-Elephants never forget-
Today’s post comes to you with an idea I got while reading a comment on my Godfather post by Scott from Front Room Cinema, who mentioned he saw the movie and can hardly remember it now. That made me wonder a lot about the movies we tend to forget, the ones we never seem to get out of our minds and the overall process of remembering movies that we have seen. Does one really forget a movie they have seen? Or is there always that moment in the end where you realize “Oh, yeah! I’ve seen that one!” – let’s think about it for a moment and if there are some brave ones out there, you can also try to keep up with my own train of thought.
Before I start discussing the possibilities of forgetting a movie, I have to share a story from my own family. Me and my mom have watched a lot of movies together, not so much now, as I tend to spend most of my time away from home but there are still those evenings where we sit down on the couch to share a movie experience. As Estonian TV tends to do a lot of re-runs and we both have seen a lot of movies, the situation of familiarity runs deep in my mother’s mind. The specific situation will play out like this: in the beginning of the movie, my mom will have this feeling of recognizing the movie but it will soon fade as the story continues just to be brought back right before the final scene with a scream “I’ve seen this movie!”. That has happened more than once and it makes me laugh all the time because I never inform her of the fact that we’ve seen the movie – it is more fun like that. But in addition of being hilarious, the forgetfulness always baffles me because I can’t see myself ever forgetting a movie or the fact that I’ve seen it!
I’m not saying I list every single movie I have seen right now because that would be crazy but if I hear the name and the general plot of the movie, I know if I’ve seen it or not. That simple! Most of the time I even remember the ending of the movie (if not to say all the time) and regularly I can even remember the feeling I had when I watched it. Assuming this isn’t a situation that is only common in my life, I wonder if there actually are movies that are forgettable? Since it is a question that is impossible to answer (“What is the movie you’ve seen but have totally forgot about?” sounds like the famous question of “Are you sleeping?”), is it even realistic to form a list of those forgettable movies? For the arguments sake, I’m going to say that no movie is forgettable and all we have in the world are unforgettable movies because one cannot simply forget a movie or the fact that they have seen it – living proof: my mother who always by the end remembers that she has seen it, so she doesn’t totally forget the movie!
Of course, like with most of the things in life, we have two types of unforgettable situations going on. We have either the very great movies we can’t get out of our heads even if we tried really-really hard and we have the ones that are so bad that they are programmed to stay with us forever. I remember watching The Darkest Hour and deeply hating it, everything about it was just so annoying and illogical – yet, I remember the entire plot like it happened yesterday! So, as it seems, the mediocre movies are the ones that have the highest possibility of being forgotten in time, such as the horrible Adam Sandler comedies or that random romantic comedy you saw on TV the other night while being extremely sleepy. Still, for me at least, I find it quite impossible to watch a movie twice without knowing that this is something I’ve already seen. The reason is simple – movies create a lot of memories and especially emotional connection (either love, hate, disbelief etc) which all arise again when we revisit them.
So all I’m trying to say is that in regular watching conditions the movie will be unforgettable no matter what the final result will end up being. As Scott mentioned, he remembered the horse’s head from The Godfather but that already means he remembers the movie because even if we spend a night out with our friends (alcohol included) and can’t recall all of the events we still remember the night and we definitely can’t call it forgettable. As a result, from now on, I will probably never use the term “forgettable” to describe a movie because that word has no meaning in the movie world for me. I see all the movies as unforgettable and with that thought, hundreds of unforgettable movies flash before my eyes!