Every week, the Criticwire Survey asks film and TV critics two questions. (The answer to the second, “What is the best film in theaters right now?” can be found at the end of this post.) Send suggestions for future questions to sam at indiewire dot com.
Q: What movie have you watched the
most, and why? How has your experience of it changed over time, and what
have you learned from watching it so frequently?
Adam Batty, Hope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second
I’m not certain, but I’m fairly sure that it is either “Breathless” or “Star Wars.” I see these films as the two founding pillars of my cinephilia; “Star Wars” represents the side of movies that sticks with you as a kid (and I’m not often blindsided by nostalgia), while “Breathless” stands for that mid-teen coming-of-age moment that I had in terms of a filmic awakening, and is the movie that truly led me down the rabbit hole. Neither are my favorite film, by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re almost certainly the ones I know best.
Jason Shawhan, The Nashville Scene, Interface 2037
If you go strictly by numbers, the original 1977 “Star Wars” is the winner, with just over a hundred viewings. But it had a very healthy head start (VCR early adopter Dad) over #2, “Alien” (somewhere in the high 70s number of views), which I didn’t see for the first time until I was twelve. But coming up out of nowhere for #3 is “Pootie Tang” in “Sine Yo Pitty on The Runny Kine,” which is at 51 viewings. I watch “Star Wars” maybe every four or five years now, but “Alien” and “Pootie Tang” are still at least annual (if not more) rituals. Now if we’re talking about in-theatre viewings only, it’s “Alien” at #1 with eight, “Prometheus” 3D at #2 with seven, and “Casablanca” and “Star Wars” just behind at five each.
Piers Marchant, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Popmatters
I’m going to cheat a little bit on this one as I know exactly the film I’ve seen the most (“Star Wars”) and the number of times I’ve seen it (roughly 15), but that’s not the answer I’m going with on this one. My reasoning: I saw “Star Wars” a dozen times the summer it first came out with my best friend. It played at my local cineplex literally all summer, and we went every Friday of summer break. Since then, however, I’ve maybe only watched a handful of other times (once with my daughter, which was a treat), and, frankly, as much as I adored it as a kid, and can appreciate it now, it doesn’t really have a lasting hold on me (not anywhere near as much as Empire, anyway, but that’s another story). My second runner-up in terms of viewings is undoubtedly “Jaws,” and that’s a film I’ve regularly watched over the (gulp!) 40 years since its release, and found new things to revel in with every screening. It doesn’t hurt that it’s one of the more watchable films in cinematic history: Anytime I catch a whiff of it on cable I find myself wanting to stick around long enough just to see this one scene, and that leads to the next, and the one after that, and wait, you have to catch the funniest line reading in the film (“A what?”), and isn’t this where Hooper pulls out the license plate? And then, suddenly, you’ve been transfixed again for two hours. In some ways, I think of it as the perfect Hollywood film, which is ironic as it seems to have set the dangerous course for Big Studios ever since, with increasingly disastrous results. Still, I can’t blame the shark for the sorry state of summer blockbusters, or studio’s ridiculous bottom lines. It did its job just about perfectly. My daughter and I have a long-ago agreed upon date on the first day of summer next year to finally sit down and watch it together, and I am almost giddy at the thought. She’s going to have her world rocked, and it’s going to be a hell of a bonding moment between us. Vive el Bruce!
Greg Cwik, Vulture, Indiewire
The movies I’ve seen the most ever are probably “Jaws,” “Terminator 2,” and “Batman Returns” because, as was apparently the case with every weirdo and moviegoing miscreant who participates in this pretty insular survey, I grew up watching movies not intended for someone my age, and was thus ostracized by the idiots in my class who watched shit like “The Lion King.” In high school I once watched “Jaws” every day for a month for reasons that have long since become lost like tears in rain. I think I know every sound effect of those three movies. Since college, I’ve probably seen “Rosemary’s Baby” the most because it’s the best, though I do often get lit and watch “Mulholland Drive” by myself and think deep thoughts.
