Everything old, it seems, is new again.
Especially things from my beloved ‘80s.
Some of my comfortable old favorites have returned, and during a time I needed them the most.
My love affair with Keanu Reeves is actually what ended my fantasy of marrying Prince when I was a young girl.
The first time I saw him on screen as Ted “Theodore” Logan, I was smitten.
In fact, I think I made Mama take me to see the original ‘Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ twice. Maybe even three times.
When it came out on Betamax and VHS a hundred years later, I was first at the Curtis Mathis store to rent it for the weekend, and made sure I asked the cashier how much it would cost if I somehow ‘accidentally’ lost the VHS tape.
The man didn’t even look up from his screen to tell me. “More than your allowance until your 20, kid. Another girl’s already got a hold on it for when you bring it back on Monday.”
Mama refused to watch it with me.
“I sat through it already,” she said. “I’m good.”
“But you’ve got to see Keanu,” I pleaded. “He’s beautiful.”
“I saw Can-nu, he is cute,” Mama said, butchering his name. To this day, she still calls him Can-nu.
“Then watch it with me!”
Mama couldn’t; she had work to rush off to and seemed almost delighted to miss out on hearing “whoa” and “excellent” exclaimed repeatedly.
“Ask Granny,” she suggested as she bolted for the door.
So, I did.
“What’s this nonsense?” Granny asked as she settled into the couch.
“It’s Bill and Ted,” I told her.
Granny grimaced at my lack of description.
After about 15 minutes, the Redhead Prime looked over at me. “Alright, which one are you pining over?”
“Whatcha mean?” I asked.
“There’s two boys in this movie, which one you think is cute?”
“Ted,” I answered.
“The dumb one?”
In all fairness, both characters were not exactly candidates for class valedictorian.
“The dark haired one,” I said. “I love him more than I do Prince.”
Granny snorted. “Thank God. Prince is shorter than you and wears more makeup.”
After she got her snarky comments in, the old gal actually enjoyed the show.
“Didn’t you think Keanu was gorgeous?” I asked.
“I liked the blonde one,” Granny said. Of course, knowing her, she was going to like the opposite of who I did.
“Well, he’s cute, but I love Keanu.”
“Good for you,” she replied. “That movie was alright. Kind of unbelievable but I can see why you liked it. It was funny. I liked Napoleon.”
For once, she wasn’t calling me a heathen and telling me how I lacked common sense, two of her favorite things to say.
It was actually an enjoyable afternoon.
“You wanna watch a movie together again sometime?” I asked.
She shrugged. “I reckon. You ain’t gonna make me watch one of those musicals like your Mama watches are you? She loves to see some bald-headed man sing and prance around barefoot. I don’t give a rat’s tail about that nonsense.”
She was referring to “The King & I” — I knew it well. Mama had made me watch it probably 900 times since I was born. She loved her some Yul Brynner. She still does.
“No,” I promised. “No musicals.”
Instead, next I rented ‘The Karate Kid.’
This was a plot Granny could sink her teeth into — an underdog, a villain, and big fight scenes. Yes, this was a movie the old gal relished.
“I don’t get why everyone likes Daniel,” I said. “I think he’s a putz.”
Granny nodded at me across the living room. “He ain’t as innocent as he likes to make like he is.” I think she was proud of my assessment. “I’m rooting for Johnny,” she announced.
“What? Why? He’s obviously the bad guy!”
Granny shook her head. “No, he ain’t. He’s misunderstood.”
“He’s the villain.”
“No, he ain’t,” she insisted. “Jean, which one you like?”
“Huh?” Mama was deep in her crossword puzzle with a smoky aura from the Virginia Slims around her.
“Which one you like?” Granny repeated.
Mama looked up at the TV in time to see Martin Kove’s character on screen. “Oh, I like him!” she cooed, returning to her puzzle.
“There you have it,” Granny stated, pointing towards the TV. “Your mama always likes the jerks — that right there is your bad guy.”
Here we are, 30 odd years later, and sequels are released on both.
We had to decide between streaming ‘Bill & Ted 3’ or watching ‘Cobra Kai’ and the latter won since it was series. Plus, I am cheap and to rent Bill & Ted was like $20 bucks. It was a tough call, because as I said, I love Keanu, but he’s a billionaire and well, I’m not.
As I sat and binged ‘Cobra Kai’ with my own teen, I found there was something deeply comforting about watching the Netflix series. I instantly remembered watching the original movie with Granny and Mama even though it wasn’t one of my favorite movies until Cole got the DVD from his Aunt Karla a few years ago and we watched it together.
There’s some peace in nostalgia though.
There’s something about reflecting back to your own childhood, even if it’s briefly, to think of a simpler time when things were a lot easier and happier.
I didn’t expect the show to be as good as it is, or to make me reminisce over my own teen years as much as I did, but here I was, telling my child memories of when I watched it as a teen.
And finding comfort and some misplaced joy in how Granny enjoyed watching those movies with me and knowing she would still be saying Johnny Lawrence was her pick, no matter what anyone said.
Perhaps having a little bit of nostalgia was exactly what we needed this year.
Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist residing in the North Georgia Mountains among the bears, deer, and possibly Sasquatch. You can connect with her on Facebook at Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Humor, and Deep-Fried Wisdom. Her recently published book, ‘Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Wisdom, and Deep-Fried Humor’ is available in paperback and Kindle download on Amazon.