Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hanging head in shame

What are you favorite movies?

OK, now that you've answered that question, what movies do you watch the most often?

Sometimes those categories overlap. (Shawshank Redemption.) Sometimes they do not. (Ahem. Mormon version of Pride and Prejudice.) And sometimes with movies I love, I can only watch when I am particularly in the mood for them. (The Godfather. Gone with the Wind. Fargo. Newsies. Dance Christian Bale, dance!)

But some movies I could just watch over ... and over ... and over again. Partly because they're dumb. Partly because they're comfortable. When I was studying for secured transactions my second year of law school, I probably watched Just Friends with Ryan Reynolds and Amy Adams four times a day. It was simply the perfect background distraction, and it always made me want ice cream at the end. (And wouldn't you know it? The freezer at my house is usually well stocked when it comes to times of high stress.)

So if I had to pick the movies I watch most frequently, they would be ....

1. 28 Days Later. This one is a favorite as well as a frequent. There is something oddly beautiful about this zombie movie, and it doesn't hurt that I know it all by heart, so I can totally cook dinner without missing a beat.

2. Dawn of the Dead (2004 Zack Snyder version). This is not a favorite of mine, and in fact it is not a great movie. Yet, I find myself re-watching it every few months. Bonus: you can watch Phil Dunphy behave in a particularly un-Phil-like manner.

3. Jane Eyre (2011). This is neither one of my favorite movies, nor a guilty pleasure. It's just kinda good and I find myself watching it oddly frequently for something I'm sort of dispassionate about. (I guess that's the emotion they might have been going for ...) The cinematography is beautiful, the music is lovely, and it sure doesn't hurt that you're going to look at a broody Michael Fassbender for a couple hours,* but at no point are you particularly moved by the plight of poor Jane and the tragic Mr. Rochester. It's all very romantic, and yet very self-contained, much like Jane herself.

4. Friends with Kids. Similar to Jane Eyre, I don't love this movie, and yet I'm not ashamed of secretly liking it, either. It's kinda funny. It has a kind of sappy and predictable ending. Netflix put it on streaming and since then I've watched it probably five times.

5. Shawshank Redemption. I can watch this movie over and over again and never get sick of it.

6. The Green Mile. Ditto to Shawshank.

7. The Just Friends/Mormon Pride and Prejudice conundrum. Would I admit to my friends that whenever I need to just get something done, I put on these terrible, terrible movies for background noise? Never. And yet they serve their duties so well, and I've gotten to the point where I really do find them funny again.

8. The Dark Knight. I love Christopher Nolan's entire Batman trilogy, including the much nerd-maligned Dark Knight Rises. And yet, of the three films, The Dark Knight is probably the only one I could watch on a loop.

9. Drop Dead Gorgeous. This movie is the best of both worlds. It's good and it's a guilty pleasure. I hated it the first time I saw it and then loved it progressively more over time. If you haven't seen it, you're missing out. Preferably, try to watch it with someone who has already seen it and knows the best lines by heart. "Don't believe her, fellas, she lives two trailers down!" "This was made by one of my father's many Mehican workers. He lifts them from the poverty they knew in Mehico."

10. And perhaps the most shameful of all ... Where the Heart Is. Oh, how I loved this book. Oh, how I loved the country song that came out to accompany the film's release. Oh, how I can arbitrarily defend this terrible, terrible film. Natalie Portman, I commend you for rising above this nonsense. Tip of my hat to you, madam.

What about you all? Feel like sharing some guilty (or not-so-guilty) pleasures?

* Speaking of which, Michael Fassbender proves in Jane Eyre that he meets the Hotness Test my sister and I came up with in high school. Basically, lots of guys can be hot, but if a guy can be gross and still inspire the swoonies ... that's when you know he's really got it. (Think Daniel Day-Lewis at the end of The Crucible. So disgusting. So, so attractive.)


  1. Love Shawshank and Drop Dead Gorgeous ("No, she's just screaming 'Mom Mom' cuz she's got tourettes.") If you like DDG, then you should see Sugar & Spice. Not as good, but still some great one-liners.

    My over-and-over movies are My Cousin Vinny, Miss Congeniality, Clueless, Freaky Friday, Silence of the Lambs, and Soapdish, among many others.

  2. But I agree that there are good, quality movies I like but have to be in the mood for. And other so-so ones that I can watch 100x and never tire of.

  3. Oh my gosh, I'm totally with you on Shawshank, The Dark Knight, and Just Friends. I also love 28 Days Later, but I just can't watch it that often or I start having zombie dreams. Which is weird since I watch The Walking Dead every week and sleep just fine.

  4. I could watch Just Friends over and over and over again. Another is Horrible Bosses, it's recent but I love it. I love watching the Kiera Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice as well.

  5. Drop Dead Gorgeous is AWESOME. "oh, you're cute!"

    Love Actually and Home for the Holidays. I watch them multiple times a year. 28 Days with Sandra Bullock. "My foreskin back. No one asked before they took it. They just took it."

  6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Paper Moon, Shawshank, Easy A and the first 5 Harry Potters. 16 Candles is a fave. A Christmas Story. I used to watch Midnight cowboy and Silent Running all the time when I was younger but I have to be in the mood now.