Max O’Connell, Rapid City Journal
There are a few films that would be in contention — “On the Waterfront,” “Manhattan,” and my first movie love, the original “Godzilla” — but I imagine that the film I’ve seen the most is “Jaws,” which I’ve loved probably since I was 4 (my parents weren’t particularly permissive, but they seemed pretty open to me watching even the most violent of Spielberg’s blockbusters). As a kid, I enjoyed watching something that could be so packed with tension and danger (the shark eats a kid! and a dog!), something genuinely frightening, that still suggested things would be all right if people worked together. I’ve come to appreciate that more, especially the sharp way Spielberg and company show how Scheider and Dreyfuss are often ignored for being outsiders, or the willingness to make that understandable by making Dreyfuss’ (100% correct) character a condescending prick. I’ve learned to love Spielberg’s ability to blend New Hollywood touches (overlapping dialogue, riffs on Hitchcock and Hawks) with that perfect sense of pace he’d display in his blockbusters. But I think what I’ve taken away comes from a scene between Scheider and his son, where a brief game they play together serves as a brief respite from the guilt the former has over the death of a kid. It shows me that Spielberg’s sentimental touches are usually paired with something more difficult, be it childhood loneliness (“E.T.”), adult restlessness (“Close Encounters”), or graver concerns (war, genocide, terrorism). If Spielberg’s an optimist, he’s a hard-won optimist, and if he’s sentimental, it’s because that sentiment is sometimes all we have to hold on to in the face of loss.
Matt Singer, ScreenCrush
As a kid, it was “Ghostbusters” and “Spaceballs.” But in recent years, that’s probably been eclipsed by “The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!” Endlessly re-watchable, endlessly hilarious, endlessly quotable. What I’ve learned from it is very simple: Cops and women don’t mix. Like eating a spoonful of Drano. Sure, it’ll clean you out. But it’ll leave you hollow inside.
Michael Dunaway, Paste Magazine
As much as I love the towering masterpieces like “The Godfather” or “Casablanca,” surely the movie I’ve seen most has to be “The Princess Bride.” This was true even before I had kids. There are so many reasons I could list — the perfect casting, the sublime performances (Mandy Patinkin was already a favorite, but man did he take it to the next level here), the great fight sequences, the humor, the suspense. but really, most of all, I think it comes down to two things for me. First, the unabashed romanticism of the whole enterprise, leavened with just enough of an arched eyebrow that it’s not syrupy sweet. It’s like Goldman and Reiner are simultaneously pricking, and paying tribute to, our noblest impulses. And second, has there ever been a movie that was more fun? If I’m dying tomorrow, this is the movie I’m watching tonight.
Carrie Rickey, Truthdig, Yahoo! Movies
Two films. Buster Keaton’s “Sherlock, Jr.” and Harold Ramis’ “Groundhog Day.” The Keaton film I’ve taught multiple times and I watch it when I want cheering up. The Ramis is in heavy rotation on cable. Both are magic. When first I saw both they were just clever comedies. After more than 100 viewings of each they have become quasi-mystical experiences.They are so rich that I always find something new in them on successive viewings. Not coincidentally, both are about how timing and patience and laughter put one in the way of grace.
Alonso Duralde, TheWrap, What the Flick?!
Most likely it’s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” As a kid, I took it at face value; seeing it again in college was probably my first lesson in how a movie can change based on your age and life experience. My young-adult self was blown away by the dark humor and the wonderfully cruel streak running through the whole thing, and all the twisted elements that I had managed to miss as a child. It’s still a movie I watch with some regularity, partly for its wonderfully unhinged sensibilities and partly for the great Anthony Newley/Leslie Bricusse songs. (And, admittedly, for the candy.)
Justine Smith, Vague Visages
According to my parents, I watched “The Wizard of Oz” nearly every day as a child. From the time I was about 3 until I started school, it was part of my daily ritual to watch the film while my mother took a nap. Settled on the floor on a blanket, I’d lose myself in that world. I was still young enough that five minutes still felt like an eternity I really felt as though I was losing myself in that world for a lifetime — but like Dorothy, I was only there for the length of a dream. My understanding of time has really shaped my watching the film and as I grew older, sequences that felt painfully extended — Dorothy unsure if Toto would die, her being trapped in the Witch’s castle or her being lost in the woods only to be attacked by some surly trees – were short and brisk. The film channeled by child’s view of the world, and I grew older, the spell never quite wore off. It is still among the handful of films I try to watch once a year and it still holds up and has that power to bring me into that subjectivity of my child’s self. It’s one of those movies that reminds me of the magic of childhood and the importance of home, that simplicity can have an incredibly powerful hold.
