Saw "Star Wars" Twenty-Seven Times
A Comedy Trope
. A character is noted to have watched a movie/seen a show/read a book/etc. on a high enough number of occasions for it to sound geeky, obsessive, embarrassing, and possibly even unhealthy.
Rewatching or rereading one's favorite stories is a very common, very human activity, as well as a principal hobby of any fandom. With film in particular it used to be very easy to visit your local film theater and remain seated as the same films were replayed several times again each day, for weeks on end. When home video became available near the end of the 1970s and early 1980s the public could finally watch their favorite films and TV series over and over again in the comfort of their own home. The Internet
has increased the opportunities tenfold. However, whenever an actual number
is given for how many times a person has enjoyed a specific work, it's usually never something for anyone to take much pride in having done—even if the work in question is good
. Revisiting a piece of fiction several times over can come across as being obsessive and even unhealthy, with the clear implication that this person enjoys spending more time in this fictional universe than in the bleak reality of his own life.
In fiction, such information about a character is usually brought up either by another
character, in which the remark is typically intended to be an insult or a put-down, or by the character himself, wherein the character may not show any shame for his devotion for a work, but it's something nobody (be it the audience or other characters) reveres the character for doing all the same.
At its most extreme, this trope can be invoked when explaining how a character came to acquire an actual talent or skill
Not to be confused with Seen It a Million Times
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- From one of David Letterman's Top Ten lists, "Top Ten Excuses for Losing an Election," Number 7 is "Should've kept quiet about seeing Hello, Dolly! 63 times."
- The title character in Beetlejuice has seen The Exorcist "about a hundred and sixty-seven times" (and it keeps getting funnier every time he sees it).
- In The Muppets Take Manhattan, Scooter takes a job as an usher at a theater showing the 3D film Attack of the Killer Fish. When Lew Zealand heads in without taking a pair of glasses, Scooter follows him in with a pair — and learns Lew doesn't need them because "I've seen this movie ninety-seven times!" His favorite part is when the fish attack, at which point he tosses his boomerang fish around the theater to add to the excitement (the other moviegoers think it's All Part of the Show).
- In Strange Brew, Bob says that Doug saw Return of the Jedi 17 times.
- In High School Musical, Chad mentions that his mother has seen The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway 27 times.
- In Smoke Signals, Victor Joseph tweaks Thomas Builds-The-Fire over how many times the latter has seen Dances with Wolves.
- In Tropic Thunder, Alpa Chino says he's seen Tugg Speedman's first "Scorcher" movie twenty times when he was in 8th Grade.
- Played for Drama during the opening scene of Scream (1996). Casey claims to have watched Friday the 13th "twenty goddamn times" in response to being told that she gave the wrong answer to a trivia question about it (which asked her to name the killer) with the stakes being her boyfriend's life. Unfortunately for Casey, the killer was not talking about the series as a whole, but the original movie, whose killer was not Jason Voorhees but his mother. The boyfriend gets Gutted Like a Fish soon after.
- The phrase itself isn't used outright in Prometheus, but it's clear David gets many of his preconceptions about himself from repeated viewings of Lawrence of Arabia while the crew of his ship are in stasis.
- In the Dutch movie "Filmpje" (1995) with comedian Paul De Leeuw the hopelessly naïve woman Annie de Rooy has watched The Wizard Of OZ thousands of times and still goes to see it every day. The local film theater only keeps programming it just for her.
- In The Omega Man the last person on Earth visits an abandoned movie theater, activates the projector by himself and plays Woodstock alone for himself. He has clearly watched it countless times, given the fact that he is able to quote it line by line by this point.
- The remake I Am Legend has a similar scene with the protagonist quoting Shrek line by line.
- Stacey in The Baby-Sitters Club series states that her favorite film is Mary Poppins and watches it at least once a week, adding up to hundreds of viewings.
- Kristy (at least) makes a similar remark about Dawn's repeated viewings of The Parent Trap.
- In Bruce Campbell's autobiography If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor, Bruce describes the difference between a mainstream movie and a cult film as 1,000,000 people watching a movie 10 times and 10 people watching a movie 1,000,000 times.
