“I love Rushmore, it’s brilliant.”
This said years ago by my friend, a movie-literate woman with good taste. I point this out not because her opinion is questionable in the slightest – I’m wasn’t as high on Wes Anderson’s sophomore picture as many when it was released, but it quickly became a well-regarded member of the indie canon. The confusing part is that just a few months ago was that she professed hatred for Rushmore. “I really didn’t like it the first couple times I saw it,” she explained. “But it started to grow on me after that and after about the fifth time I loved it.”
I should explain that this conversation took place 1) when we were in our 20s with much more time to kill and 2) in the mid-2000s, when cable was still a regular movie-viewing option. Rushmore was a staple on Comedy Central at the time and stuck between the choice of watching a movie she disliked and turning off the television (or finding an Iron Chef rerun), my friend chose the former. Over and over again.
Familiarity that soothes contempt often comes with a side of nostalgia for me. I bristled at many of the things my sister watched repeatedly on VHS in our house growing up. But now I smile when I think of jokes from Clifford and Billy Madison and the nonstop supply of songs of Disney classics.
The phenomenon isn’t necessarily specific to the age of cable and VHS – I know of friends that had Titanic grow on them only after being dragged to screenings by friend group after friend group. But it does seem like something less likely to happen in the streaming age, when you have to give permission for something to play on your TV weighed against an uncountable number of options, not just the number of tapes on your shelf. This seems like an improvement, never giving more time to something you’ve already decided you don’t like. But on the other hand, Rushmore is pretty great, once you get used to it.
Your turn, Solutors! What movies have you come around on through sheer exposure? Have you had it happen with actors, directors or even whole genres?