Movies I wore out on VHS

Scribbled down a quick list of movies that I remember wearing out with repeat viewings on our VHS player – mostly in our old house on O’Berry-Hoover Road in Union Park, Fla.

What’s Up, Doc?

This was the first live-action Bugs Bunny movie, long before Space Jam, with an agent of chaos named Judy tangling up a hapless rock specialist named Howard in a slapstick luggage mix-up. This movie introduced the world to the genius of Madeline Kahn.

Caddyshack

The classic ancestor of Happy Gilmour, about the antics of caddies (and Rodney Dangerfield) at an upscale country club. Plus, an amazing performance from Bill Murray as a course maintenance worker.

The Incredible Shrinking Woman

The fact that this movie was a sort of feminist metaphor didn’t really connect with me until years later.

Heaven Can Wait

This story of life after death contains a performance from Charles Grodin that, for me, is second only to his work on Midnight Run.

Oh, God!

John Denver’s best movie role. Poor Teri Garr seemed destined for typecasting as “wife of guy who seems to be going crazy”. George Burns was simply great as The Almighty.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

I’d watched Monty Python’s Flying Circus episodes over and over again on our local PBS channel in Orlando. (WMFE, if I recall correctly.) This was my introduction to the King Arthur mythos before ever watching Disney’s Sword in the Stone.

Animal House

Probably why I first decided that I’d never pledge a fraternity. However, because I watched this and Caddyshack so damned many times, I was able to pass a critical part of my St. Petersburg Times job interview: ability to recite dialogue from those movies on command.

Blues Brothers

This movie gave me an appreciation for James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, and the spooky, pent-up brutality of Catholic nuns. It’s also where I first learned to hate Nazis.

Ghostbusters

One of the highlights of my high school graduation year was watching the defeat of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man on the big screen. And then I watched it over and over again on our Panasonic VHS player. If someone ever asks if I’m a god, I’ll say yes.

Superman

I remember first seeing this at the home of a family friend’s on their rear-projection TV screen – possibly on a laserdisc? But then I watched it a lot at our home on VHS. Christopher Reeve made a great Man of Steel, but it was really Gene Hackman and Ned Beatty who carried the movie for me.

Star Wars

This may have been the first VHS tape I ever had to replace due to watching it too much. By then, I could’ve done a much better job re-enacting the movie for dragon-terrorized kids than Christian Bale in Reign of Fire.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Here’s where I solidified my hatred for Nazis and learned to fear shiny boxes full of face-melting ghosts. The battle between Indy and the airplane mechanic also provided an early lesson in the importance of situational awareness.

Now, most if not all of these are available for digital streaming. How many have you watched? How many times? Enough to fragment your bandwidth?

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Wes Platt

Lead storyteller. Game designer and journalist. Recovering Floridian.

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