Friday list: The Rewatchables -- The movies we can view again and again
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.
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.
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.
Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly
| April 16, 2010; 2:35 PM ET
Categories: Friday Lists, Movies | Tags: movies
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