- In American Psycho, Patrick Bateman mentions that he has rented the movie Body Double 37 times. One chapter follows his train of thought at a video rental store as he picks the movie out "as if he'd been programmed." He also pretends to ignore "the horrified reaction" of a store employee who recognizes Bateman upon being handed the movie box when renting it out for what would be the 38th time. He sometimes likes to describe some of the film's more violent moments to both the reader and other characters throughout the story. "The power drill scene" is Patrick's favorite part.
- In Life The Universe And Everything, Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged asks his ship computer if there's any movie he hasn't already seen "over thirty-thousand times."
- The nerds in "One of Us" from the anthology Geetkastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd have all seen something - be it Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, ect. - tons of times. They take pride in this when talking with each other, but they seem to be embarrassed with others.
- The trope name and page quote come from the pilot episode of Freaks and Geeks when Neal is giving his opinion of Sam's chances of going to a school dance with Cindy. Of note, the show takes place in 1980, so Neal would be suggesting that Sam has seen A New Hope (1977) twenty-seven times within three years of its release (and before home video was in widespread use).
- Something of a Running Gag on Scrubs, Turk and J.D. have watched Judge Dredd together on a surprising number of occasions. In the episode "My Déjà Vu My Déjà Vu," Turk invites J.D. to watch the movie at his place at which point they both loudly proclaim in unison, "NINETY-NINTH VIEWING" before high-fiving each other.
- They and Elliot have also watched Red Dawn (1984) together, two at a time or all three of them, many, many times.
- Fox Mulder of The X-Files reveals in the episode "Hollywood, A.D." that he has seen Plan 9 from Outer Space forty-two times. He claims that the sheer badness of the film numbs his brain, allowing him to make intuitive leaps and solve problems that have him stumped.
Scully: You've seen this movie 42 times?
Scully: Doesn't that make you sad? It makes me sad.
- In an earlier episode, the agents ran across a woman who was convinced she'd been impregnated by Luke Skywalker. This becomes even more hilarious when it is revealed she's seen Star Wars 368 times, and was hoping to break 400 by Memorial Day.
- And in the infamous episode "Home", Scully mentions having babysat her nephew the previous weekend, and claims that he watches Babe "fifteen times a day".
- In the Friends episode "The One With The Prom Video," Monica says that Roy, her prom date, had seen Star Wars 317 times. His name was in the paper. (At the time of the clip, set in 1984, the movie was only available on laserdisc; however, it had been re-released to theatres multiple times since its original 1977 run).
- Teal'c of Stargate SG-1 has seen Star Wars ten times. Not that large a number compared to some on this page, but the humor comes from the fact that he's a Fish out of Water, unfamiliar with Earth culture... except movies. He recognizes John McClane's name and, upon having the concept of a virgin conception described to him, immediately thinks of Darth Vader.
- Seconds later the joke is reversed when it's revealed that O'Neill has not seen Star Wars even ONE time and Carter considers him to be the weird one.
- In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, when Carlton's ex-girlfriend comes back with a baby she claims is his, Will explains to Phil and Vivian that the baby belongs to "a young man who has seen The Little Mermaid 8 times."
- Humorously used in this scene in The Wonder Years episode "Eclipse" where Chuck, who is uncomfortable with the creepy man who picked him up while he was hitchhiking, tries to lighten the mood by sharing how he's reminded of an Alfred Hitchcock Presents story about a man with "a big butcher knife" who was picking up hitchhikers. Getting creeped out by the man again, Chuck decides to drop the discussion, leading to the following exchange:
Nevermind, probably didn't see the episode...
Creepy Guy: 27 times! [creepy stare]
- Chuck quickly leaps out of the moving pickup truck.
- In Top Gear, the Stig's African cousin has seen The Lion King 1,780 times.
- In Lois and Clark, Perry White mentions having seen Godzilla '85 on cable over a hundred times because he liked seeing Elvira present it.
- Glee has a moment like this with one of their new characters, Sam, who, up till that moment, seemed like just your average jock. When helping him clean up some blue slushie stains that he'd gotten on his uniform, Quinn mentions that it can dye your clothes "Like those aliens in Avatar." Sam's immediate reaction is "I watched that film seven times! Lor menari," (apparently, it's "you have beautiful eyes" in Na'avi.)
- British comedian Toby Hadoke played a character in Holby City who shamelessly boasted how many times he had seen The Matrix, the slight irony being that Hadoke himself is famously enthusiastic about Doctor Who.
