Listen, Watch, Read . . . Repeat

The more you experience something, the less of an impact it’ll have on you.

Movies, music, books, food, you name it—repeatedly experiencing a single one, even one of your favorites, lessens its enjoyment until you’re saying “meh” instead of “WOW!” Try eating the juiciest lobster every day for two weeks, and you’ll know what I mean.

But, this post isn’t about lamenting over what was once enjoyable and has lost its power over us.

Instead, I’d like to make a short list that includes a song, a movie, and a book that break this trend; they have the same (if not stronger) effect on me the 20th time I experience them as the 1st.

A Song

Shine On You Crazy Diamond

Pink Floyd

Album Cover for "Wish You Were Here"

No matter how many times I listen to this song, I can’t help but get all contemplative.

The words are just so haunting; if you’re unfamiliar with the song’s origin, it’s supposed to be a tribute to one of Pink Floyd’s former members–Syd Barrett–who pretty much lost his mind to the point that he would stand on stage and play one chord or just stare blankly at the crowd. Some say he had schizophrenia, others that he just took a lot of LSD that damaged his mind. He was eventually removed from the band.

The song has the somber feel of nostalgia for a better time (“Remember when you were young / you shone like the sun”) and resignation that everything comes to an end (“Pile on many more years / And I’ll be joining you there”).

Truly a song that hasn’t lost any of his power, even after multiple plays.

A Movie

The Godfather

Mario Puzo/ Francis Ford Coppola

The Godfather: Connie's Wedding

There isn’t another movie in the world that I own multiple copies of yet I’ll STILL watch a television marathon from beginning to end no matter what else is on.

Maybe it’s my fascination with The Mafia that helps keep this movie perfect in my eyes (I have a lot of shelf space devoted to true crime books). But it’s much deeper than that.

Every scene is a work of art, from our introduction to the Godfather at his daughter’s wedding to Michael’s insistence that he personally murder a rival gangster. Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, and James Caan lend a life to their characters that makes me want to watch them again and again. And each time I notice something new.

That’s all I’ll say about that . . .

A Book

Harry Potter

J. K. Rowling

Hogwarts in Christmas. Yeah, I'd like to live here too.

It has to be the world Rowling created.

I grew up watching ’80s movies; many were empowering for kids (The Never Ending Story, The Goonies), so I always felt that longing to go on an adventure and save the adults for a change.

Harry Potter lets children discover a place that is different from—better than—the mundane one we live in; it’s  a world where kids matter too. It’s a place where an eleven year old and his friends learn magic, confront evils that no one else can, and save the world–a world that makes school seem COOL.

I’ve read the series multiple times now, and I haven’t read a line and said to myself “Ugh, again?!” or felt the desire to flip forward a few pages to get to the “good parts” (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had that effect on me).

Every part is a good part, and I fall deeper in love with this world every time I pick up a Harry Potter novel.

Alright, you’re turn! Share a song, a movie, and a book that you can enjoy again and again . . . and again . . . . and again.

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39 comments on “Listen, Watch, Read . . . Repeat

  1. Good post!

    I love “The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel. My Dad used to play their songs on long car journeys through London and on the way back from Germany (where I grew up) and they all give me that same nostalgic feeling you talk about. The Boxer is my stand out track because the lyrics are eerily relatable today-i.e. “I go looking for a job but I get no offers” lol how frustratingly true even twenty years later! That’s not the best line of tehesong but it’s the one that sticks in my head!

    “The Social Network” was a film I enjoyed numerous times because of the dry humour and the overall sequence of the film. I also loved “La Vie en Rose”, based on Edith Piaf’s life, as it’s a beautiful, uplifting story.

    My favourite book is actually a non-fiction book called “Dark Heart” by Nick Davies. It’s a fantastic piece of journalism that could almost be a fictional novel as Davies tells peoples’ stories with such insight and empathy that you can picture it clearly. It stuck with me for a long time!

    • I’ve actually seen The Social Network multiple times too, for the same reasons you mentioned. Zuckerberg is portrayed as such an eccentric and detached person–whether he’s really like that or not doesn’t really matter.