Alissa Wilkinson, Christianity Today
As a kid, I watched “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” over and over again; it was one of the few approved movies in our house, and I liked Jimmy Stewart. I liked that it felt kind of like a Cinderella story, the nice unassuming guy who ends up in the halls of power and wins. “Either I’m dead right, or I’m crazy!” my friends and I were fond of saying to one another. Twenty years later, I think I see it a little more through the lens of Stewart’s speech about lost causes, and about them being the only causes worth fighting for, “and you know that you fight for the lost causes harder than for any other. Yes, you even die for them.” The ending of the film (with the corrupt Senator Paine cracking and yelling “I’m not fit for office! I’m not fit for any place of honor or trust! Expel me!”) seems vintage Hollywood now, but the lost cause bit rings as true as it ever did.
Glenn Kenny, New York Times, RogerEbert.com
I think I still watch “Alphaville” and “Psycho” at least once a year, so it’s a tie between those two I guess. “Psycho” holds up better — it’s very meticulous, cold, deep, shuddery. “Alphaville” is peppered with genius of course, but I see Godard trying to pretend to be a little sentimental at various points, and it doesn’t suit him and it’s a little irritating. Still. That cast, that car, that flickering light and cooling fan.
I don’t watch films for the didactic experience, and these days the things people purport to learn from films makes me a little sick, so, you know, the “what I’ve learned” question doesn’t really sit well with me. Certainly the two films do a lot of provocative things with cinema language and that’s certainly part of their lasting appeal.
Richard Brody, New Yorker
Ah, empiricism. The most number of times popping the tape into the VCR and watching a scene here or there? It would either be “The Gang’s All Here” or “Playtime,” within the span of a few years in the mid-nineties. The most number of times in its entirety? Certainly “Masculine Feminine,” maybe 30 times between the ages of 18 and 22, in theatrical or college-film-society screenings (the pre-home-video era — and I projected some of those screenings, so three times in a night was a breeze), but not nearly as often since then. When I first saw it, it was only ten years old — newer then than “The Royal Tenenbaums” is now — but when it came out, I was eight, and the gap between eight and eighteen is epochal; ancient history. “Masculine Feminine” is a glorious paradox: it’s a story of young people, made with a self-aware effort to distill ideas about a generation at large. It dramatized my own conflicts — the feelings of being in a generation but not of it, of being in thrall to ideas and ideals, tastes and passions that were unusual in my circles, the passion for this very film and Godard’s films overall being among them. A college-town Francophile, I looked to the movie as a sort of travelogue in space and time, and I inhabited Paris through it, the Paris of the film, where the very streets seemed to thrum with the energies of the New Wave in full swing. (Little did I know.) Even the death of my hero, at the end, was rendered romantic by the cinematic exquisiteness with which it was rendered. That hasn’t changed — the lesson in inimitable inventiveness, the lesson that a story and characters aren’t anything apart from form and style. On the other hand, there’s something adolescently incurious about the movie’s aesthetic sociology, and that’s something that, being myself adolescent and insufficiently curious, went right by me. The moment of time it exalts isn’t a cross-section of France or of Paris, it’s a projection of an inner world, complete with prejudices and presumptions (some that seem borrowed from the times, some that seemed to arise on their own), and it’s impossible to see even the ingenuities of form apart from them—or from specific experience (that’s what “inimitable” means). And one of the things that made this clear was Godard’s own work — the films, such as “Every Man for Himself” and “Passion,” which I saw when they came out and which opened up both a new mode of cinematic composition and a new world of people and experiences that suggested just how limited “Masculine Feminine” — and my own adolescence — had been.
Kyle Turner, Under the Radar
I think the two films I’ve watched the most over my relatively short life are Howard Hawks’ “Bringing Up Baby” and Jonathan Lynn’s “Clue,” the former primarily because it was the first film I remember seeing and loving. My regular rewatches have brought me warmth and joy as well as an understanding of the contexts the films were made under, what the films were commenting on (gender roles, Communism, Cantonese cuisine, tricks with olives), and I think the only way my experience has changed is that my adoration for the films grows deeper.
Anne-Katrin Titze, Eye For Film
Over the years, “Bringing Up Baby” directed by Howard Hawks is probably the movie I watched most. The physical and verbal choreography performed by Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant with “Dear George” and Baby are a pure pleasure. I have still not learned to catch an olive or how to impersonate a leopard but I am getting better at it. When you hear the tone, the time will be 7:37 and one quarter.
