Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day 5: Movies I Never Get Sick of Watching

As I get older, there are fewer and fewer movies that I'll watch more than once or twice. It's not that they weren't good movies. Well, ok. Some of them certainly weren't *cough*Clash of the Titans*cough*, but really it's about whether the movie is compelling to me.

A compelling film should resonate with what I've been through in some way, but do so in a way that is different from my own experience. If it's fiction, it should be set in a universe at that is creative, innovative and interesting to explore. If it's based on reality (or prior fiction), it should be respectful of past events (or canon). Regardless of the format, the characters need not to feel like they exist solely for the sake of the story.

Some people say a compelling film should develop our moral sense. It should make us think. I appreciate that, but I'm less compelled by thinking than by feeling. I can accept a movie less flashy and full of effects if it draws on my emotions in just the right way. By "the right way", I mean not to scare me (I don't like to be scared) or anger me (there's already enough in the world to piss me off). I don't cry or anything, but there's something to be said for a good cathartic sigh.

Based on the above criteria, then, the following qualify:

Last of the Mohicans (1992). Daniel Day Lewis is an amazing actor, and he makes a thoroughly believable Natty Bumppo. This movie is not an exact adaptation of the book, but shows it good respect while exploring the canon and the history from a slightly different angle.

Running Scared (1986). Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines as Chicago detectives in a film so full of quotable material I wish I could share it with everyone.

The Hunt for Red October (1990). A great adaptation of the book, and the best of a genre of films that has been sadly neglected since the end of the Cold War. Lots of good quotes in it, too!

It's a Wonderful Life (1946). I watch this movie every year, and it never fails to make me appreciate my world and all the wonderful people in it.

Blade Runner (1982). I am continually fascinated by the world in which detective Rick Deckard plies his trade. The concept of the replicant as interpreted by Ridley Scott really makes me think about what it really means to be human.

Back to the Future (1985). This is just a fun movie for someone who grew up in the 1980s! All the 80s culture is there and it has a flavor that is very familiar to someone of my generation. The characters are wholly quirky and entertaining, and the story is pretty classic.

Let it Ride (1989). It's not for Jennifer Tilly that this movie appeals to me (truly, large tatas are not the thing that draws me to the theater). Rather, it's Richard Dreyfuss' character. He's just a normal guy trying to communicate something he's discovered about the world to people who can't or don't want to understand it. I feel like that's me a lot of the time.

The Matrix (1999). This story is deep, and every time I watch the film it gets deeper. Inception is another example of such a film and I'm sure I will eventually be putting it on this list; I just don't own it yet.

Star Wars (1977). Although I enjoy all the movies in the franchise (except any part of Episode I that involves Jar Jar Binks), it is this one that I watch over and over. The Empire Strikes Back is the one that resonates best with me, but I don't watch it all that often--perhaps because it leaves me feeling ever so slightly melancholy afterward, and not often anymore am I in a place where I can linger in that state.

Stand and Deliver (1988). Jaime Escalante was one of my earliest inspirations as an educator, and this movie reinforces all of the things about him and about my own work that I value most highly.

The Saint (1997). This is one of those movies that Wifeness and I watch together. It means something different to each of us, but we both enjoy this movie in similar ways. It's nice when that happens!

What do you like to watch again and again?


Mrs. Chili said...

I should have included Running Scared; I love that movie. Jumpin' Jack Flash, too.

Diane said...

My list:
Princess Bride
Blazing Saddles
Young Frankenstein
Big Lebowski
Napoleon Dynamite

For me, I want to be completely enchanted, or left sore from laughing.

the passionate hairdresser said...

Back to the future (of course)
Star Wars
Hunt for Red October
Con Air
Independence Day
Mary Poppins
Ferris Bueller's Day Off