      I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard of Dark Heart. I’d be interested to know what stories he’s telling about whom. To Amazon I go! 🙂

  2. I agree Totally with your post, I actually rarely watch movies because of that argh again feeling and the ‘meh’that follows.. for me A song is Ron Pope’s A Drop in the Ocean regardless of how many times I hear it, I cant seem to get enough…
    A movie, has got to be The Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy or The Tranformers ones I really cant seem to get over them and a book yes The Harry Potter Series spot on choice 🙂

  3. Great post! For me, there are a couple of songs: I could listen to George Winston’s “Variations on the Canon” over & over & over. In fact, it’s the random song that I find myself “singing” in my head while doing mundane tasks. Also, “Love Will Come to You” by the Indigo Girls.

    Movie: Maybe The Wizard of Oz

    Book: To Kill a Mockinbird

  4. You know, I have NEVER seen the Godfather? I know, I can’t beleive it either.

    Yup, there are definately some movies, programs, books, songs, that you never get tired of. Harry Potter, that’s spot on for me too. Here’s my list (not in any particular order):

    Indiana Jones (except Temple of Doom)
    Scrooge with Allistor Sims
    Road to Eldorado (Kids stuff but the humor is brilliant! Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh had great chemistry.)
    Henry V (Speaking of Branagh)
    The Good the Bad and the Ugly (and I have to smoke cigars while watching it)
    Firefly and Serenity (over and over and over)
    Monty Python’s Holy Grail
    Monty Pythons Flying Circus
    Highlander (and as far as I am concerned, there WAS only one)
    Highlander the series

    Hey… I think I’d better stop here and write my own blog post… Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Haha, I look forward to reading you post once it’s up. 🙂

      That you smoke cigars during The Good the Bad and the Ugly shows that you’re pretty damn badass by teh way. Extra points if you say any of the lines with a cigar in your mouth. 🙂

      Excellent list. I’m not a huge fan of Road to El Dorado, but I deeply respect Branagh (which is why I enjoyed all of his Shakespeare productions, including Henry V).

      Thanks so much for sharing.

      • and Todd Parker was in it!!! Ha ha . My catch phrase is ‘Todtv, creates the scene, sets the stage, and puts you in it” Find a movie with your name in it…..im jus sayin.

  5. off the top of my head:

    all three involve mystery – how did they do this – each delights & mystifies me while making me laugh – each tampers with the notions of structure, plot & expectation –

    song – rather a piece of music:

    John Coltrane: A Love Supreme: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Love_Supreme

    movie:

    Last Year At Marienbad: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Year_at_Marienbad

    book:

    John Fowles: The Magus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magus_(novel)

  6. Movie: Princess Bride
    Book: The Great Gatsby or Edward Abbey’s Fool’s Progress
    Song (many but at this moment): B. Dylan “Tangled up in blue” and Led Zeppelin, “Livin’, Lovin’ Maid”
    *I love any story about early success (preferably the prodigy type) ending in burnout

    • Somehow, I knew Princess Bride or something like it would make it onto one of your lists. 🙂

      Great book choices too; I have to re-read The Great Gatsby sometime soon. I’m starting to forget bits and pieces of the story.

      Ah, Led Zeppelin. How I love thee. They need to let Spotify offer up the gold that is their discography someday. These guys are waaaay too protective of their stuff. Sometimes I need a little “Stairway To Heaven” or “Immigrant Song,” but I can’t just stream it. Le sigh.

      • Schyah, I guess guys who sang about “alimony paying your bills” is an indication that they’re a little uptight about the flow of wealth and goods. Nothing like Lars Ulrich though. Ass. I do feel guilty for past illegal downloads however. I was young, it was the 00s.

  7. Sorry for the repeat but it’s got to be Kim by Rudyard Kipling! It’s a bit of a slog fest for some people but so, so worth it. Head and shoulders above The Jungle Book it’s about spys and the Game as well as spiritual journeys and lamas. LOL! Such an odd mix but he really makes it work.

    Love these posts! I might jack one of them for a post of my own! Cheers.

    • That you repeated Kim is a sign that I need to check it out. Your endorsement (spiritual journeys and lamas? Sign me up!) certainly helps make a case that it’s a good read.