Noah Gittell, Washington City Paper
Without a doubt, the movie I have watched most is the Jamaican-bobsled-classic “Cool Runnings.” I’ll admit, however, that the tally is lopsided towards my childhood years. When I was eight years old, I went on a seven-day Caribbean cruise with my family, and I spent most of it in my cabin watching “Cool Runnings” on-demand. I even watched it in Spanish a few times, although I didn’t speak the language. It’s a pretty formulaic sports movie, but there is one scene I still think about. Just before the final race, John Candy, who plays the bobsled team’s trainer, is talking with the team captain, who has devoted his life to winning an Olympic medal. Of that pursuit, Candy’s character tells him, “If you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.” It’s an unusual sentiment to guide a sports movie – usually, winning is the ultimate goal – but that’s probably what makes it stand out. In a very silly film, it is a moment of deep wisdom and clarity, and it’s one that I recall whenever I need to be brought back down from my own lofty pursuits of achievement.
Mike McGranaghan, The Aisle Seat, One Perfect Shot
This is kind of embarrassing. The movie I’ve watched the most is “Career Opportunities,” the 1991 John Hughes-penned flop starring Frank Whaley and Jennifer Connelly. I’ve seen it 17 or 18 times. It’s not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve always kind of liked it. The story concerns a perpetual screw-up who takes the only job available to him: night clean-up boy at Target. Rather than doing his job, he spends most of his time goofing around. Later on, he foils some criminals and wins the love of his dream girl. I’ve watched this movie so many times for a couple of reasons. The first is that, when it initially came out on video, I didn’t have a large movie collection, so I ended up watching it over and over. The more important reason, though, is that I kind of identify with “Career Opportunities” in a weird way. When I was a teenager, I worked a very similar job, and like the main character, I was known to occasionally goof off in the store. Some of the things he does (running through the aisles, playing with the merchandise, trying to ride the floor buffer) are things that I did, too. My experience of this movie hasn’t really changed over the years. It just reminds me of a time in my life when I was cheerfully immature. I’m glad I am not that way anymore, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to reminisce.
Joanna Langfield, The Movie Minute
Almost feels like cheating, but yes, it’s “The Godfather.” Why? In part, it is due to my penchant for flipping channels on the TV where, inevitably, somebody was showing the thing. Bump into it and boom, there went the next three hours of my life, each and every time. Not complaining, mind you. “The Godfather” is a fascinating watch on so many levels. Sure, the story’s a grabber, but so, too, is the exquisite filmmaking. I always, even this many times later, discover something new or appreciate the richness of a moment that may have flown past me before. And, historically, it’s a treat to see a very commercial piece be treated by Coppola and company as a piece of big, beautiful and carefully made art.
Jeff Berg, Las Cruces Bulletin, ABQ Free Press
“Days of Heaven.” It truly opened my eyes to what movies could be and helped me to see that film was art as well as entertainment. Lots of new details have come to light over the years.
Josh Spiegel, Movie Mezzanine
In truth, there’s not just one movie that I’ve watched the most. As a kid, I would constantly watch movies over and over — it’s safe to assume that, among new movies, if I didn’t want to watch something twice in theaters, I didn’t like it that much. While there are a few movies I would watch on a loop, or so it seemed, as a kid (such as “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and the first “Star Wars”), two come to mind now: “Singin’ in the Rain” and “Toy Story.” I can’t remember the first time I saw the former film, but both of these are among my desert-island movies, such joyous and delightful experiences that cannot be replicated.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate the exuberant choreography on display in “Singin’ In the Rain,” as well as how Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen stage each dance sequence. Plus, I’ve grown to realize exactly how slyly funny the movie is. When I was young, I laughed at Donald O’Connor in “Make ‘Em Laugh.” Now, I laugh at him giving side-eye to Gene Kelly as the latter says “Dignity. Always dignity.” And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate that “Toy Story” has one of the most economical scripts in modern cinema, defining its characters and stakes with breathtaking speed and dexterity. (I sincerely think it should be taught in film school, as much as any of the older classics.) But more than anything else, these films are still just so much fun to watch, so fast and exciting and life-affirming.
Neil Young, Hollywood Reporter, Sight & Sound
Must be John Carpenter’s “The Fog,” partly because it runs just 89 minutes! Recorded off BBC onto a Betamax tape in the mid-80s and replayed once or twice a month (at least) over a period of years, plus additional views on DVD and TV (but still *never* in a cinema). Familiarity breeds content in this instance: each time I see this picture, it creeps higher in my estimation — is now ensconced in my all-time Top 10 — even though I know my enthusiasm isn’t shared even by hardcore Carpenterists. They just haven’t seen it enough!
