Must Watch

I’ve noticed that, as I’ve gotten older, there are movies that make me stop channel surfing – I have to watch the rest of the movie unless the credits are about to roll. I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours. Here they are, roughly in order of their power over me:

1) Hunt for Red October (1990)

2) Godfather series (1972 on)

3) Dr. Strangelove (1964)

4) Dawn of the Dead (1978)

5) Apocalypse Now (1979)

6) Full Metal Jacket (1987)

7) Empire Strikes Back (1980)

8) LeMans (1971)

9) Princess Bride (1987)

10) Clerks (1994)


Seven Samurai. Run Silent, Run Deep. McCabe and Mrs. Miller. Black Orpheus. The Harder They Come. Blazing Saddles. Guns of Navaronne. Singing’ In The Rain. Saving Pvt. Ryan. I would add “Once,” but I don’t think it’s on TV yet.

@Dodgerblue: Should have said that Apollo 13 and The Right Stuff are right up there. Never see Blazing Saddles or Young Frankenstein on the fancy channels, but I’d sure watch them as well.

I don’t watch that many movies but I could go with 3’s 1,3 and 10. I would also stop to watch The Great Escape.

High Noon
The Unforgiven
Office Space
Any Sean Connery James Bond except Never Say Never Again
Mr Roberts
The Naked Gun 33 1/3
John Carpenter’s The Thing

@DElurker: totally forgot Great Escape (as well as Bridge Over River Kwai) – neither seen to often on cable though.
@ManchuCandidate: Alien, Aliens, and speaking of Sigourney, Ghostbusters.

Roman Holiday
To Kill A Mockingbird
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
The Princess Bride
Coming To America
Groundhog Day
The Fugitive
Good Will Hunting
The Big Lebowski
The Royal Tenenbaums

@mellbell: Totally forgot Jaws – if it’s not past the point where they compare scars, I will watch it to the end.

Goodfellas, Casino, 2001, Animal House, Love Actually (with Mrs RML), Metropolis (original live action, not the anime), Nosferatu, Anaconda (aka JLo and the Giant Snake), plus any Megashark-type trash on Syfy.

Great movies I caught recently on TV: The Cain Mutiny (partial), Full Metal Jacket, Lonely Are the Brave (shot in a pre-urban sprawl Albuquerque), The Kid Stays in the Picture..

Movie I see a bunch on the sat sked that features my cousin as second male lead: Rooster Cogburn, in which he got to work with The Duke and Katherine Hepburn.

Pretty much any Audrey Hepburn film, for the clothes alone, but especially Sabrina, Roman Holiday, and Funny Face
Philadelphia Story
Bringing Up Baby
His Girl Friday
Sense & Sensibility (Emma Thompson version)
Blazing Saddles
The Devil Wears Prada

In no particular order:

The Big Lebowski [ broadcast version until Walter says “find a stranger in the Alps” for “fuck a stranger in the ass”.] Then I’ll load one of my many copies of the original and watch it till I crash. At the LebowskiFest in Queens on my 66th birthday when I won Best Costume as Walter, second place went to a guy dressed as “Stranger in the Alps”.

Anything else by the Coens until the first ad happens, when I’ll switch to DVD. Also Apollo 13 and Goodfellas on TV, yeah.

The Vikings for Frank Thring as Ayella, occasionally. He was the fat guy at the check-in window in Thunderdome many years later. I can watch Gladiator and Master & Commander with ads occasionally.

I own the entire Alien and Godfaddah series as well as Strangelove and Apocalyse Now so I like them with no ads.

Bad Santa, except it’ll never be broadcast.

How about some I’d cut my throat rather than watch? It’s A Wonderful Life, The Robe, Ben Hur, basically any of that bible crap from the 40’s and ’50’s.

BTW, after my 50-year-old fireman next-door neighbor had open heart surgery [quintuple bypass, four stents] six weeks ago, I loaned him my copy of the Alien DVD set. I thought he could relate.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I can’t explain exactly what reached me; I think it’s the sense of wonder and optimism. There’s also the idea of discovering that this insignificant planet isn’t the alpha and the omega of the universe.

