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Posted at 2:35 PM ET, 04/16/2010

Friday list: The Rewatchables -- The movies we can view again and again

By Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly

On Jen's list: 1994's 'Pulp Fiction. (Miramax)

A couple of weeks ago, we focused a Friday List on what we called The Unwatchables: the movies, TV shows and Web videos we take pride in having skipped. This week, we hit the opposite end of the spectrum with The Rewatchables, a look at the movies we never tire of viewing again and again, and then one more time after that.

Some people believe watching a film once is enough. Here at Celebritology, we do not understand these people. Some motion pictures are filled with so much rich dialogue, blood pressure-raising action and gut-busting comedy, there's no such thing as seeing them too many times.

After the jump, read about our favorite rewatchable movies, then add your selections in the comments below.

Jen's Picks
I had an embarrassingly difficult time coming up with a list of five rewatchables. Why? Because I watch EVERYTHING multiple times. Evidence: I spent most of the summer of 1988 seeing either "Big" or "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" repeatedly at my local cineplex, even though neither one rises to the level of being an all-time favorite. Nevertheless, I hunkered down and selected five movies so screamingly rewatchable, that I would easily fire up any one of them right now if someone were to swing by my desk with a DVD.

1. Dazed and Confused: Richard Linklater's spot-on snapshot of the last day of school circa 1976 never gets old for me. No matter how many times I see it -- and I'm easily past the 25-viewings mark at this point -- I never tire of watching Wooderson (Matthew McConaughey) explain his love of high school girls ("I get older, they stay the same age"), or Slater (Rory Cochrane) give a history lesson on George Washington's involvement in alien cults, or Darla (Parker Posey) douse a blacktop full of freshman girls with condiments to the rune of "Why Can't We Be Friends?" by War. Party at the moon tower? Oh, I'm there. Every. time.

2. Pulp Fiction: From the moment I first sat on the edge of a movie theater seat, waiting for John Travolta to jam a syringe full of adrenaline into Uma Thurman's breast plate, I was forever hooked on Quentin Tarantino's timeline-skipping, "Jungle Boogie"-ing tale of gangsters, Gimps and $5 shakes. No day is complete without a stop at Jack Rabbit Slim's.

3. Moonstruck: It's the delicious details in this Academy Award-winning romance that keep me coming back: the soft candlelight in the Grand Ticino, the rich burgundy of Cher's opera dress and, of course, Nicolas Cage's delivery of what has to be one of the greatest monologues in romantic comedy history: "We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and to love the wrong people and to die." Any movie that refutes the notion of fairy tales while simultaneously delivering swoony scenes like this one is a rewatchable in Jen Chaney's book:

4. "It's a Wonderful Life": Perhaps the most rewatched movie ever, this is one we've all repeatedly viewed every holiday season for decades now. Yet somehow, each December, we re-discover the gift of Jimmy Stewart's contagious glee as he bounds, renewed, into the drafty old Bailey house to embrace his family and his life anew. Cheesy confession: one of my senior quotes in my high school yearbook came from this movie: "No man is a failure who has friends." Here's an updated version: "No man who has this movie on DVD will ever lack something terrific to watch... or re-watch."

5. "Ferris Bueller's Day Off": I tried so hard to pick something respectable, like an Orson Welles film or a Martin Scorsese masterpiece. But I have to be honest. If someone told me I had to choose between watching "Citizen Kane" or "Ferris Bueller" every day, from now until my death, the answer would come back "Bueller" every time.

Liz's Picks
Okay, so I admit that the following list is a bit... eclectic. But, hey, variety is the spice of life. Or at least of movies.

1. Master & Commander: Okay, so I'm a sucker for British naval history. Who knew? After having read the entire Patrick O'Brian oeuvre chronicling the high seas adventures and political machinations of Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin, I was beside myself when Russell Crowe led a spot-on film adaptation of "The Far Side of the World," even if it was really a mash-up of plots from several of the books. Now, like many other Aubrey/Maturin fans, I continue to hold out hope for the sequel about which Crowe once hinted.

2. Airplane: How much do I like this 1977 slapstick comedy about a band of oddball characters thrown together on a jetliner in distress? Enough to have 22 clips of the film's best dialogue programmed into my iPod. The physical comedy was hilarious when I was nine years old and, as I age, the movie continues to resonate (that's right, "Airplane" can resonate) on different levels with every rewatch. And stop calling me Shirley.

3. Urban Cowboy: I'm a sucker for a love story, and I do love me some dirtbags, so it's no surprise that this gritty tale about a young Texas stud (played by John Travolta) battling -- courtesy of a mechanical bull -- a mesh-shirt-wearing Scott Glenn for the love of Debra Winger is a staple in my DVD library. The movie is also a time capsule of a bygone era, when Gilley's (practically another character in the movie) ruled the Houston nightlife scene and songs about fiddle battles could make it to no. 3 on the Billboard charts.