Marc V. Ciafardini, Go See Talk, The Film Stage
“You know what ol’ Jack Burton always says at a time like this??…Who??…Jack Burton, ME!” “Big Trouble in Little China” sits atop a list of films I love dearly. John Carpenter’s comic-styled Western is immensely quotable, a joke that took many people years to pick up on (Jack is not the main character — he’s the sidekick) and with all the odd-ball humor and over-the-top acting, it was a film almost too crazy to work. But while the likes of “Rocky,” “Ben-Hur,” “Ace in the Hole” (all personal favorites) and other classics keep on giving and influencing young film fans and filmmakers, “Big Trouble” represents something else that film as a medium is meant to offer – a guilt-free good time. Moreover, a line from Brad Bird’s “Tomorrowland” may just sum up my point. When asked how the young inventor’s jet pack would, more or less, change the world, his response is simply, “Can’t it just be fun?”.
I’m no filmmaker, but watching Jack, Wang, and Egg Shen square off against David Lo Pan and the Three Storms, it reminds me to take a chance once in a while and to not play it safe all the time — not just from project to project, but in the middle of whatever you’re doing. In fact, in the current cinematic climate, it makes me realize how much fun is missing these days. It’s easy to get bogged down with sequels, reboots, and gritty comic book films, but thankfully we do get a “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “John Wick” every once in a while. In a way, they are throwbacks you can tie directly to the Carpenter era. The ’80s really embodied fun as it was a time when anything could and in fact did go. Results varied, sure, but it was a neo-Wild West of sci-fi insanity if you were up for anything.
The film (like “They Live”) stands up, in part, due to nostalgia, but it also reminds me when John Carpenter’s name used to mean something. It still does to me. After all, he really shook the pillars of heaven with that one, dontcha think? Next time someone cuts you off in traffic, the only acceptable response is, “Son of a bitch must pay.” You can thank John (and Kurt Russell) for that.. and plenty more.
Scott Mendelson, Forbes
There are a number of movies I found myself watching over and over again as a child, usually moving from one regular favorite to another. This somewhat stopped as I got a little older and really got into seeing every movie of note that I could as opposed to rewatching old favorites. Now it’s a matter of trying to see as much as possible from the current year, to the point where watching a film that isn’t from this year, unless it’s for a future post, counts as a treat.
But when I was in that “watch the same movie over and over again” phase, the one that comes to mind is Tim Burton’s “Batman,” which was my absolute favorite movie for most of my young life. It was the first mega blockbuster I was old enough to see in a theater and it made a heck of an impression, turning me into a box office junkie, a Tim Burton fan a comic book fan, and a collector of movie scores. I still love the film, appreciating how unconventional and baroque it was then and how explicitly adult it is today in terms of sex and violence for a PG-13 blockbusters.
But obviously the days of seeing the same movie over and over again either in theaters or on DVD/VHS is long gone, to the point where I see almost no films more than once at all unless circumstances bring about a second viewing. Oddly enough, my kids would prefer to watch the same television shows over and over again as opposed to certain movies, which I supposed is something of a cruel twist of fate.
Joey Magidson, The Awards Circuit
The movie I’ve probably watched the most is actually “Young Frankenstein.” Growing up, I was basically shown “Blazing Saddles,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” and “Young Frankenstein” almost on a loop, as they were family favorites. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve continued to revisit Mel Brooks as often as possible, though “Young Frankenstein” has turned into the one I come back to the most. Over the past 20 some odd years, it’s changed as a viewing experience for me in that it went from just a silly black and white movie to a wonderful homage to the classic James Whale film in addition to just being perhaps the funniest comedy of all time. Age and time has allowed me to appreciate it on a whole new level, which is the ideal.
Gary Kramer, Gay City News, Philadelphia Gay News
Watching films over (and over) again can yield considerable insights and pleasures. It gives moviegoers a chance to pay attention to details and unpack things that are not always evident the first time around. That is certainly true with “Vertigo,” which is one of my favorite multi-layered films that benefits from multiple viewings. But I also find that the opposite is true, and watching Sandra Bullock in “Miss Congeniality” repeatedly is my cinematic equivalent of comfort food; it makes my laugh, and feel warm and fuzzy all over.
