Metatalktail Hour: Comfort Movies April 15, 2021 7:54 PM   Subscribe

Happy early weekend, MetaFilter! This week, valkane wants to know: "What movie (or top 5) do you watch over and over? Everyone has favorite movies; but which ones are your comfort food? What 5 movies have you re-watched the most?"

As always, it's a conversation starter, not limiter; tell us about whatever's up with you!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 7:54 PM (194 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

A little movie called What We Do In The Shadows, though that’s more of an annual thing.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:59 PM on April 15 [15 favorites]

Lastly - it's a little new for this list but I think the next movie most likely to make my list (because it hits all of my buttons) The Martian
posted by mce at 8:14 PM on April 15 [6 favorites]

Little Women (1994)
Legally Blonde
Apollo 13
The Dish (small Australian film about the moon landing, it's wonderful)

I know Spotlight seems like a weird comfort movie, but I think it has a lot in common with Apollo 13 (and The Dish -- and Legally Blonde, for that matter), in that it's talented and dedicated people working really hard to do something difficult. Also I find the rhythms of a newsroom deeply comforting, and the fact the truth gets uncovered helps a lot when the world feels crappy.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 8:25 PM on April 15 [9 favorites]

The Dish! That’s a fun movie.

Liking Spotlight would seem to fall in a similar realm of loving grim, murderous things, which is a well-trod territory. I have at times put on The Fog because who doesn’t want to be in a combination lighthouse/radio station in an intimate, foggy little Northern California town?
posted by Going To Maine at 8:37 PM on April 15 [4 favorites]

The Thing Called Love, obviously.

It's about country music and young songwriters who dream of making it big, by Peter Bogdanovich, stars Samantha Mathis, Dermot Mulroney, Sandra Bullock and a super high River Phoenix in his last role. It's wonderful.
Recently showed it to my 13 year old, who, during the wedding scene, turned to me and said, "I get why you love this movie".
posted by signal at 8:40 PM on April 15 [2 favorites]

Also Scott Pilgrim, but isn't that everybody's favorite movie?
posted by signal at 8:42 PM on April 15 [5 favorites]

Apart from obvious stuff that we've all seen a billion times - Aliens, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, etc. - probably my most-watched would be Heat, The Thin Red Line and Remains of the Day. Any time I throw one of those on I know it's going to be a good* time.

*For various interpretations of "good".

Comfort series, though? Deadwood, The Wire, Peep Show and The Thick of It, hands down, no question.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:49 PM on April 15 [2 favorites]

Oh yeah, and, Eyebrows McGee's note about Spotlight (GREAT movie) reminded me that the old Michael Keaton and Glen Close vehicle The Paper, directed by the guy from Happy Days, is a guaranteed good time.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:55 PM on April 15 [3 favorites]

Movies (not comfort fare) I never turn off when I stumble upon them:
The Shawshank Redemption
Boogie Nights
Burn After Reading
Any Quinton Tarantino, Oliver Stone or Martin Scorsese movie

Comfort fare
Peggy Sue Got Married
Wizard of Oz
Groundhog Day

posted by carmicha at 9:01 PM on April 15 [2 favorites]

I'm not a big fan of watching things over and over, so before I had kids there weren't many movies I had watched even twice. One I did like enough to watch several times was Waking Life. Once I had kids, I watched a lot of Miyazaki films multiple times, because kids love watching the same thing over and over again and because I love those movies myself. They're great comfort food.
posted by Redstart at 9:06 PM on April 15 [2 favorites]

Jaws, The Long Goodbye, In a Lonely Place, Primer, Buckaroo Banzai. Or anything with Bruce Campbell.
posted by vrakatar at 9:20 PM on April 15 [2 favorites]

I wish mine were really deep or something but the movies I watch over and over are escapism. The top in no particular order:
  • Back to the Future. First movie I ever saw in theatres without a parent. Perfect simpler time nostalgic movie for me.
  • The Fifth Element. It's gorgeous, funny, and so far a timeless SF.
  • Smokey and the Bandit. Not as much any more as the isms, even if they are making fun of them, are getting too ugly but I still get sucked in if I catch it on TV.
  • The Princess Bride. So, so funny and Potinkin is a treasure.
posted by Mitheral at 9:27 PM on April 15 [5 favorites]

