Sunday, September 30, 2012

How Many Times

Do you like movies? Do you see your favorite movies more than once? How man y times have you seen your favorite movie?

My all-time favorite film is Casablanca. I lost count after seeing it 25 times. I own two copies of it, one on VHS and another on DVD. Funny how I haven’t watched in at least five years. Where is that DVD? I need to see this again.

I thought about this over the weekend as I watched Independence Day for the … hmmmm … 10th time? Maybe 15th? Movies that are regularly on TV don’t actually fit into my ‘how many times’ category because it is easy to see parts of them. I’ve probably seen Independence Day all the way through at least ten times, but parts of it at least another ten. Maybe more.

Lethal Weapon (all of them) are on my high count list if you include seeing them in parts. I’ve seen each of the series all the way through only once, but each in pieces several dozen times. Same with the Die Hard bunch and Terminator.

For movies of substance I prefer to watch them all the way through, from start to finish. Good movies have a beginning-to-end narrative and utilize various techniques to make various points along the way. I look for the story, the characterizations and the techniques. Lethal Weapon, Die Hard and Terminator are all very interesting but I would not call any of them movies of substance. They’re just fun to watch.

Casablanca is very rich, in my opinion. The story is compelling and the acting is good. The balance of intrigue, politics, danger, unpredictability, music, romance and humor is outstanding. Plot flaws can be excused when you consider is came out in 1942.

Independence Day is not necessarily deep but is has enough substance to satisfy my interest. It too has a good balance of politics, danger, unpredictability, romance and humor, plus science fiction.

Another favorite of mine is Cool Hand Luke. It came out in the mid 1960s, a turbulent time in our country, but was set many decades earlier. The movie style of the time included plots that did not resolve into neat happy endings. Although I like that movie very much I have only seen it all the way through two or three times.

Sharing a secret: I watch It’s A Wonderful Life every year. I’m probably up to twenty or more times on that one. I won’t share my reason for watching it every year.

I am way behind on my movie viewing. I probably haven’t seen ten new movies in the past ten years, a situation I intend to correct very soon. But I have seen many classics, including 65 of the AFI Top 100. Some of my most memorable on that list: The Godfather, Citizen Kane, The Wizard of Oz, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, several Hitchcock movies, several with Humphrey Bogart (including Casablanca, of course), Unforgiven (my favorite Clint Eastwood movie), Pulp Fiction, The Shawshank Redemption, Dances With Wolves and The Silence of the Lambs. Some on that list that I have yet to see include Schindler’s List, On the Waterfront and Amadeus.

So what about you? What are your favorite movies and how many times have you seen them?

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