Ann Cannon: When your favorite movie ages badly

First Published      Last Updated May 22 2017 03:51 pm

Have you ever had this experience?

You go to a movie and end up falling in love with it. How much do you love this movie? You love it so much that you rush out of the theater, race to the nearest diamond store, buy a ring (a big one!), rush back to the theater before the credits are done rolling, take a knee and say, "Marry me! Please!"

Naturally you remember a movie that made you feel that way with a lot of fondness, right? In fact, you remember it with so much fondness that one day, many years later, you decide to watch it again. And because you loved that movie so much, you want all your adult kids to watch it with you.

"Ugh," your kids say. "You want us to watch another old movie?"

"Yes," you tell them, annoyed with them for even asking that question and also for using the world "old" around you again, which is something they've been doing a lot of lately. "But it's awesome. You'll love it."

So they humor you. They gather around the TV set as you break out the movie you once loved so very much. About 20 minutes into the film (as well as halfway through the popcorn), you realize you've made a big mistake by making them watch the movie with you. If your kids didn't question your judgment before, they will now. In fact, they'll probably start talking about you and how you've gone around the bend as soon as you leave the room. Because that's what adult kids do. They talk about you behind your back.

Don't think I can't hear you, kids!

But whatever. That's not the point. The point is that I had this experience with a movie called "Ladyhawke." Some of you may remember it — an '80s film about star-crossed medieval lovers who can never really be together because he turns into a wolf by night and she turns into a hawk by day, which makes doing things as an actual couple challenging. Along the way a wisecracking Matthew Broderick, newly escaped from a dungeon, shows up to help the couple find the bishop who cursed them, because seriously now — should clergy really go around changing people into wolves and hawks? WWJD? (Hint: Not that.)

My husband and I first saw this movie one afternoon when we should have been packing because we were moving to Finland (!) the next day. But somehow we managed to escape the house and the kids to enjoy a few hours of magic in a cool, dark theater. And I was smitten.

But when I rewatched "Ladyhawke" a few years ago, I was shocked. Was this even the same film I'd remembered with so much love? Michelle Pfeiffer and Rutger Hauer still struck me as super tall drinks of water, but the movie itself looked as if it had been shot with your dad's old video camera. It looked as if some kids had gotten together one afternoon and said, "I know! Let's make a movie about a wolf and a hawk that are in love with each other!"

And while the first time around I thought Matthew Broderick's chattering character was charming, the second time around I thought he was mostly annoying. You know. Like that cloud of gnats that swarms around your head on summer evenings at a baseball game.


Sometimes you can't go home again. Oh, "Ladyhawke"! I wish I hadn't rewatched you!

Which brings me to this question: What movies do you think have aged badly? And what movies, after all these years, still enchant?

Your thoughts?

Ann Cannon can be reached at acannon@sltrib.com or facebook.com/anncannontrib.