Galaxy Quest
Little Miss Sunshine
Spirited Away

I also love The Black Stallion, the whole section on the island which is almost without dialogue.
posted by Zumbador at 9:28 PM on April 15 [6 favorites]

O, GoodFellas. Of course! Anytime.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:37 PM on April 15 [4 favorites]

The Thomas Crowne Affair (the remake, with Rene Russo and Pierce Brosnan)
It’s a Wonderful Life
Moonstruck (yesss high five carmicha)
Silver Linings Playbook
Another Christmas movie that I’m ashamed to admit to watching every year

I’m not a big lawn person and it shows in the neglected, patchy, weedy, bumpy, yellowish lawn I have. But this year is the year! Partner (who has his own house down the street) and I are doing our yards up right. Today we aerated, tomorrow we kill all the weeds with a weed burner (or at least demoralize them), then fill the craters with topsoil, then Saturday we spread composted horse manure and grass seed. I feel super weird that I’m so excited about this.
posted by HotToddy at 9:41 PM on April 15 [4 favorites]

"Liking Spotlight would seem to fall in a similar realm of loving grim, murderous things"

No, I don't like grim, murderous things at all! I love Spotlight, and find it comforting, because I find it so fundamentally hopeful. I ... was going to say a whole lot about all of the underlying events, but I'll just leave it at, it helped me contextualize and come to terms with some real bad shit, and left me with hope.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 10:01 PM on April 15 [3 favorites]

Pride and Prejudice (the BBC Miniseries, the one with Colin Firth)
The Princess Bride
Corrina, Corrina
An Affair to Remember with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr (but not the original, Love Affair, with Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne, nor the remake with Beatty and Bening)
Love, Actually (yeah, yeah, I know what MeFites think of it, but I have *reasons*)
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 10:02 PM on April 15 [6 favorites]

My comfort movies:

Silver Bullet
BBC Pride and Prejudice
The VVitch (that third act gets me every time! you go FLY! FLY WITH THOSE WITCHES!)
The Fellowship of the Ring
posted by Dressed to Kill at 11:15 PM on April 15 [5 favorites]

All the good Sinbad movies.
Thing from another World
Smiley's People.
Willy Wonka

for a series, Heartland and SG-Universe.
posted by clavdivs at 11:30 PM on April 15 [1 favorite]

Harold and Maude

Animal House
Trading Places
Slap Shot
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Any Clint western really)
It's a Wonderful Life

Love Story

'70s disaster movies like Earthquake, Poseidon Adventure etc.

Most any Jimmy Stewart Movie, but especially Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

African Queen
posted by AugustWest at 11:32 PM on April 15 [4 favorites]

As for comfort TV, besides Law & Order (natch), I have a deep fascination with Perry Mason. I have seen every episode multiple times as well as all the made for TV movies they made. I could watch I Love Lucy any episode any time, the Hooneymooners too. Hogan's Heroes is also a favorite.
posted by AugustWest at 11:36 PM on April 15 [4 favorites]

For a comfort SERIES?????

You cannot go wrong with the nostalgia of the Original Unsolved Mysteries - which was the ONLY reason why I got Amazon Prime.

In a pinch I'll settle for one of the million episodes of Forensic Files I've seen a hundred times.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 11:38 PM on April 15 [3 favorites]

Fight Club
True Romance
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Mommie Dearest
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

Pushing the limits, #6:
The Towering Inferno
posted by bendy at 11:49 PM on April 15 [3 favorites]

Kelly's Heroes
Time Bandits
Dogs In Space
posted by pompomtom at 11:57 PM on April 15 [8 favorites]

O, GoodFellas. Of course! Anytime.

I too will watch GoodFellas at any time - and also FROM any point. If it's on TV, Imma watch it.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 12:08 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]

I watched Memento again today. I learn something new about that movie every time I see it.

Others in no particular order:
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters
Saw III (only III)
Walk the Line
The Unbelievable Truth
Minority Report
Johnny Mnemonic
A Day Without a Mexican
The Professional
No Country for Old Men
posted by bendy at 12:10 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]

Saw III (only III)

Please explain
posted by Dressed to Kill at 12:15 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]

Skyfall turns up on the TV a lot in the UK, and if I stumble across it I always watch it. At this point, I've seen enough to know that I have no idea why, it's just gratifying.