      Please, pilfer whatever you’d like! I’d love to read your own take on any of these posts. 🙂

  8. Alright fine, I admit it. “Twister” is one of my favorite movies — the one from 1996 with Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton. I could watch it over and over. There’s something so unintentionally deep about a separated soon-to-be-divorced married couple rekindling their romance while chasing tornados together. Just recently found out that Michael Crighton, one of my favorite authors, wrote the screenplay. So that explains why I like it so much. That, and great lines like “What’s the urgent urgency?”

  9. Generally life is too short to watch something over and over again, but certain books and movies strike a chord, and then it’s cheaper than therapy.

    Every few years I watch: Master and Commander, Harvey, Unconditional Love, Galaxy Quest, Serenity, The Great Escape, Here Comes Mr. Jordan, Indiana Jones (except the Temple of Doom, which should have been burnt before the first showing), Rhustler’s Rhapsody, the Sting, Butch Casidy and the Sundance Kid, The Greatest Show in Earth, to name a few.

    A book that I go back to every ten years or so is “The Heaven Tree,” by Edith Pargeter.

    Great post, Mike.

  10. Non Fiction Book – Marriage of the Sun and the Moon – non fiction – I read it in college at a time when college was almost over and I couldn’t get any stimulation from my surroundings any longer. I just couldn’t wait to get out and see what life had in store for me. Every time I need that jolt again, I revisit this book.

    Fiction Book – The Regulators by Stephen King – The first book that sucked me completely into the world and life’s of the people in the book. One of the only books that I re-read once every couple of years.

    Song – Dangerously in Love Part 2 – It is how I hope to feel about someone someday. Love never gets old.

    Film – Goodfellas – I own the DVD, and have it on the hard driver of both of my computers. Even when it comes on TV, with commercials, all the dubbed over cuss words and violent scenes deleted I still sit and watch it. I am also 100% into every emotion of the movie even though I know what is coming next.

    Great exercise Mike. Thanks.

    • You had me at Goodfellas.

      Besides The Godfather, Goodfellas is probably the next movie on my list that I can watch over and over again.

      I just never get tired of it. I get pissed off when it’s edited for television (especially when they mess up Joe Pesce’s lines), but watch it anyway. 🙂

      I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t read The Regulators, and I thought I was a pretty good Stephen King fan. This will have to be rectified at once!

      I’ll search for that song on Spotify (listening to Coltrane at the moment thanks to topoet’s recommendation).

      Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  11. Pingback: Listen, Watch, Read . . .Repeat – Mike_Reverb | sydneyaaliyah

  12. Thanks for sharing your faves, Mike! I so have wanted to see The Godfather since forever. I feel like such an outcast, everyone and their grandmother has seen it, how sad! I just have to put my foot down and do it, before I turn into one!

    Song: Love Song Requiem by Trading Yesterday (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lgnAPTgptk)

    Movie: The Fountain (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0414993/)

    Book: No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Longer_Human)

    These will never get old for me (even when I am)!

    • Everyone and their grandmother (and godfather? 😛 ) has certainly seen The Godfather! Put both feet down and take that sweetest of cinematic journeys.

      Ah, The Fountain.

      I’ve see that quite a few times myself. There’s something so touching about that story, and it’s visually appealing too.

      I’m not familiar with the song or the book, but I will be just as soon as I click those links. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing.

  13. Pingback: a song, a movie, a book « duncantarmstrong

  14. Great post! I might be a little biased, as Pink Floyd is one of my all-time favorite bands (and SOYCD is definitely one of my favorite songs…RIP Syd) and the HP books will always hold a place in my heart since I basically grew up with them. My first 4 books are in pieces because I’ve read them so many times.

    I will have to think on what song/movie/book I would choose

    • I’m afraid to even open up some of my HP books; Rowling needs to release the ebook versions already.

      Definitely share your picks when you get a chance. I can always use good recommendations for things to listen/watch/read. 🙂

  15. I really enjoyed your post, and now feel compelled by whatever unseen force to reply.

    Song: For Crying Out Loud by: Meatloaf (yeah, I know cheesy…whatever)

    Book: Toss up between The Willows by Algernon Blackwood and The East of Eden by John Steinbeck

    Movie: Vincent Leonard Price Jr. (too many to mention)

  16. Okay – climbing on your bandwagon. Things that haven’t lost their shiny varnish even though not so gently used:

    Song – “Time to Move On” – Tom Petty

    Movie – “Contact”

    Book – “Ferdinand the Bull” by Munro Leaf

  17. Great post. Now I’ve finally added “The Godfather” (and other mentioned films, books and albums from the replies) to my wish list from the library.

