Movies that bear repeating!

Associate Editor, News; Toronto, Canada (@Mack_SAnarchy)
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When watching movies the magic of seeing it for the first time is often lost afterwards when you watch it again. Comedies are never as funny as the first time you watch them. The shock of the horror film has long since gone, with the rare exception of some really good scares or kills. The action or adventure film may seem tame as each subsequent film ups the ante each time. It is hard to repeat that reaction the first time we see something amazing or watch something resonates with us. What marks a great movie is not if they have stood the test of time but more importantly can bear repeated viewings?

Few films can grab you again like they did the first time you saw them but there are movies and films that you can always go back to. You give them an annual viewing. Or, you may see them on your shelf and say, 'Oh, I haven't given that a go in a while'. And no matter how many times you clean out your collection you just cannot bear to part with that certain title.

A couple of these titles should be familiar to readers. I talk about a couple of them from time to time. So this isn't so much to bring you anything new but it is my wish to invoke conversation among us.

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Army of Darkness -- It just so happened that this was playing on AMC Channel the other day. It was at the very end of the movie just after Ash, Arthur and Henry the Red defeated the Deadites. From there I mumbled the words to myself until the SMart scene. I got the attention of my co-worker. 'Hey. Hey. This is the best line, ever'! "Ma'am, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave the store". 'Oooooh. Wait! This is another good one'! "Hail to the king baby". 'Oh snap'! My coworker just stared at me.

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Die Hard -- It is a Christmas tradition. I'll be back west at my parents' house and I just gotta throw it in and give it a watch. I'm going to have to get it for them on DVD though as they made the jump to digital technology and have their own multi-region player so they can watch the brit-coms on R2 which I bring with me for the holidays. Maybe I should start another article? 'My son is a film geek and this is what I have learned...'

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Fist of Legend -- It is one of the greatest martial art movies -- hands down. Smooth. Brutal. Jet Li and Yuen Woo Ping are at the top of their game. It has been out long enough that more people should know about this film than do not.

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Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail -- There are few movies as quotable as this one. It is one of the few movies that I can recite line for line along with the movie. I admit this should only be a solitary experience because no one wants to hear you back seat movie watching over their shoulder. Good times though. Grab your coconut halves.

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UHF -- To call it timeless is a bit of a misnomer. It does show its age with some of the cultural reference jokes. But by golly if it still isn't one of the funniest movies I will ever watch. And every time I watch it I too want to drink from the fire hose. Supplies!!!

Honorable mentions

The ORIGINAL Star Wars trilogy -- Don't make the top 5 only because I am so familiar with them that I will fall asleep at any time I watch them, wake up, and know exactly where I am in the film. This has happened many a Thanksgiving over a friend's house over the years.

A Christmas Story -- Holiday films would count but cannot be part of the list because it is obligatory to watch these films during the holidays to help coax that holiday spirit out of you. Perhaps if I watched it in July? Now that would be hardcore.

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ardvarkJuly 13, 2007 3:51 PM

That's a brilliant subject Mack, I wish I thought of that!

My first infinitely rewatchable movie would be "The Terminator" (the first) because the 'flow' of that movie is just so damn perfect.
Even when I catch it on tv I can't resist watching it till the credits...

snarfJuly 13, 2007 3:54 PM

Great idea for an article. I like films that work on multiple viewings. I have allways believed that most film actually do, because, when you consider how many times the director and editor of a film probably see it, in the process of reaching the finished product, it makes sense that a film is optimised for repeat views.

Heres some movies from the top of my head:

GOODFELLAS : the flow of this film combined with the fine acting and the great soundtrack, makes this one a treat every time.

TOXIC AVENGER : Call me weird, but I love this film. It's sooo bad, but in just the right way. It always inspires me to believe that anyone can do something special if they put their minds to it. Maybe it also has to do with the fact that this was one of the very first bootleg VHS tapes I ever got a hold of (along with Peter Jacksons BAD TASTE). The secret washed out mystery of these tapes was very exiting as a teenanger, and part of that thrill lives on to this day.

TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE : Well, duh! (In my book anyway)

ICHI THE KILLER: The wacked out creativity and convoluted plot makes me reach a different understanding of what this film is about each and every time I see it. I love that.

EVIL DEAD 2 : I think the energy and the homour of this one surpasses the others in the series, but this is a matter of taste. On a list like this, at least ONE of the evil dead films ievitably shows up.

STARSHIP TROOPERS : It's just fun each and every time I see it. The grand scope of the plot and the soap-opera-ish intrigues is so tounge in cheek. He is good at mocking American culture.

ROBOTS: well this is an odd one. My two-year old son is crazy about this film. He want's to see it every day if he can get away with it, and I've come to appreciate why. It's very well done, a joy to behold and full of details that keeps popping up each time you wath it.

I could add more to the list, I'm sure, but it's early morning for me here in Copenahgen and the coffe hasn't kicked in yet. I just felt compelled to spill my two cents on this subject...

Andrew MackJuly 13, 2007 7:09 PM

Oh great snarf! I thought I tapped into something cool with our readership and they were responding in droves! Dangit man! You needlessly bloated my ego for a brief second. How am I going to come down from this now?!
LOL.

collin aJuly 13, 2007 7:51 PM

BLACK CHRISTMAS is viewed several times a year in our house, but always the week before Dec. 25th. It's a great film, but maybe my wife and I are kind of strange, too -- not exactly a feel-good experience.

Tuan JimJuly 13, 2007 9:58 PM

Strangely enough, "The Princess Bride" comes pretty close to the top of my "always fresh viewing" list. Other ones up there include "Office Space" and "Big Trouble in Little China".

James MaruyamaJuly 13, 2007 10:20 PM

Thank you Mack for this great post! No list would be complete without including the works of Stanley Kubrick (A Clockwork Orange, 2001, The Shining, Dr. Strangelove, Full Metal Jacket)...absolutely brilliant. The movies of Steven Spielberg should also be included (Jaws, Indiana Jones Trilogy, Close Encounters, Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, E.T.). The Godfather Part II, Blade Runner, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Chinatown...basically all the movies on the AFI list also stand the test of time. Of the recent films I'd also include Pan's Labyrinth, Batman Begins, Children of Man. From Asian cinema you gotta include Seven Samurai, Rashomon, Yojimbo, The Killer, the movies of Johnny To/Milkyway Productions (Mission, Exile, Beyond Hypothermia), Nobody Knows.

Kurt HalfyardJuly 13, 2007 10:38 PM

Wow James -- Kore-eda's "Nobody Knows"? Fantastic, yes. Not one I would want to watch regularly, it's bloody heart-wrenching....

DocJuly 13, 2007 11:36 PM

'Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" gets funnier and funnier every time I watch it. I would also 2nd "The Princess Bride".

VincentJuly 14, 2007 12:40 AM

If "The Big Lebowski" isn't on your list, it's simply because you haven't seen it enough. The film gets better and better on each viewing.

Other than that, the two movies I've seen the most are "The Royal Tenenbaums" and "A Goofy Movie." Take that as you will.

ToryJuly 14, 2007 1:17 AM

There's plenty of movies that fall into that category for me. Iron Monkey, Time and Tide, Desperado, Terminator 2. But the two that really stuck in my head were The Professional and, this is the big one for me, Donnie Darko. It's probably my favorite movie and I never get tired of watching it.

ChrisJuly 14, 2007 4:10 AM

The Rules of Attraction. Re-Animator. A second for O' Brother. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (My wife and I have seen it a good number of times). Murder Party was the last one we went crazy for. Watched it three times in 4 days.

arch stantonJuly 14, 2007 4:30 AM

Besides the already mentioned CHINATOWN movies I come back to all the time are BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR and the film I probably rewatch more than any other, I've completlely lost count of how many times I've seen it is ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST.

greg kJuly 15, 2007 7:04 PM

BAD SANTA.