Similarly either Kill Bill, but particularly part one.

There used to be a lot of films I watched over and over, when I really needed it, and eventually it came down to find the rhythms of the things comforting - A Matter of Life and Death, What's Up, Doc?, The Draughtsman's Contract, Brazil, Shock Treatment, The Music Man, Local Hero, Tomorrow I'll Wake Up and Scald Myself With Tea... many others. Most 1950s British comedies, and a lot of Marx Brothers and Laurel and Hardy. I had a bad mid-eighties.

Recently I've been going back to Legion (TV series, not movie) and Lodge 49. One of which I think I might want to live in, but not the other. See if you can guess. (Clue: there would be no mutants in my fantasy existence).

Oh, and obviously (why would it be obvious?) Paddington and Paddington II, Wes Anderson films in general and Grand Budapest Hotel in particular.

And always, always, Fury Road, which seems to be my favourite movie of all time (my favourite anything is something I recognise rather than decide).
posted by Grangousier at 12:42 AM on April 16 [5 favorites]

Mine are all animated! Big Hero 6, Inside Out, Monsters Inc, and WALL-E.
posted by ellieBOA at 12:45 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]

There really isn't any movie that I like to watch over and over.
Am I weird?
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:03 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]

There was a particularly bad period of my life during which it was nearly impossible for me to fall asleep without the accompaniment of either:
Hot Fuzz, or
Fantastic Mr Fox

I don't feel the need to watch them on a daily basis anymore, but they're still the ones I'll reach for when I'm looking for comfort entertainment.
Too early to tell, but Hunt For the Wilderpeople seems like it might be edging its way on to this section of the list.

The relentless pace, ruthless simplicity and highly stylized action of Fury Road -- and, increasingly, the first John Wick -- is surprisingly suited to curling up in some blankets and letting oneself get carried away by the competency porn.
Unexpectedly, Tenet is edging into this category as well: it has the same relentless pace and stylized action, but the convoluted plotline seems to hit a sweet spot which engages the analytical parts of my brain and lets everything else get swept along for the ride.

In the past few years most of my comfort television go-tos have been completely eclipsed by Taskmaster. A group of funny people let loose to complete ridiculous tasks in a no-stakes environment is immensely satisfying. QI still makes occasional appearances as well; I think the Venn diagramme overlap of funny people enjoying each other's company and having some good banter is particularly welcome when social interaction is severely constrained.
posted by myotahapea at 1:34 AM on April 16 [8 favorites]

There really isn't any movie that I like to watch over and over.
Am I weird?

I don't know if you're weird, but you won't know what it's like to feel those familiar neurons scratched upon the 500th viewing of your fave movie. It's like.... gosh what's it like? It's the sensation of slipping your feet into some well-worn Doc Martins and feeling your toes find the grooves.... only .... it happens in your brain when you hear the familiar music of your fave comfort film.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 1:37 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]

In college, Trainspotting was almost always on in our room if two or more of us were home. I've probably seen it over a hundred times. Heat, True Romance, The Big Lebowski, and of course anything that was reliably on basic cable in the nineties. Here in Japan, I'm at the mercy of the few movie channels we've got, and they show way too many old westerns (all morning long), and altogether too many latter day Steven Segal movies (like, one a month would be too many, but there he is, god awful toupee, barely moving while stuntmen fling themselves around him to make it look like his not utterly immobile, but no, at least one or two a day, per channel)

I'm also crap at choosing to watch a movie. I have a pretty solid library, both physical and digital, and have a streaming service, but I almost never sit down to watch anything. When I do make that choice to watch something, it's probably going to be one of these:

Miller's Crossing
Rogue One
Captain America, the Winter Soldier

or, for a series,
The Wire

I like Peaky Blinders a bunch, but it's not a rewatch for me. Game of Thrones ended so badly I have no desire to watch or read any of it again. Same for my guilty pleasure of Sons of Anarchy (or, as I like to think of it, Poor Decision Masterpiece Theater), which was cheesy all the way through, but then just went off the rails, and killed the enjoyment of the earlier seasons.

When it's on, though, there's something about The Deadliest Catch and Gold Rush that I can't stop watching.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:26 AM on April 16 [5 favorites]

Give me Boat Movies.

