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I’ve written thousands of words on video stores over the years. As one of my favorite past-times and my first job, I love and miss the video store. I have so many great memories of browsing the aisles and I dream about it often. I like to joke that if there is a heaven, I know mine will be inside of a video store.

When reflecting back on my favorite movie moments, I’ve spent most of my time writing about theater going experiences and visiting video stores, but I haven’t spent much time writing (or revisiting) the source where I saw the most movies in the 90s: HBO, Starz, Encore, and Comedy Central.

My dad loves movies and we always had at least one movie channel subscription with our cable (usually HBO). The interesting thing about HBO when it began as just one channel, it would repeat whatever movies it had licensed. Then even as it expanded into multiple channels, those same movies would repeat sometimes months or even years at time. This meant I spent a lot of time rewatching the same movies repeatedly prior to buying my first DVD player in 1999.

The movies that would catch my attention usually weren’t the finest film classics. They are movies that often haven’t even gotten a blu-ray release or are beloved by the masses. Movies like Volcano, Daylight, Airheads, The Monster Squad, Demolition Man, The Truth About Cats and Dogs, Mannequin, Trojan War, Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion, and Speed. These types of movies were easy to watch and they fun to rewatch. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen each of these movies (along with a few dozen more) but the one thing that they all share in common is when I’ve gone back to revisit them 20+ years later, I’ve had an absolute blast watching them.

started a couple of years ago when I decided to give Speed a watch. I watched it so many times as a kid, I really had no interest in revisiting it. But it was streaming, and I needed something to throw on in the background. Two hours later I found myself on Amazon ordering the 4k disc. Wow… did it hold up well!

took some time that summer to revisit some more movies from the 80’s and 90’s that I used to watch often on cable and every time, I enjoyed the heck out of it.

Over the past two years, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to remember the films I watched so often in my youth, and I’ve yet to revisit one and not enjoy it. In fact, I think one of the reasons I’ve slowed down on watching newer releases lately is because when I look back over the past couple of years of movie watching and my favorite experiences have been in watching movies from the 80’s-early 2000’s. Maybe it’s a bit of nostalgia or maybe it’s just a preference for the type of storytelling that was done at the time (Seriously folks… can we stop with the 2.5 hour films already?!) but I really enjoy watching these films that weren’t always the biggest releases but were enjoyable to watch.

A great example would be from last year. My wife mentioned she loved Little Giants, the 1994 kids’ film that was the football version of The Mighty Ducks starring Rick Moranis and Ed O’Neill. I was eleven years old when Little Giants was released and I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen it since 1994/1995. I wasn’t all that interested in watching it to be honest, but marriage is give and take, so I reluctantly sat down to watch it with her.

was my most enjoyable movie watching experience of the year, hands down.

When I’ve written about movies in the past, I’ve had some readers reach out and embarrassingly admit to watching a movie I mentioned (it seems everyone loves those teen movies from the 90’s/2000’s, but no one wants to admit it) and I always try to reassure them that sure, the movie may have been a little dumb, but there is no reason to be ashamed of enjoying it. The internet has spread (and it’s worse since Letterboxd) a certain movie elitism that was much more prevalent in the book communities years ago. Where some books are considered great art, yet the next one is a “vacation read” which is code for “trash.” We call movies “popcorn movies” which is code for “trash” as well. But you know what? It’s all subjective. It’s all a matter of opinion and you can like whatever the hell you like and fuck Rotten Tomatoes. Seriously, I’m forced to see those scores on Plex and the number of movies I have that are under 10% and is mind-blowing.

As a former Blockbuster clerk, I can assure you folks rented Mallratsway more than Casablanca, and when I say way more, I bet the rental ration was easily 400 to 1. Scarface was something else we could never keep in stock, but I can guarantee you The English Patient was collecting dust next to Citizen Kane and Gone with the Wind and most of your other classic Academy Award Winners.

Anyway, I got a bit off topic, but I just wanted to say, there are a lot of great movies out there that are fun to watch. I recommend digging a little and stepping outside the algorithm or even thinking back to your teen years and youth to see what movies might be worth revisiting. I have a feeling you might enjoy what you find if you allow yourself to.

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