2021 Childhood Nostalgia Adventure Winner

Thanks to everyone who applied for the Childhood Nostalgia Dream Adventure. Picking a winner was as hard as picking just one toy from the store. But in the end, we chose Dr. Jordan Beaver, who grew up watching movies in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Meet Jordan Beaver: Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Fermenter of Grains, Former Blockbuster Enthusiast

In his professional life, Dr. Jordan Beaver of the University of Texas at Tyler studies the fermentation of beer, wine, and spirits.

In his personal life, Dr. Beaver has always been intrigued by cinematic storytelling, as evidenced by (1) a past side gig in video editing and (2) a childhood Blockbuster habit, when that was still a thing you could have.

See what Dr. Beaver had to say about his traipse into nostalgia and whether his favorite children’s movies aged like fine wine—or moldy string cheese.

The childhood movie with the most adult jokes: Muppet Treasure Island

Dr. Beaver noticed about a hundred adult asides he missed watching Muppet Treasure Island as a kid: references to Henry Kissinger, the Marlon Brando line “I could’ve been a contender,” clever innuendo throughout, and Miss Piggy’s commentary on her dating life.

The hardest movie to rewatch: The Brave Little Toaster

In Dr. Beaver’s words, “Someone could probably remake this as a live-action horror movie. Otherwise, leave the original alone to be used as a thought experiment regarding sentience.”

The most significant childhood rewatch overall: Hook

Hook was the movie Dr. Beaver was most interested in rewatching as an adult, and it did not disappoint. Anxious about the upcoming semester when the movie started, Dr. Beaver felt more relaxed, excited, and ready to mentor students again after seeing Peter Banning’s journey to childhood and back.

For Dr. Beaver, the movie reinforced countless lessons about healing trauma, nurturing your inner child, keeping a work-life balance, fostering the collective mental health of families, and reframing aging as “yet another great adventure.”

And he may or may not have cried when Toodles found his marbles. (If childhood teaches us anything: it’s okay to cry when you feel big feelings!)

Hook may be in my top 10 movies of all time now.”

—Dr. Jordan Beaver

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