I have a theory about Boat Movies, which, when I find them, are what work for me, and are intrinsically satisfying. A Boat Movie involves:

1. A spatially confining object, inside which the plot unfolds,
2. Specific and severe characteristics to the 'Boat' which drive the plot, and
3. Characters who interrelate in the context of the Boat-object.

Titanic is a Boat Movie, as is Das Boot, obviously. But so is Alien, though it's on a spaceship. Boat Movie-ness is characteristic to the horror genre but not all horror movies (e.g. Blair Witch Project) drive the plot through confinement. All Star Trek franchise films and shows are Boat or Boat-ish. None of the Star Wars films restrict themselves to one object, so do not count. Die Hard is a Boat Movie, but Die Hard II and III are not. Murder on the Orient Express: Boat. The Thing: Boat. Apollo 13: Boat. Master and Commander is the Boatest of Boat Movies, but then so is, in its own way, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Groundhog Day, I would argue, fits the Boat Movie criteria.

It's to be distinguished from a Road Movie in which the travel is the acting force not the containing object. Thelma and Louise is not a Boat Movie, even though the car is iconic. Apocalypse Now, despite mainly taking place in a boat, is a Road not a Boat movie. Top Gun, despite so many aircraft carriers, is a Sports not a Boat Movie.

When I need the comfort of a familiar enjoyment-pattern, I need a Boat Movie. Tom Hanks has the conn. All ahead two-thirds. Pan away from the captain and zoom out on the ocean horizon.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 3:08 AM on April 16 [21 favorites]

There are none for me: trying to watch movies makes me uncomfortable. This wasn't always so - in my teens, twenties and thirties I'd happily go to the cinema or sit down in front of a DVD, but I gradually found it increasingly difficult to do so. I don't know why - maybe that's something I could take to AskMe (or a mental health professional), but bad movies bore me; loud movies irritate me; and dramatic movies with any hint of catharsis make me anxious (even while the same subject-matter in book form presents no such difficulties). I even struggle to watch lightweight, low-stakes comedies. And watching something I've already seen holds no appeal at all.

The first movie mentioned above (What We Do in the Shadows) was the last one I tried to watch. I'd seen a number of clips from it (and from the spin-off TV show) on YouTube and had been much amused. But sitting through the whole film felt like an ordeal, and I kept pausing it and wandering off to do non-essential chores I'd otherwise have gladly postponed.
posted by misteraitch at 3:27 AM on April 16 [6 favorites]

I've seen Kill Bill somewhere in the neighborhood of a thousand times, and The Wizard of Oz maybe two hundred times. I'll always watch Whatever Happened to Baby Jane and Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte just to savor how deep they would dive to keep working. I personally think Mommie Dearest is probably the best worst movie ever made, next to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

I'm rediscovering some 80s movies, and have come to realize that I will watch anything with Kathleen Turner in it because it will be well cast, have a tight script, beautiful production values, and end up like a pretzel. Body Heat is probably the best example, although all of the Romancing the Stone movies still read well.

So, noir, probably.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 3:31 AM on April 16 [6 favorites]

There was a particularly bad period of my life during which it was nearly impossible for me to fall asleep without the accompaniment of

Currently I can't fall asleep without the Adult Swim marathon/loop of Aqua Teen Hunger Force playing. It's stupid and offensive but it's familiar enough that it distracts my brain enough so I can sleep.

Saw III (only III)
Please explain

I'm not quite sure. I can't remember why I saw Saw III in the first place. I saw Hostel, The Human Centipede and The Midnight Meat Train around the same time and was completely over gore-horror for awhile and haven't yet gone any further.

That said, Saw III is amazing and I can't imagine that the other movies will be as good.
posted by bendy at 3:43 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]

I'm not much of a rewatcher/comfort-watcher either (my compulsive media comfort activity of choice is World of Warcraft rather than watching a movie, and I generally prefer interactive media activities like playing a game over passive consumption style activities like watching a show or a movie, though the pandemic has shifted that somewhat), but we rewatch the Lord of the Rings extended editions & the full making-of documentaries every couple of years and those bring me a lot of joy. Strictly one movie per day over a few days, then the long tail of documentaries; I cannot stay awake long enough to marathon them all in one day.