- On Saturday Night Live, Tracy Morgan once said he's seen Star Wars 500 times.
- In the Sports Night episode "Thespis", after Jeremy gives Dana some sage advice, she gives him the backhanded compliment, "You know, for a guy who's read The Hobbit 14 times, you're not so dumb."
- In The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper mention having played 3,000 hours of World of Warcraft.
- Penny often can't understand why the gang of four rewatch movies like Star Wars so many times, especially one time when they were going to a theatrical showing of Raiders of the Lost Ark to see a promised 20 seconds of never before seen footage.
- On Go On, Mr. K claims to have seen Mary Poppins over 500 times... but not by choice. "It's a compulsion known as supercalifragilisticexpialidocia."
- In the I Spy episode "So Long Patrick Henry", Kelly is annoyed that Scotty hired a kid to be a lookout for them who was constantly making James Bond references, having seen the still in theatres film Goldfinger 27 times.
- In a special episode of Siskel & Ebert in which the critics pick their all time favorite scenes of specific genres, Gene Siskel picked for Best Musical Scene the dancing contest scene from Saturday Night Fever. Roger Ebert remarked he "could have guessed that would be the movie you would pick, since I know you've seen that film 27 times."
- In the The Sopranos episode "A Hit Is a Hit", one-off Gangsta Rap exec Massive Genius expresses his admiration for the Cosa Nostra by saying he had watched The Godfather "like 200 times."
- The BBC television and radio series I've Never Seen Star Wars uses the opposite of this as it's premise. British celebrities came on the show and tried out various things they'd never done before such as listening to Thriller by Michael Jackson, reading The Da Vinci Code or eating a Big Mac.
- The Middle revealed that Axl Heck knows about black holes from Hot Tub Time Machine many times, Celebrity Paradoxnote be damned!
- From a Peanuts Sunday Strip of the early 1970s:
Snoopy as Joe Cool:
I see they're showing Citizen Kane
again… I've only seen it 23 times.
- Charles Schulz used Citizen Kane for this a few times. The strip where Lucy spoils the ending for Linus has her say she's seen it "about 10 times", and there's another strip where Sally is in the movie theater line behind Linus talking about how she's pretending they're on a date, until Linus gets to the box office and says, "One, please!" Cut to Sally in front of the TV.
Charlie Brown: I thought you were going to the movies.
Sally: I am. I'm watching Citizen Kane for the eighth time.
- In a series of strips, Roger gets concerned over Andy watching Titanic way too many times:
Roger: Watching it over and over isn't going to change the ending...the boat sinks! It's sad but what's done is done!
Andy: I know, but when I'm in the theater it's like everyone's still alive for those six hours.
Roger: Um, don't you mean three hours?
Andy: I can't drive all the way to the cineplex and just see it once.
- In another series of strips, Peter gets a job as a theater cashier on the eve of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. After rattling off all the showtimes to a kid in a Sith costume, the kid asks for six tickets.
Peter: To which showing?
Star Wars Fanboy: One of each, obviously.
- Another strip has Jason camping out (on his computer server) to get tickets to see Attack of the Clones.
Jason: Guess who has eight tickets to see Star Wars?
Paige: Who's going with you?
Jason: My friend, Marcus.
Paige: I'm confused.
Jason: Guess who has tickets to four consecutive showings of Star Wars?
- An early strip has Peter renting the movie Raising Arizona, which Paige says Peter has seen about four zillion times. He explains it's because Holly Hunter is in it. Paige says "Oh, that's a reason". However, it turns out the video store screwed up and gave Peter a tape of Dirty Dancing. Paige wants to watch it, and Peter says she has seen it eight billion times. Paige explains it's because Patrick Swayze is in it, resulting in the Ironic Echo of Peter saying, "Oh, that's a reason."
- In Garfield, Jon once takes Liz to the movie The Sludge Monster Meets Vermin Man, which he and Garfield already saw eight times.
- The Onion:
- In an article about the trailer for Muppets Most Wanted written by the Muppet character Walter, Walter states that he has watched the trailer 37 times in a row (and expects the readers to have done the same).
- In Beyond The Fringe, one sketch is about a man who has seen an unnamed theatre show nearly 500 times, because he'd heard a rumour that members of the royal family were going to attend... someday.
