will never deny the chance to sit down for a marathon of my favorites from before 2005. Growing up in the late 90s and early 2000s allowed us to be influenced by so many outlets of entertainment, mainly the Disney Channel Original Movies like Johnny Tsunami (1999) and Double Teamed (2002) in addition to the classic Disney fairytales, Spy Kids (2001), Matilda (1996), Pixar, Miyazaki favorites and of course the Harry Potter series (when the leads were still cute). When I choose to spend the day watching Aladdin (1992) followed by Hercules (1997) with my friends on a hot summer day, I am taken back to a time where my mind was free to absorb the morals and themes given to me in 2-D animation and I didn’t sweat nearly as badly.
I have a nostalgia addiction. These older movies were essential to my growth into the young adult I am today. Important lessons about friendship to how to defeat the Huns, all have a place in my heart. What it means to be a true hero is inside all of us, and in the film of VHS tapes. It’s incredibly important that we go back and watch the movies that shaped our childhoods and our future interests. I know I wouldn’t have been as interested in writing if it weren’t for America Ferrera’s role in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005) or as in awe by nature without the influence of Fern Gully (1992) still in mind. But I do think that re-watching movies that we loved as children shows us new things, and not just the hidden dirty messages Disney likes to give parents for some reason. Though children can absorb and imitate what they see on screen easier and will more vigor, I still learn important lessons. I have my own adult life, but I always take the time to immerse myself in a life found in a childhood film that I recognize from a simpler time. I have no urge to forget about these movies that were so crucial to my upbringing and happiness, and there’s no reason to leave them as movies from some previous life. They are my favorite movies, past and present. These movies are made for all ages, because no one is fully grown up yet, everyone needs a little guidance. As we grow, we search for answers to questions we’ve asked thousands of times, in order to get the most we can out of our short amount of time on Earth. What if the real answers we search for are ingrained into our brains in the form of an animated talking mouse, wearing gloves and shorts?
Just the other night, I watched Lilo and Stitch (2002), and my movie experience was full of laughter, nostalgia and nothing unexpected. Just the way I like to watch my childhood favorites. I can still today recite the Sorting Hat’s entire monologue from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) without fail. I spent the evening singing Paulo and Lizzie’s duet from The Lizzie McGuire Movie (2003) with my housemate, I quiz my friends to name the movie from random quotes I yell out and force my significant other to humor me with a marathon of Disney princes that I had crushes on as a nine year-old. I have to go back and watch these movies, or I’ll forget who I was when I first saw them, and who I am now, watching them again.
What movies did you decide to rewatch this week? Please say it was The Prince of Egypt (1998), that’s a classic. Let me know on twitter (@emdefaz10) or by email (email@example.com)
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Photo by CA Aggie Photo Team