There are certain videos in my possession that I can watch over and over. Maybe not every week, but I could easily whip them out every month or two and never, ever tire of watching them. So, which ones? Let’s go…
I think the predecessor to this sequel, Alien, is perhaps a technically superior movie. In terms of atmopshere, cultural impact, direction and acting, it is a better movie. But it doesn’t bear watching more than once every year or so. That movie is, essentially, a haunted house/monster in the basement kind of movie set in space. As such, without the thrill of mystery, and slow revelations of the creature, the mounting terror loses something on multiple viewings.
But the sequel, Aliens? Totally different story. One of the best action films ever made (Lethal Weapon, Die Hard and Terminator 2 are also among that pantheon; I would include many of the modern Chinese martial arts epics, but I consider them a whole other class of movie), Aliens is a roller coaster ride that keeps your interest without overwhelming you with unnecessary over-the-top action. There is emotional depth and characterization in the midst of the mayhem, and a wide array of diverse personalities, even among the colonial space marines, who could have easily been turned into a bunch of same-minded jarheads.
There’s even a motherhood/child angle that is played out both for the humans and the aliens, commentary on corporate ruthlessness, and how one can always find a way to be honorable and brave, no matter how long you’ve been a dipshit or a coward previously.
And Sigourney Weaver kicks total ass in this movie, without being some invincible person. She can be hurt, emotionally and physically, and you see that (This is also what makes Die Hard so watchable for me; for all the testosterone and manly trash-talk, Bruce Willis’ character get the shit knocked out of him and pays for every bit of progress he makes against the bad guys)
The Princess Bride
I love fantasy/swords-and-sorcery fiction and movies. Good ones, anyway. I love me a good comedy. But rarely, I think, do the two genres mix well. The Princess Bride is the exception to that “rule.”
It is one of the funniest movies ever, because the jokes rely more on presentation and the characterization the actors bring to their roles than they do on punchlines. It is a great swashbuckling fantasy with blades flashing and a little bit of magic and epic betrayals.
And behind it all, the premise that this story is being read to a sick child by his grandfather, and that in itself, as the child occasionally interrupts the story, brings such emotional wallops of the love and wisdom that a grandparent can bring that the grandfather’s final words to his grandson still move me to tears.
Hands down, in my opinion (and that of Mrs. Blue and Son of Blue) the most re-watchable movie of all time. This flick manages to have pop culture references that seem to bear the test of time, and such colorful, sometimes insane scenes and characters that it never fails to entertain.
I seriously think I could watch this once a week and probably never burn out on it, though I try to respect the film by not risking that I might turn it into mere background noise, and make it just an every-few-months thing.
For those who don’t know about this movie, I don’t know how to begin to describe it adequately. For those of you who’ve seen it and hated it, I don’t know what to tell you or how to explain how wrong you are.
This movie is a genius piece of non-linear storytelling. Of intersecting lives. Of violence for good reason and violence for the sake of violence. Of eloquent yet foul-mouthed hit men. Of honor among thieves. Of love. Of choosing the right path in life. Of losers who make good. Of the difference between a Whopper and a Royale with cheese. Of bad people who sometimes get what they deserve. Quentin Tarantino pulled out all the stops on this movie while still keeping an interally coherent tale (Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs was a strong and good movie for his first effort, and Jackie Brown was a good post-Pulp Fiction film that I really enjoy too, but Quentin will never top his sophomore effort.)
With dialogue that almost never, ever slacks; a killer soundtrack with such eclectic music and songs that it make my ears celebrate; and with top-notch acting and direction, this movie is a pure joy. Violent, yes. Bad language, oh yeah. Sex and drugs, you betcha. But one of the best…movies…EVER.