The Enemy Below. I think the dramatic score has a lot to do with it.

Blade Runner. Poses a lot of questions. Answering them is up to you.

Dogma. George Carlin’s slimy cardinal would be right at home in the middle of the current mess over health care at Catholic institutions.

The Matrix. Only the first installment of the trilogy. What is real in a quantum universe and where is reality located? I loved the coats too.

My wife would add Raising Arizona to my list, but I’ve seen it enough times that I don’t stop clicking the remote for it any more.

I can get as far as 2001, Vertigo, and Manhattan, and then it’s all a blur.

Notorious; North by Northwest; Fanny and Alexander; Days of Heaven; Alexander’s Ragtime Band; 2001, A Space Odyssey; The Big Country; Mr Skeffington; The Lady Eve; A Place in the Sun; 8 Women; Great Expectations; Virgin Spring; This Happy Breed; Wrestlemania.

@RevZafod: Frank Thring?????!!!!! Awesome. (He drops the hanky that starts the chariot race in Ben Hur)

Remembering that this is not favorite movies but movies from which you won’t change the channel, interesting that nothing (or nearly nothing) is from the 40s. Or 30s.

@nojo: Blur includes (in no particular order) Stardust Memories, Casino, Strangelove, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Airplane, Lebowski, Fargo, Incredibles, Singing in the Rain, My Fair Lady, Chicago, Star Trek (recent), E.T., Close Encounters, Alien, Brazil, Chinatown, Hairspray (musical), Holy Grail, Pulp Fiction, and Slacker.

@blogenfreude: I don’t channel surf. It’s all appointment or nothing.

@blogenfreude: I would watch Citizen Kane anytime, but only start to finish.

@Benedick: Lew Wallace wrote the book when he was territorial governor of New Mexico.

@blogenfreude: I have two from the 20s on my list.

@Dave H: I’ll watch the “invade the building scene” in The Matrix anytime.

@mellbell: Oh, right. Citizen Kane, Moon, Blade Runner, Matrix, Inception, Contact, Eternal Sunshine…

@blogenfreude: I’d have to pretend I’m watching TCM while catsitting at the Ancestral Home, and that’s too much of a stretch.

@karen marie has her eyes tight shut: Slaughterhouse and Catch-22 are both movies I can’t watch because I like the books too much. And then there’s Sometimes a Great Notion, which I can’t watch because it desecrates the book.

MegaShark v. Giant Octopus is on right now, btw, but I’m switching to the Dan Patrick show at 11 MDT (w/guest host Bonnie Bernstein).

/ off to order reloading tool and fiber optic sights while Cabela’s has a 1 cent delivery sale going on

@redmanlaw: Can recommend my pal Ralph Garman in SharktoPus to fill that hole – and he’s a great impressionist – best David Bowie in the business.

Hey everyone! i just had to comment (as if anyone gives a crap) on this:
in addition to many of your choices up there – especially in the humor department, these pull me away from whatever i might have been doing:

Heaven Can Wait


Apollo 13


thanks, people.

@Mistress Cynica: Having just seen the staircase Ms Hepburn runs down in Funny Face with the Samothrace behind her I have to say that was one brave broad. Shallow marble steps. One slip and you’re done for.

@blogenfreude: Mine are mostly from the 30s and 40s.

@redmanlaw: Did not know that.

@tomfoolery: Hey! Apollo 13 is sweet.

Back when I watched TV (read: back when I owned one)

Kundun (never shown on TV, but, whatever)

North by Northwest

West Side Story



Any Charlie Brown or Dr. Seuss movie

Godfather II

The Grifters



Set it Off

The Outlaw Josey Wales


Crash (see what I did there?)

The Outsiders


Top Gun (shut it! I lived near there, okay?)

Enter the Dragon

ADD: And just about everything else you guys named except for BAD SANTA!

@nojo: I’d like to see what they could do with Mother Night.