4. Jesus' Son: Okay, so again with the dirtbags. Something about Alison Maclean's adaption of the Denis Johnson novel just pressed every single one of my "me likey" buttons: Hot star (Billy Crudup? Check), killer soundtrack (Tommy Roe, Neil Young and Wilco? Check), good story (A movie about junkies? Check), strong supporting cast (Samantha Morton, Denis Leary, Holly Hunter, Jack Black and Michael Shannon? Check.) My favorite scene: A tweaking Jack Black's impromptu removal of a hunting knife from a man's eye socket, set to Neil Young's "Cowgirl in the Sand."

5. The Maltese Falcon: I'm a big fan of '30s - '50s era Hollywood flicks and although Bette Davis movies have an open-door policy in my house (as I wrote earlier this month), this John Huston-directed noir adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's tale of a mysterious statue and a hard-boiled detective -- played here by Humphrey Bogart in one of his defining roles -- never ceases to entertain. Be sure to note standout performances from a sniveling Peter Lorre, a corpulent Sidney Greenstreet and Mary Astor, as one of the best duplicitous dames committed to celluloid.

By Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly  | April 16, 2010; 2:35 PM ET
Categories:  Friday Lists, Movies  | Tags:  movies  
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Next: Celebritology Weekend: Big break ups; Danny Glover, labor outlaw?


Liz and Jen and the WaPo Technical Wizards: There may be a problem with this page for readers using IE. I had to open it in Firefox.

That said...
1. Star Wars original trilogy
2. Lord of the Rings trilogy
3. Casablanca
4. Pretty much any "Robin Hood" movie ever made except that horrible one with Kevin Costner
5. Anything by Hayao Miyazaki

Posted by: northgs | April 16, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid
The Graduate
The Game
Fast Times At Ridgemont High
Dances With Wolves

Jeremiah Johnson
Animal House

Posted by: Bebunk | April 16, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Pulp Fiction
Dazed & Confused
The Fifth Element

The Usual Suspects
The Shawshank Redemption

Posted by: SatchelPooch | April 16, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

my list is a bit embarrassing:
Ever After
Independance Day
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Sound of Music
Finding Nemo

(I am a kid at heart).

Posted by: hodie | April 16, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

The Great Escape (1963)
What a Way to Go! (1964)
Animal House (1978)
Mommie Dearest (1981)
Soapdish (1991)
Toy Story 2 (1999)
The Incredibles (2004)

Posted by: td_in_baltimore | April 16, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

1. Working Girl (Love hearing HFord repeat the "boney ass" line about SWeaver and he is so dang cute.)
2. Shawshank Redemption (another great listening-to-the-opera scene)
3. Dirty Dancing (Love the dancing, esp JGrey practicing to Wipeout)
4. Groundhog Day (just plain fun)
5. The Red Shoes (breaks my heart every.single.time.)

Posted by: Vosora | April 16, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Maltese Falcon or North by Northwest or The Birds or.....
Animal House
any old war movie with Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Carroll O'Connor and the like
The French Connection

Posted by: osh123 | April 16, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Rosemary's Baby
The Shining
Rear Window
The Producers
The Birds
Taxi Driver

Posted by: writer_33 | April 16, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Dear Frankie
Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Sliding Doors
Casino Royale

Posted by: afar2988 | April 16, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Both your lists are great - a couple on there I have never seen, but just put in my Netflix cue.

My Top 5 from your lists: Ferris Bueller, Pulp Fiction, Airplane ("I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue"), Wonderful Life, Maltese Falcon.

If I had to omit any of yours: Godfather, Casablanca, Animal House, Goodfellas, Taxi Driver.

Posted by: scottkinva | April 16, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

In no particular order:

The Sure Thing
Shawshank Redemption
The Princess Bride
10 Things I Hate About You

Posted by: rosesta | April 16, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Aw Geez, you guys are leaving out some of the greatest movies of all time...

1. Chicken Run
2. Death to Smoochy
3. STNG: Insurrection
4. Galaxy Quest
5. The Truman Show

Posted by: bproulx45 | April 16, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I am slightly embarrassed to admit my list, mostly because they are pretty much the same movies I watched over & over again in my teens. Well except The Notebook, which came out well past my teenage years. But I love it like a teenager!

1. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
2. Lord of the Rings Trilogy
3. Urban Cowboy
4. Dirty Dancing
5. The Notebook

Posted by: Noelle6 | April 16, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

"The Graduate"
"Orfeu Negro" [Black Orpheus] (the original)
"The Sting"
"A Bug's Life"
"The Pink Panther"

Also, most anything directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | April 16, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Oops, I forgot:
"Some Like It Hot"
"Fame" (the original)
"The Blues Brothers"
"Mystic Pizza"

And I second these already listed:
"Animal House"
"Fast Times At Ridgemont High"
"The French Connection"
"Groundhog Day"
"The Incredibles"

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | April 16, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

The Apartment
Harold & Maude
The Sixth Sense

Posted by: sarahabc | April 16, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

The Seven Samurai (1954)

The Wild Bunch (1969)

A Thousand Clowns (1965)

Citizen Kane (1941)

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

Posted by: munkle | April 16, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Do you want to know the movies I might watch repeatedly, or the movies that Ms. Snatchquatch *does* watch repeatedly?

Hmmm...probably easier to list her movies, in no particular order:

Trading Places
Back to Future, all three parts
Something's Gotta Give
Shawshank Redemption
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
It's a Wonderful Life
Wizard of Oz
The Producers
Young Frankenstein
Blazing Saddles
A Few Good Men

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | April 16, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Do you want to know the movies I might watch repeatedly, or the movies that Ms. Snatchquatch *does* watch repeatedly?

Hmmm...probably easier to list her movies, in no particular order:

Trading Places
Back to Future, all three parts
Something's Gotta Give
Shawshank Redemption
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
It's a Wonderful Life
Wizard of Oz
The Producers
Young Frankenstein
Blazing Saddles
A Few Good Men

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | April 16, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe Princess Bride didn't make either list! Ah, well. Here's mine based on multiple viewings and with a favorite bit.

Princess Bridge: Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You kill my father. Prepare to die.

Groundhog Day: Babe, I got you Babe…

LotR: Gandalf vs. the Balrog at the start of Two Towers.

Big Night: THE movie for foodies. It's hard to pick a scene, but I'd go with the one at the end where Primo makes eggs. We've nicknamed our twins Primo and Secondo.

Your favorite Pixar film. Virtually all of them merit multiple viewings. Cars and Wall-E are favorites of the kids (they totally have a crush on Eve) and I've never minded

I also have watched Ratatouille and the Incredibles multiple times.

And since I'm not limited to 5 films, here are a few others:

Monsoon Wedding - Bollywood wrapped up in a big cheery, gift.

Bird Cage - Robin Williams! Nathan Lane! Gene Hackman! And the biggest scene stealer of them all… Frank Azaria!!! He brings all the heat of his Guatemalaness.

Airplane - Stop calling me Shirley.

Parenthood - Steve Martin gets to do his old material and it works. At least for kids.

A Christmas Story - Merits its spot in the holiday rotation.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | April 16, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

To some degree they're not just 'film's i'll watch over and over' but more 'film's that i'll drop down and watch if i stumble across them while channel surfing regardless of future plans'...

Rashamon/Yojimbo/(anything starting Toshiro Mifune)
Bringing Up Baby
The Big Sleep
and to quote northgs - "Anything by Hayao Miyazaki"

Posted by: quintiliusvarus | April 16, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

There's something very comforting about sitting down (by ourselves) with a bag of chips and a movie that really moved us the first time we saw it, and still does. The Godfather. Blazing Saddles. Star Wars. L.A. Confidential. Terminator II: Judgment Day. Toy Story 2. The Sting. The Maltese Falcon. Groundhog Day. Annie Hall. Etc., etc. Awesome!

Posted by: chipgower | April 16, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Raising Arizona - "nobody sleeps naked in this house"
Princess Bride - I love that my children love this movie
Four Weddings and a Funeral- Hugh Grant, pre-unseemly behavior
About a Boy - Hugh Grant - redeems himself
The Big Lebowski
Toy Story

Posted by: noisyboys | April 16, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmmm....let me think...

I love weepies, so:
-"Grave of the Fireflies"

Something action-packed:
-"Children of Men"

Something funny:
-"The Incredibles"

Something foreign:
-"Yi Yi"

Something classic/complex/brain-teasing:
-"The Godfather" (Parts I and II)

Something epic:
-"Lord of the Rings" (All Parts)

Something neo-realist:
-"El Norte"

And finally, something musical:

Posted by: t_lhrh | April 16, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Excellent lists! If I had to narrow it down...hmm...