But the film that I’ve seen probably more than any other is Joan Micklin Silver’s “Chilly Scenes of Winter,” which played endlessly on cable when I first started getting into movies. In fact, this film sparked my love for independent cinema, films directed by women, and the work of author Ann Beattie. It prompted me to seek the film out at any and every revival screening I could. (I once saw it three days in a row at the Janus Theatre in Boston). What I love about “Chilly Scenes,” and why I watch it so often, is that these were characters I connected with and they spoke dialogue I still quote. Seeing it now, I feel a nostalgia for it that few other films provide. It’s a small gem and every time I see it, I find something new–a subtle joke or detail I forgot or missed–and that makes me love it even more.
Charles Bramesco, Random Nerds, ScreenCrush
I’m pretty sure I was eighteen the first time I saw “Enter the Void,” selected from the library of available options on Netflix Instant due to its colorful, inviting box art. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and when I came out the other end I still wasn’t fully sure of what I had just seen. All I knew was that I needed to go back, and soon. (Worth noting: this was around the same time I first started recreationally experimenting with controlled substances. Hi, mom and dad!) I watched it again the next day, and then again later that week. I had to watch it with my girlfriend, then I had to watch it with each of my three roommates individually. I showed the rest of my friends, various women I’d date down the road — it would prove dependable as a litmus test for who I would and would not get along with on a longer timeline — and revisited it innumerable times solo. For a period of a few months, I’d watch at least part of the film every night before bed, letting Gaspar Noé’s fluid tumble into oblivion guide me into sleep of my own.
Seeing it now, which I still do frequently, it feels more like listening to a favorite record than watching a favorite movie. It’s a sensory experience, and the consumer rides the peaks and valleys of the work as a holistic sum in the same way that the many songs of an album should cohere to a larger whole. There is, quite literally, nothing like it.
John Keefer, 51 Deep
I’ve seen “Ghostbusters” roughly 377 times, just edging out “Pulp Fiction” and “Boogie Nights,” who both tied at 375. I don’t know if the movie has changed more significantly for me beyond the moment when I was 8 or 9 when I realized that I couldn’t actually become a Ghostbuster. Undaunted, I trudged on and continued to watch and re-watch a film that I could have recounted word for word from memory. I wish I could remember when I first saw the movie, was first turned on to the graduating class of “Saturday Night Live” and “National Lampoon” at the height of their prowess, fingers directly on the pulse of comedy/society in general. Maybe it was on TV, maybe VHS, maybe my parents or a relative sat me down in front of it thinking I might like it. Who knows? Who cares? Because frankly it has not helped me one iota, other than if I met someone who didn’t like the movie I would instantly know not to trust that person around children or money. I guess I loved it so because it had everything in it. There were scares, cool effects, funny/cool guys, an insane and to this day intriguing universe of Zuul and Tobin’s Spirit Guide and whatever other ephemera Dan Aykroyd picked up in his life-long obsession with the paranormal and supernatural, shoved into this most easily edible Hollywood confection. And here’s the thing, on paper this movie should not work. It’s a ridiculous high-wire act of tone, timing, the right performers, the right director, the right moment in time. If anyone wanted to make a case for predestination to me I’d tell him not to waste time handing me an NIV, a DVD of GB would do just fine. But what has it taught me and how has it changed? Nothing and it hasn’t. It’s been tattooed onto my brain/subconscious and if I could make a plea for the afterlife to be that you get to live in your most cherished fantasy landscape then I know exactly where I’m going when I die. I don’t watch movies like that anymore though. Maybe it’s getting older. Maybe it’s the sheer amount of viewing options available. But now it seems disgusting to me to gorge on something you love. Now I prefer to taste, to savor, to let things sink in gradually and observe the process. You know, Ozu movies. But if “Ghostbusters” were on TV right now I’d watch it, of course I’d watch it. The point of this isn’t that I learned to overcome my addictions. The point is that I know I’m an addict and I accept it. And so should you.
Edwin Arnaudin, Asheville Citizen-Times
“The Royal Tenenbaums,” which is appropriately the film I’ve most written about in these surveys. It’s my favorite film and one that’s compatible with any mood and time of the year. From the beginning, it’s always felt like a complete cinematic experience on emotional and sensory levels, but the more I watch it, the more I learn about technique. My most recent viewing was the first time I’d seen it in a theater and what stood out was how carefully Wes Anderson places foreground and background details within each frame. Like Margot Tenenbaum’s handmade play sets, each shot is its own precise diorama, captured with camera movements that add yet another layer of thoughtfulness to an already rich experience.
Please excuse me while I go watch it right now.
Q: What is the best movie in theaters?
A: “Crimson Peak”