Monday, October 22, 2012

Movie Monday: The I Can't Not Watch Edition

Over the weekend, I ran across a discussion online regarding the movies that we just can't seem to resist watching whenever we find them on television, be it broadcast, cable, or on demand.

I think it is true that we all a list like this if we like movies at all. If you're like me, and you love movies, you probably have a long list of them. They're those movies that you love and will watch whenever you can, not because they are necessarily good movies but just because there is something in them or something about them that speaks to you, one way or another.

In the discussion online, participants were asked to stick to a list of ten movies. There is no way I can do that, but I managed to limit my first list to thirteen, and then added another to that after stumbling on That Thing You Do! (1996) late last night on cable. It's one of those movies that I've loved ever since the first time I saw it in the theater when it first came out.

Thinking about it this morning, I added a few other movies to the list. I can't rank them from best to worst, or most liked to least liked but will watch any time, and so here is my list in order of when they were first released. They are:

The Mummy (1932)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
Rear Window (1954)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
A Hard Day's Night (1964)
The Trouble With Angels (1966)
The Doberman Gang (1972)
The Turning Point (1977)
Grease 2 (1982)
The Right Stuff (1983)
Road House (1989)
Empire Records (1995)
Twister (1996)
That Thing You Do! (1996)
Almost Famous (2000)
Zoolander (2001)
The Princess Diaries (2001)

As you can see, some of the movies on this list are not what anyone would consider great cinema. Those are the movies that I will watch because of some personal or locational connection I have to them. For example, the reason I will watch The Doberman Gang anytime, anywhere is that it was filmed in the town where I grew up. It's a bank-heist movie, and the bank branch that was robbed in the film was the branch where I had my savings account as a child and teenager. The theater shown at one point in the movie was the theater where I went to the movies on a weekly basis for years. In fact, it was the theater where the premiere of the movie was held, and which I attended. It was kind of funny, because they had used the real tellers from the bank to play the tellers in the film, and they were sitting right behind me at the premiere. Every once in awhile I'd hear an astonished, or a gleeful, "There I am," as one or another of them came on the screen. There are several other places I knew well growing up that appear in the movie, including a quick glimpse down the street I lived on at the time and an equally fast look at the side and back yard of the house where I babysat regularly.

I've also got a personal stake in viewing Grease 2, which really is a pretty bad movie. However, it was filmed at the campus where my high school graduation was held. It was not the school I attended my senior year, but my school didn't have any facilities to hold graduation ceremonies, and so we used the football field at the "other" high school in town. So, whenever I want to see where I graduated, all I have to do is pull out the DVD of Grease 2 and it's there, in the scenes that take place on the football field and track.

The other movie on the list that I have a locational tie to is Road House, part of which was filmed in and around the town I lived in and the town where I went to college for awhile. While I never saw any of the filming or ran into any of the cast or crew, I got a lot of laughs from the women in the small central California town I lived in who, for the duration, were intent on tracking down Patrick Swayze, who starred in the film. Personally, I would have been much more excited to meet Sam Elliot, who was also in the movie, but that's just me.

I also noticed as I was keyboarding the list here, that there are several films that center around music one way or another. A Hard Day's Night, That Thing You Do!, and Almost Famous all center around bands, while Empire Records chronicles a day in the life of an indie record store. This should be no surprise, since anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I love music.

There are also some classics on the list, of course. I'm sure you can pick them out. And the others? Well, I just like them. Sometimes I'm not quite sure why. The Princess Diaries is really a movie meant for teenage girls but, although I can't put my finger on why, there is just something about it that makes me go back to it again and again. With Zoolander, on the other hand, I know exactly why I like it enough to see it again and again: it is possibly the most absurdly funny thing I've ever seen. It is the performances and the fact that I love the ballet that brings me back to The Turning Point again and again.

So. Now you know which movies I cannot resist seeing over and over again. My question to you, readers, is what does your list look like? Feel free to share in the comments section.

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