I enjoy the movies because they get me thinking about the books/universe/memes, and I enjoy the documentaries because it's just so clear that everyone had a killer time working on them (except perhaps near the release date for Return of the King where everything's getting super crunchy time-wise), and knowing the cast & crew were all having a blast making those movies further increases the enjoyment I get out of watching them.
posted by terretu at 4:13 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]

Titanic is a Boat Movie, as is Das Boot, obviously.

Surely the submarine movie deserves its own category, well, at least a subcategory.
posted by gusottertrout at 5:18 AM on April 16 [22 favorites]

Clerks is the movie I've seen the most often, mostly because it reminds me of seeing it for the first time in high school. I think of those friends I saw it with and which lines each of them would quote.

Mad Max: Fury Road would be my current favorite - it holds up every time and I seem to pick up something new with each re-watch.

Planes, Train, and Automobiles is the movie that gives me the most comfort - I remember watching it with my parents (when I was like 12) and seeing my mom and dad absolutely lose it watching the car rental scene is such a fond memory.
posted by Twicketface at 5:19 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]

Big Trouble In Little China, which I've probably mentioned more times on the Metafilter sites than I care to think about.

Holiday, with Cary Grant and Kathryn Hepburn
His Girl Friday, also with Cary Grant and this time Rosalind Russell
Really, anything where Cary Grant dresses well and is funny.

Body Heat. It's damn hot. That is all.

Desert Hearts -- I'm not sure why I like this movie so much. I mean, the love story is good, and there's lots of other wistful romance that I enjoy, but I suspect what I really like is the feel of it, the wonderful western setting, the 1950s look, I totally want to go live on a ranch after seeing this movie.

Passion Fish -- again, I love the story, I love staring at David Strathairn, but really, it's the setting, can I go live in Louisiana please?

Which leads me to my current comfort viewing -- all, all, all of Anthony Bourdain's travel/food shows.
posted by JanetLand at 5:57 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]

Fluff comfort movies:
Pitch Perfect and Bring It On, which are exactly the same movie, just one has singing and the other cheerleading
Bend It Like Beckham
The Holiday
When Harry Met Sally

Less fluff comfort movies:
Dead Poets Society
Good Will Hunting

Comfort TV: Schitt's Creek
Covid comfort TV AKA more pain than I could possibly be experiencing so it makes me feel better and I have done it three times already: The Leftovers
posted by wellred at 5:59 AM on April 16 [6 favorites]

At first I thought five movies... I don't think I have 5. But then I thought about it some more, and I think I have some.

Pride and Prejudice- yes the 5 hour Colin Firth one. It was my Grandpa's comfort movie as well. We've watched it so many times in my family we quote various bits at each other as appropriate- when I finally got to see my sister and her new baby this past year I squawked "is that my nephew??" Lady Catherine is so quotable. My go to "at home sick all day" movie.

The Sound of Music is another- I was 18, living on a different continent to my family and Julie Andrews was the comforting presence I needed. I could probably close my eyes and replay most of the film from memory. I haven't watched it in a while though!

Persuasion - another Jane Austen, the Amanda Root version, I think also 1995. I identify so much with Anne. Love the music, even if it is slightly anachronistic.

Singing in the Rain isn't my comfort movie but my sister's, and so I have seen it multiple times. It's fun.

To round out my fifth comfort movie, it's a tough one! Do I go with my childhood repeat watches? Chitti Chitti Bang Bang - watched that a lot. Or Robin Hood - the Disney one with the fox. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers- so problematic but I loved it!

Victor Victoria I think. Julie Andrews again.
posted by freethefeet at 6:30 AM on April 16 [5 favorites]

Oh! And who could forget the Princess Bride.
posted by freethefeet at 6:31 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]

Galaxy Quest
Ocean's 11
Ocean's 12
The Princess Bride
And any time I'm flipping channels and a National Treasure movie is on, I'll watch it. So stupid, so fun.
posted by cooker girl at 7:06 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]

When I thought this up, I had to write them down on a note card (because I write on note cards) and this is what I ended up with (in no particular order):

Kelly's Heroes
Rio Bravo
The Odd Couple

with honorable mentions:
Key Largo
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid
Father Goose
New Rose Hotel
Get Carter
Murder By Death

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
posted by valkane at 7:13 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]

Also, just a note (on a card) I think background comfort movie watching has a lot to do with soundtracks, which is why movies like Pat Garrett, Get Carter, (and even) New Rose Hotel end up on my rotation.
posted by valkane at 7:16 AM on April 16

Singin' in The Rain
An American in Paris
Fiddler on the Roof
The Blues Brothers
Fail-Safe (preferably in conjunction with Dr. Strangelove)
The Princess Bride
posted by briank at 7:23 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]

Titanic is a Boat Movie, as is Das Boot, obviously.

