Watching the Classics With Fresh Eyes

Atticus-FinchMy son, who is a film buff, has recently been working his way through the AFI Top 100 Films List. That fact had our family spending a recent Friday night watching the truly fabulous To Kill A Mockingbird. This is a film my husband and I rarely pull out. We love the movie – it is kept in the cabinet simply because it packs such a punch a single viewing stays with you a long time.

It was incredible watching the impact the film had on our teenager though. He was completely engrossed the entire time it was on, anxious to discuss it once it was over. He now understands why Atticus Finch topped AFI’s Top 100 Heroes List. Between Mockingbird and the Godfather AFI has impressed him with just how many great older films are out there. This has been wonderful for us as a family. While I love a great super hero or sci fi film as much as the next geek, a steady diet of them can be like living on candy. Delicious but not really filling or healthy. It has been nice to spend our rare family time together sharing films we love with our children and it has been so nice to finally have them at an age where we can share adult themes with them. For those concerned with the moral impact Hollywood has on our kids (I don’t think on it too much but I know many do) it has been good to be able to share the film and talk about it with them while I still have some influence over what kind of ideas they walk away from it with.

My son has also influenced how I see the films. Being with someone who is viewing something for the first time really does help you see the movie with fresh eyes. It reminds you of the things you first loved about it but also helps you pick up on things you never noticed before. In many ways, it becomes, to borrow the Disney tag line – seeing it again for the first time. It combines the experience of the new with the experience of the familiar and creates something wholly different. How great is that?

I’ve watched about forty of the top 100 films. My eldest has seen about ten. My husband roughly fifty (his love of violence really helped out here). What about you? Do you ever watch the classics? Looking over the list, how many of the top 100 have you seen?

– Maggie AAR

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