@blogenfreude: What the hell cable package do all these other commenters have where they stumble across these awesome favorite all time movies on basic cable (read: no HBO, Showtime, etc.)?

So playing by your rules, there are only a few movies that are played all the time on our basic cable package that I will stop everything and watch even though I’ve seen them 50 times:

The Fugitive – favorite exchange:
Harrison Ford: “I didn’t kill my wife!”
Tommy Lee Jones: “I don’t care.”

Shawshank Redemption – my favorite movie of all time

Not on as much, but I will always watch it:
Air Force One – favorite line: “Get.Off.My.Plane.”

@SanFranLefty: I’ll just jettison the cable requirement.

Most of those above, plus “Eight Men Out” by Sayles and “Le Chien Andalou” by Buñuel. No pretension about the latter, it was the opening flick in “Art of Film” in college, and I was hooked.

Okay, also “Great Escape” and the old Hope/Crosby Road pictures. I loved them as a kid.

Add: today I was about 100 clicks from that bridge and the fictitious River Kwai.

@blogenfreude: 40% of my list is nearly nothing? NIce to know I rank. ;->

Everybody, especially Blogenfreude: Thanks for this Favorites Fest. It’s so much fun to read. I’m gonna write the tags down in a safe place so I can come back and comb through for goodies I’ve missed out on up till now. I also like it when people mention movies they can’t stand. I have a list of movies I won’t watch even once for one of two reasons: 1. I’m afraid I’ll find them too harrowing (The Piano and The Color Purple come to mind). 2. I’m afraid their lip service to sentimentalities and pieties will be sick-making. I will go to my grave never having watched, for instance, It’s a Wonderful Life.

Blogenfreude: The first three on your list are ones I watch even bits of whenever there’s an opportunity, and Apocalypse Now Redux has begun to pull me in whenever it’s being aired. The others on your list are ones I’ve never seen. I have nearly worn out my tapes of A Private Function, Withnail and I, and a great many Masterpiece Theatre offerings, especially Sleepers and Reckless. Comedies, please and plenty of them.
To quote from a Beyond the Fringe bit, “I go to the theater to be taken out of myself. I don’t want to see a lot of rape and incest and murder. I can get all that at home.”

Another movie I’ll watch anytime: Lemmy, a documentary on the Motorhead frontman and a fucking GOD of hard rock and metal.

@SanFranLefty: Wow, I guess I have seen a lot of movies because I have seen a lot of the ones you folks have mentioned. If this is restricted to non premium channels I suppose that nothing by John Waters would be listed like Lust in the Dust.

Has anyone mentioned 12 Angry Men or Rear Window?

@tomfoolery: Koyaanisqatsi

I don’t have the link handy, but somebody recently posted a speeded-up version. Which seems to miss the point. Plus, no Philip Glass score.

Don’t know if I could watch it again, but the scores to Koyaanisqatsi and (especially) Powaqqatsi are among my favorite CDs. Especially back before my Advents blew out.

At one time I had about 10 different Marx Brother moveies copied onto VHS. I would definitely stop for A Night at the Opera or Duck Soup.

@nojo: I once saw Koyaanisqatsi with Philip Glass and his Ensemble playing the score live. Got to talk to him afterward. Very cool, good humored and approachable. I asked him what kind of music he might have written had he lived in the 18th century. Intrigued, he said he never thought of that. Saw him eating a chili dog from a stand on the street before the show.

@redmanlaw: That’s a dangerous thing. You know chili dogs always bark at night.

@redmanlaw: I saw PG&E playing something at the Hult Center in Eugene. 1,000 Airplanes? Can’t remember.

At work, have to be quick – anyone list Defending Your Life or Crimes & Misdemenours?

@redmanlaw: Which reminds me, Mozart was a great fan of chill dogs.

Body Heat – or anything Kasdan wrote, directed, produced. One of the most riveting film noir examples and an homage to Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Endemnity, etc. Breaking a front window with porch furniture beats any metaphor on film for the release of sexual tension.

Also, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Planes, Trains and Automobiles during the holidays as opposed to It’s a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 54th Street.

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