Surely the submarine movie deserves its own category, well, at least a subcategory.

posted by gusottertrout at 8:18 AM on April 16 [3 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]

I don't give favorites very often, but you, friend, deserve a favorite.
posted by Liesl at 7:25 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]

Moonstruck, always and for sure.
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Victor Victoria (YES freethefeet!)
My Favorite Year
My Neighbor Totoro

Separate category, and it's been years for either, but I have seen both Road House and Dirty Dancing um, more than 20 times? I don't know! Same with the the original Star Wars, which I once watched on a cable channel 4 times in one day. I think it was a sick day, but I also wasted so, so much time watching tv for a span of years some decades ago. I would not call these favorites, but I would probably call them comfort.
posted by Glinn at 7:26 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]

(I feel like Princess Bride and Groundhog Day go without saying. Which is probably silly given the variety of people that is Metafilter.)
posted by Glinn at 7:31 AM on April 16

Star Wars came out when I was like 11? Anyway, it was in theaters for like a solid year, and it was like a thing for kids to re-watch it. It made it to the dollar-theater in my neighborhood, and I saw it like 35 times. I'm kinda proud of that. I don't know why. But it feels like it makes my nerdery bonafide.
posted by valkane at 7:32 AM on April 16 [6 favorites]

My favorite comfort movie of all time is Hairspray (the original John Waters film not the tragic remake)

They Live is so so good and better every time I watch it again

Three Men and a Baby came out when I was a small child and it makes me as happy now as it did then. So very of it's time.

Housesitter is so much better than you'd think it would be. Goldie Hawn is perfectly cast and the story is perfectly silly.

Honorable mentions: Willow, Jumpin' Jack Flash, The War of the Roses, Drop Dead Gorgeous, The Neverending Story (although I can't recommend the sequel)
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 7:32 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]

I once was having a grumpy day, and decided to treat myself by inviting a friend to join me in seeing O Brother, Where Art Thou? in a theater after work; it was a rewatch for us both. Within an hour, simply knowing that I was going to be seeing it later that day was enough to cheer me up.

I had a similar experience after an even more hideous day at work - it was bad enough that I was half-expecting to go back in the next day and be told that I was being fired. That night I was meeting a friend for a birthday movie outing - he had chosen Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume II. I hadn't seen the first one, and knew nothing about the comic series - my friend just told me "It's like The A Team in space" and left it at that. And it was exactly what I needed - big dopey fun with some heart, and it cheered me right up. (And when I got to work the next day my boss actually apologized and told me I was in the right all along, yay.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:33 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]

The Sound of Music
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

I just watched Twister a few nights ago. It's got a good soundtrack and a goofy premise. The good Storm Chasers vs. the bad Storm Chasers! Everybody vs. the tornado! The perfectly reasonable new girlfriend vs. the ex-wife who is a bit insane (but we're supposed to cheer for anyway)! Special effects that (generally) hold up! Dubious science! It's all good.
posted by Gray Duck at 7:44 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]

No top five from me, but back when I was flatting my flatmate would watch my The Big Lebowski DVD basically on loop. I saw The Big Lebowski in theaters when it came out and liked it well enough. But somehow it gets even better when watched twice in one evening - I can't think of another film I have seen so many times or one that I would like to see again.
posted by AndrewStephens at 7:51 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]

Oh man, now I gotta go re-watch Twister! You forgot the flying cow! And what (a failing) memory told me was Jack Black, is actually Philip Seymour Hoffman!
posted by valkane at 7:52 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]

I will watch Before Sunrise and Before Sunset any day. (I also think Before Midnight is brilliant, but I find it really hard to watch. It's distressing to watch Jesse and Celine arguing.)

Diggstown is, I know, not a great movie and is in some ways problematic, but wow, is the ending satisfying. It's the best con man/boxing/revenge combo movie I know.

The Muppet Movie. Watched it every day for a year or two as a kid, and I would still watch it.

