This week, a chain of stickers took to Instagram that asked people to share the movies they had seen more than 10 times. And then there was that thing: “ET the Extraterrestrial”, “Home Alone”, “Panic” or “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”, had something for everyone. Every decade, people have seen their favorite movies at least once a year.
No one will doubt it: the combination of youth and free time end up allowing some patterns to be repeated. I’ve certainly seen “My Best Friend’s Wedding” more than ten times since 1997.
It is even understandable when the only opportunity for afternoon leisure was to rely on what the Afternoon Session would offer. But why the hell do I keep doing this even with all the infinite possibilities offered by Streaming services?
The craze of consuming the art you already know has a name: comfort culture. It’s not just me who gets lost in Julia Roberts’ scenes trying to make Cameron Diaz go wrong, it’s my friend who’s reading Dom Casmurro for the sixth time, my friend who occasionally listens to the Titans’ MTV Unplugged again (that version of “Fun” is the best there is.)
Culture with a taste of comfort
Comfort Culture is self-explanatory: consuming what you already know doesn’t cause any upsets. Is there anything better than lying on the couch after a dark day and being sure that everything will end well? Sad days end better with that episode of Friends where Brad Pitt arrives for the Thanksgiving party. Tired days turned into a relaxing moment with that documentary in which Chico Buarque explains his creative process walking along Leblon beach. It’s natural that Ferris Buller gives me that feeling of peace, as if I could skip school and enjoy life (and forget that we’re just over a month away from the elections in Brazil).
The children know it well: they seem to forget any question when they see Simba singing Hakuna Matata with Timon and Pumbaa. The principle works so much that Walt Disney has undertaken theme parks for adults to continue living with those characters they know so well.
Repetition causes a pleasant comfort in times when the news says the opposite all the time: out there, nothing seems to go very well. But if the crush never called again, it’s good to know that Hugh Grant’s Alex Fletcher knows what to do with the music and with Drew Barrymore’s character in “Lyrics and Music”. Instant relief, you’re in control again.
It could be the smell of your grandmother’s beans, pajamas that make you feel at your mother’s house, or the voice of Renato Russo singing “Eduardo e Mônica” — no one can judge. What we know is comfortable. “The Girls”, a painting by painter Velásquez, works for me: I can look at that image for a long time and I always feel better when I see again that they are still there, waiting for something. Centuries ago.
Knowing what will happen is pleasant when the future has looked uncertain for so long.
But of course, there are those who dispute: seeing the same movie 10 times seems like a waste of time when there are so many romantic comedy that offers the certainty of a script very similar to all the others. It’s just sitting there, knowing there’s going to be a fight at 70 minutes into the movie, but everything will end well at 90.
There’s another way to know that everything is going to be okay, but it can end up costing you a little more in therapy. Knowing yourself well is a sure path that guarantees the return: if everything goes wrong, just come back to yourself. But that’s another matter…
You can disagree with me on Instagram.