On yesterday’s blog (about the lost art of sneaking into R-rated movies), regular commenter principledatheist suggested a great topic: movies that we saw in our youth and didn’t fully grasp, only to come to appreciate them years later. For those of us who grew up before the age of VCRs and DVDs, this means movies we saw in a theater (mostly the late ’70s, in my case), back when popcorn was both cheap and an amazing treat. (OK, I guess I am old.) I remember seeing “Manhattan” when I was a young teenager (for the record, it was my first date movie) and being fascinated but mystified by much of it, though I loved the music and was dazzled by the black-and-white photography and the glimpse of the exotic world that was New York. I watched it again, many years later, and was fascinated to think that I was about the age of the Mariel Hemingway character on my first viewing, and was watching it from her point of view. (It’s really not a movie for teenagers: I guess my date wanted to impress me.) I remember I went back for multiple showings of “The Turning Point” because I loved the ballet, but didn’t really grasp the grown-up part of the drama (which, to be fair, I found fairly soapy years later). “Heaven Can Wait” inspired a crush on Warren Beatty (and I didn’t learn until years later that it was a remake); I remember that I thought “The Goodbye Girl” was brilliant and later found it silly (though it did inspire a lifelong habit of drinking Diet Coke in the bathtub); and that as a teen I found “Kramer vs. Kramer” mystifying, though there was something about Meryl Streep’s face that fascinated me even then. And I remember being dazzled by a theatrical screening of Norman Jewison’s “Fiddler on the Roof” (though it must have been an archival screening as I would have been too young when it first came out); still one of my favorite musicals today. But I don’t remember seeing many of the classic ’70s movies in theaters; most of them I caught up with later.
And what about you — what movie do you best remember from your youth? Was it in a theater, on a VCR, on TV, or on a DVD? Was it better years later, or were you disappointed?