As a senior in college, nostalgia hits harder now more than ever. It’s no secret now that nostalgia sells, that we all crave media to take us back to a simpler time, but there’s something about watching the same movie with your roommates that you used to watch with you grandma and sister while eating popcorn that drives home a certain emotion nothing else can come close to touching.
My two roommates and I piled onto the tiny couch, no room to spare, and I was the one who shyly suggested watching the 2004 masterpiece “Sleepover” after multiple failed attempts to find something different, arguably something better, to watch.
As the opening scene came on screen of everyone running around as the last day of middle school ended, I was transported back to a time where middle school still seemed far away and where some of the more questionable aspects of the film (like a middle school girl sneaking into a high school boy’s bathroom to steal his underwear and said middle school girl somehow getting into a club to meet her unsuspecting teacher) went right over my head.
I wasn’t sitting on a couch eating soup that I’d made myself after a day of classes and work. I was instead laying on a big blow-up mattress in the middle of my grandparents’ living room, my grandma holding a bowl of fresh popcorn sprinkled with cheese dust in her lap, watching the scavenger hunt of a lifetime playing out on a TV so big that, to this day, I’m still not sure how they got it in their house.
These nights with my grandma and sister were called our “adventures.” The night would start with a thorough vacuuming of the carpet, something I always loved because the vacuum had a light that switched from red to green when the area was all clean, and it felt a little bit like magic. The three of us would have to get it ready before my granddad went to bed around eight, which felt almost criminally early at the time, and once we got it all set up, we’d tiptoe into the kitchen.
We’d get our popcorn and empty it into a huge bowl, and my sister and I would alternate between scooping the coffee grounds into the coffee maker so everything would be ready for in the morning. Little did my sister and I, both hard coffee haters then, know that we would have the opportunity to perform this simple pleasure for ourselves years later.
I almost always fell asleep by the end of our movie nights, and that’s one thing that hasn’t changed much since our adventure days. But thankfully, this last time, I was able to stay awake to see the epic ending of “Sleepover”, to see our squad of iconic high school freshman revel in their lunch spot near the fountain.
Watching this scene as a 21-year-old, already having survived high school and it being supremely lackluster when compared to all the movies, I didn’t quite feel the same accomplished euphoria I felt on behalf of those girls when I was seven. I did feel a different type of euphoria, though: the unmistakable satisfaction of watching a childhood classic and it being just as good as you remembered but for a whole new set of reasons.
“Sleepover” may not be the cinematic masterpiece I heralded it as while a kid, but it still manages to pack an emotional punch 17 years after its release, and I think that still has to count for something.