* "The Fugitive"
* "Sense and Sensibility" (the one with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet)
* "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"
* "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" ("Junior!" "Dad!")
* Like others, basically anything by Miyazaki
* "The Peacemaker" (I have no defense, except that Nicole Kidman was absolutely fierce and I want to be her character when I grow up. Oh, and George Clooney costarred)

Posted by: Bawlmer51 | April 16, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Field of Dreams ("Is this heaven?" "'s Iowa.")
The Natural
Strange Brew ("This movie was filmed in 3-B...three beers and it looks good, eh.")
1776 ("...oh for God's sake, John, sit down!")
The Music Man
The Blues Brothers ("We're on a mission from God.")
Stripes ("What do we have? We've got one heavily-armed recreational vehicle!")
Caddyshack ("Big hitter, the Lama. Long.")
The Last Starfighter
Karate Kid 2
Kentucky Fried Movie ("I'm not wearing any at 11.")

Posted by: SportzNut21 | April 16, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

The Long Goodbye (1973) Elliott Gould dir Robert Altman
Dirty Harry (1971) Clint Eastwood dir Don Seigal
Across The Universe (2007) Evan Rachel Wood dir Julie Taymor
Patton: Portrait of a Rebel (1970) George C Scott dir Frank Schaffner
American Graffiti (1973) Richard Dreyfuss dir George Lucas

(I can go along with many of the other films mentioned)

Posted by: edlharris | April 16, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

1. Pretty Woman
2. American President
3. Wizard of Oz
4. Star Wars
5. Blues Brothers

I'm a child of the 80s...I'd also add Ferris Bueller, Sixteen Candles, and Dirty Dancing.

Posted by: bagend | April 16, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Shirley Valentine
Hobson's Choice
Groundhog Day

Posted by: nellie4 | April 16, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

1. When Harry Met Sally (can't believe no one has listed this yet)
2. The Shawshank Redemption
3. Love Actually
4. The Notebook
5. Pretty Woman

Posted by: goodwater1 | April 16, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Oh yes, and 6. Once

Posted by: goodwater1 | April 16, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Captain Ron
Fifth Element
Blade Runner
Raiders of the Lost Ark

Posted by: sage5 | April 16, 2010 10:47 PM | Report abuse

1) Shawshank Redemption
2) Groundhog Day
3) Best in Show
4) Airplane
5) Speed

Posted by: Ebola_22039 | April 16, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Just off the top of my head (that haven't been mentioned already):

The 3rd Man
The Man in the White Suit
The Searchers
Out of the Past
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
A Night at the Opera
Kind Hearts and Coronets
Touch of Evil
My Cousin Vinny
The 39 Steps
Dr Strangelove
Singing in the Rain
White Christmas
Broadway Danny Rose
Cool Hand Luke
Grand Illusion

Pant, pant -- must...stop...listing...movies...

Posted by: rashomon | April 16, 2010 11:35 PM | Report abuse

Breakfast at Tiffany's (I love Audrey, and I live just outside New York.)
Almost Famous
Before Sunset
Mary Poppins
My Fair Lady
Office Space
Animal House
Blues Brothers
Mrs. Henderson Presents
Atonement (visually stunning, and James McAvoy to boot)
Death on the Nile
Casino Royale

Posted by: ras4q | April 17, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

For me watchable doesn't necessary equal "great." Just strangely addictive in that if I come across it playing while flipping through channels, I will stop and watch (even if I own the DVD!):

1. A Wonderful Life
2. Die Hard
3. A Few Good Men
4. Galaxy Quest
5. Office Space
6. The Client
7. The Firm
8. Pretty Woman
9. The Full Monty
10. E.T.

Posted by: stella117 | April 17, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Is it rather meta that a movie some of us would enjoy watching repeatedly is, ahem, "Groundhog Day"?

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | April 17, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Rashomon, my only quibble with "Kind Hearts and Coronets" is that the "N" word is uttered about 15 minutes before the end of the film. I'm pretty sure it was considered offensive even back then.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | April 17, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Only 5? Not nearly enough!

These are the ones I will watch no matter what time of day, or how much is left to watch.

Sex and the City
10 Things I Hate About You
Bring it On (how has no one else mentioned this one???)
Center Stage
Can't Hardly Wait
Drive Me Crazy
The Jazz Singer (I know)
Legally Blonde
Pretty Woman
Keeping the Faith

Posted by: Laura118 | April 19, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Not in any order:

Hot Fuzz
Princess Bride
Royal Tenenbaums
Anything Pixar

Posted by: dragnchic9 | April 19, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Ordinary People
Blade Runner
A League of Their Own
Bull Durham

Posted by: cjbriggs | April 19, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Bull Durham
Working Girl
Breakfast at Tiffany's
When Harry Met Sally
Galaxy Quest
Office Space
Animal House

and one I can't believe no one has mentioned

Coal Miner's Daughter

Posted by: msame | April 19, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Great lists. Mine:
Godfather 1 or 2
The Jerk
Harold and Maude
Trading Places and Die Hard (Christmas tradition)
Emma and Sense and Sensibility

Posted by: jaimie_evans | April 23, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

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