    I could never get tired of watching “The Philadelphia Story.”
    Best song – “Sing, Sing, Sing” by Benny Goodman (extended version)
    and easy re-read (that wasn’t easy to narrow down) “The Mosquito Coast.”

  18. Great idea for a post!

    Musically I can’t narrow it down to one song, but will one album be ok?
    Metallica’s ‘…And justice for all’ is something that – for me – just keeps on giving and giving. No matter how many times I hear it, I hear something new.
    Nevermind the bad-mixing-critique, that album is amazing! Everything is pure gold, from the intricate solo in ‘Eye of the beholder’ and the frenzy of ‘Dyers eve’ to the epicness of the title track and the darkness of the combined lyrics. And let’s not forget the “oh-my-god-I-had-no-idea-it-was-backwards” intro!

    As far as books goes, I can’t help but loving Terry Pratchett’s ‘Discworld’-series, and among those (so far) 30 books I put ‘Hogfather’ right at the top.
    It is both scary (a professional killer hired to kill Santa Clause) and endearing (Death filling in for him while he’s “away”) at the same time.
    My native language is not english, and ‘Hogfather’ (the 20th book in the series) was the first one I read. Pratchett writes like no one else, and that far into the series it get’s quite weird for someone not previosly introduced to it. Needless to say it was a difficult read. But I’ve read it countless times since then, and it just seem to get better and better!

    A movie… Well, for me that’s easy.
    Steven Spielberg’s ‘Duel’.
    Sure it’s 90 minutes of car chase, but if one delves deeper into it, it’s SO much more! It’s confronting your inner demons, it’s fighting the powers that be, it’s finally standing up for yourself.
    David Mann (a wonderful Dennis Weaver) runs away from his problems making them grow to unbearable proportions, and it’s not until he reaches his breaking point that he finally does a 180 and faces them – quite literary – head on, and then he is in complete control.

    *reads list back to himself*
    -Yeah, I can stand for that!

    • Great choices! We can certainly make an exception for an album. 😛

      I’m a fan of Metallica myself, so I can understand how you’d need a whole album.

      Discworld is a fantastic series. I haven’t read all of them yet, not even Hogfather, but the parts you describe sound absolutely amazing.

      I’ve never seen Duel. As a matter of fact, I’ve never heard of Duel. And it’s Steven Spielberg? Man, where have I been?

      Thanks for sharing your list. You’ve reminded me that the Discworld series is on my loooong book list (near the top, actually), so it’s going to be read soon.

      • ‘Duel’ is Spielbergs feature-debut. It’s from 1971 and was only shown on TV in the US (it got cinametic release in Europe though), so you are forgiven for never having heard of it. 🙂

        I kind of got myself all excited about the Discworld-books now, so I’ll probably have to read ’em all again sometime soon.

    • I know exactly what you mean, Frances. I’m glad that the reason you mentioned is the tone or rather the destructive nature of the plot than the movie itself.

      I hated The Godfather III for years; I couldn’t understand how it could have strayed so far from the first two movies. However, I watched all three movies in a row, and I realized how essential the third movie is in Michael’s development.

      The movie certainly has its flaws, but Michael’s descent is fascinating, and no amount of good intentions can save him.

      Thanks for sharing. 🙂

      Oh, any songs that you really enjoy listening to over and over again, or perhaps a book that you love reading?

      • As for songs:; I have a wide array of favorites…in the case of books…even wider and ever-changing! A book I just read was “Memoirs” by Pablo Neruda (my favorite poet)…I highly recommend this.

  19. For song I would have to suggest “Southern Cross” by Crosby, Stills and Nash. Seems like I’m always searching for something, holding out for the promise of the coming day. Doesn’t hurt that the tune is catchy and the overall song is “singable.”

    For the movie I love “All That Jazz”. Bob Fosse’s semi veiled autobiographical story stuck with me. The character literally flirts with Death as he tries to balance his life.

    For my book I offer “The Forever War”, a sci-fi book by Joe Haldeman. An anti war story written in the mid 70’s, it was a scathing assault on the “we must finish what we started despite what we know now” mentality that was the Vietnam war. Still very pertinent today, I think.

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