- The main character in For Love of Digby has the distinction of having seen Digby the Biggest Dog in the World "six or ten or eighteen times. But it's a classic."
- In the final mission of Saints Row: The Third, after Pierce asks the Boss if they've got anything to get off their chest, a Boss speaking with Male Voice 1 will admit that he's read Jane Eyre thirteen times.
- This phenomenon is very common with children. They love repetition and are at an age where they are far more emerged into stories, because they are still discovering the world. Plus: they are not yet aware or bothered by clichés and platitudes. If it holds their attention: then they feel it's good.
- According to some stories, Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi) was once asked for an autograph by a fan who claimed to have watched the first Star Wars film a hundred times. Alec gave him the autograph but only under the condition that he never watch it again.
- Guinness' autobiography A Positively Final Appearance confirms that the story did indeed happen. Guinness, however, states that the boy's mother dragged her crying son away after Guinness' request, and he never mentions actually giving the autograph.
- Ironically Guinness himself was not immune to this — he never traveled anywhere without taking an Anthony Trollope novel to re-read.
- The 2009 film Avatar spawned many examples of this. Several threads exist on one Avatar forum relating to how many times each poster has seen the movie. The second even has photos of ticket stubs as proof...
- Conan O'Brien saw the film five times during the first three weeks of release and even learned Na'vi (which he demonstrated on one of the last episodes of his run on The Tonight Show).
- Fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show are well known for this. Somebody who's seen the film twenty times is still a neophyte. A few fans claim to have watched the film over 1,000 times, equivalent to once a week for twenty years.
- If you see it with a live cast, it's never the same show twice.
- It's common for live casts to fish out first-time viewers ("virgins") by having the entire audience stand, then sit as they count down how many times they've seen the film note .
- In the first of his autobiographies, Moab Is My Washpot, Stephen Fry stated that in his schoolboy days, he and a few friends went to see A Clockwork Orange, The Godfather and Cabaret over and over, each one having different elements that appealed to him at the time. He ended up cutting a lot of school to do it, however, and was eventually expelled.
- Apparently, a fan once approached Edgar Wright and asked him to sign his ticket stubs for Scott Pilgrim vs. The World... all 55 of them.
- The writer of this essay on IMDb claims to have seen Beauty and the Beast a grand total of three-hundred and eighty-one times, as of 2003. Going from Dec 31 1991 to Jan 1 2003, that adds up to around 4015 days, adding up to once every ten days.
- A San Francisco youth made national news when saw the movie Rocky 81 times (and possibly more) during its first-run release in 1976 and 1977. After the 27th viewing, the theatre started letting him in for free.
- Christopher Lee has stated that he has read the Lord of the Rings trilogy all the way through every year for decades. It was for this reason that he was one of the main consultants for the Peter Jackson films.
- Alas, John Hinckley, Jr. watched Taxi Driver 15 times in a row and got the entirely wrong idea from it, stalking an actress in it, and attempting to assassinate the President (something like in the movie) because she wasn't impressed.
- When Who Framed Roger Rabbit came out in 1988, legendary animator Shamus Culhane recommended that all serious students of animation watch it several times; it was that groundbreaking, he claimed.
- Roberto Sadovski, best known for editing defunct Brazilian movie magazine Set, declared in an interview that he saw Batman over 50 times when it was in theaters in 1989. He also stated that every movie night on his house ends with a screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
- Howard Hughes is said to have watched a private print of Ice Station Zebra 150 times on a continuous loop in his private hotel suite during the years prior to his death, when he was suffering from mental problems.
- Peanuts cartoonist Charles M. Schulz watched Citizen Kane more than 40 times during his lifetime, something he also referenced in his comic strip.
- At the last The iDOLM@STER movie screening at Shinjuku's Ward 9 theater, one fan revealed to the Aniplex representatives there that he saw it 102 times during its theatrical run.
- Hillary Clinton has said she saw Casablanca numerous times when she was in college.
- Disney animator Andreas Deja (who animated Jafar for Aladdin, among other assignments), says that as a kid in the 1960s he thought The Jungle Book was so cool that he went to see it every day for a while, to the point that his mother began to worry about him. That was the film that convinced Deja he wanted to become an animator.