We went to see a screening of Edward Scissorhands tonight. A couple of local art cinemas (both part of the Edwards/Regal chain) have been doing a weekly “Flashback Features” series since summer (or possibly earlier). The first one we went to was The Princess Bride, which was absolutely packed with people who knew the movie so well they were laughing before the jokes.

None of the others we’d been to were anywhere near as full, and we lost track of the series a couple of months ago. Then yesterday I remembered we’d been planning to go see Edward Scissorhands, and figured we’d missed it. (I finally bought the DVD a couple of months ago, but wanted to hold off until after the screening since Katie hadn’t seen it before.) Fortunately, Katie remembered that it was this week, and we were able to make it. (And for once, we made it on Wednesday, so we could go to South Coast Village instead of Rancho Santa Margarita.)

Well, we prepared to turn into the theater parking lot and noticed it was full. Katie was the first to realize why: Johnny Depp. We got in, but I had to park across the street. The crowd was as good as the one for Princess Bride, and there was even one guy in full costume (the normal-clothes version, not the leather and buckles). We were pleased that while they showed “The Twenty,” which I suspect is a contractual obligation, they neglected to turn on the sound! The 15-year-old print was in terrible shape, but the condition was forgotten quickly.

It’s always a risk to go back and watch something you enjoyed when you were younger. Your tastes change as you grow up (or you actually develop a sense of taste). There are some cartoons and movies I refuse to watch because I want to remember liking them. Sometimes they work out. Sometimes they don’t.

Edward Scissorhands still holds up: The contrast between the inventor’s mansion and the pseudo-50s achingly “normal” suburbia, Danny Elfman’s fairy-tale music, the neighborhood’s curiosity, then acceptance, then ultimate rejection of this strange visitor, Peg’s determination to make things work out, Kim’s slow realization that her boyfriend isn’t a very nice guy, and that this scary blade-handed stranger is, the cop’s efforts to smooth things over—all with Tim Burton’s distinctive quirky style.

Back to the screening series, it really brings out the difference between the home movie experience and the theater experience. It’s not just the size of the screen and the volume of the sound. It’s the audience. When you have a few hundred people all watching the same movie, reacting to the same things, you get an emotional synergy that you don’t get with a couple of people at home—or with a few dozen people yakking and answering their cell phones!

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