The Philadelphia Story. Hepburn, Grant, and Stewart all at their witty best. Never gets old.

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. People who haven't watched movies from the end of the silent era don't realize just how good they were. I think it took the industry a full decade to really recover from having to deal with microphones. Sunrise is delightful weird joy.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 8:20 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]

Listed chronologically:
  • Fahrenheit 451 (the original, directed by François Trouffaut)
  • Cool Hand Luke
  • Badlands
  • Blade Runner
  • Repo Man
posted by Rash at 8:38 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]

posted by bendy at 8:48 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]

Fury Road
13 conversations about just one thing
A Zed and Two Noughts
Blade Runner
Fanny and Alexander

What I really enjoy is watching other people watch these movies.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 9:04 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]

I'm another one who doesn't set out to re-watch movies often, and in general am a really bad movie-watcher as I'm one of those annoying people who falls asleep, but the movies I will agree to watch any time the opportunity arises are:
* Dirty Dancing
* Top Gun
* Clerks I & II
posted by cgg at 9:05 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]

Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion
Emperor's New Groove
Princess Bride
Spirited Away
posted by wicked_sassy at 9:12 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]

he had chosen Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume II

When I saw that movie at the pictures, I had seen the first one, so I watched it as a sequel, and scored it in points out of ten compared to the first one, but when it turned up on TV (low pressure, almost sideways viewing, often means I come to the movie with no expectations, even if I've seen it before), I thought it was wonderful.

Thinking more about this, to me it's not so much about the quality or content of the film, but that it represents a place I feel the urge to return to and visit for a while. I noticed it this afternoon, because I strongly felt that urge about the last season of Fargo, which I think I could watch over and over. I don't think I could watch any of the other seasons again, even.
posted by Grangousier at 9:16 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]

There really isn't any movie that I like to watch over and over.
Am I weird?

I basically don't re-watch movies or re-read books. And then as I was thinking this (when I saw the MeTa thread come through) I realize I have a very short list of exceptions...

Princess Bride (treat yourself if you haven't seen the Quibi version)
This is Spinal Tap
Airplane! (in problematic fave territory at this point)
My Neighbor Totoro
Repo Man (that soundtrack!)
Galaxy Quest (see the "making of" documentary)

And that may be totally it. I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark when I was a kid because we had a VCR and that ONE movie for the longest time but it's too problematic for me now. Same with Grease which may be the movie I'd seen in the theater the most (cue my mom "The fifties were NOT like that....")
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:21 AM on April 16 [6 favorites]

The Triplets of Belleville
posted by Mr. Yuck at 9:22 AM on April 16 [5 favorites]

Lots of things that people have already mentioned, but just to add my votes:

* Local Hero (just recently posted to fanfare!),
* Midnight Run
* Galaxy Quest
* pretty much anything by Miyazaki
* Princess Bride
* Moonrise Kingdom
* Grand Budapest Hotel
* Muppet Movie
* Groundhog Day
* Casablanca
* Charade
posted by Ipsifendus at 9:23 AM on April 16 [5 favorites]

Big Night
Local Hero
The Royal Tennenbaums
The Philadelphia Story

They're not exactly "light" per se, but:

The Talented Mr Ripley
Running On Empty
The Player

And I'm aware that there are a bajillion reasons that I shouldn't like it, and it's chintzy as hell, but I still have a soft spot for "Shakespeare in Love."

Oh, and "The Thomas Crown Affair" (and weirdly, despite my long-time love of Steve McQueen, the Pierce Brosnan/Renee Russo version)
posted by thivaia at 9:43 AM on April 16 [6 favorites]

I'm handing out favorites like they're candy in this thread!
posted by valkane at 9:46 AM on April 16 [6 favorites]

Mine is The Hudsucker Proxy. It's goofy as hell but pretty optimistic overall and easily as quotable as Lebowski. My sister and I imprinted on it in early high school and it's our own private set of inside jokes (since none of our peers had seen it then or now, it seems). I find it comforting because it reminds me of us hanging out together right at the point that we started becoming more friends than rivals instead of vice versa.
posted by Knicke at 10:00 AM on April 16 [5 favorites]

Follow that Bird
Guys and Dolls
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Josie and the Pussycats

Honorable mention to Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, which is my most comfort watched movie of the pandemic, but too recent to make the all time list yet.
posted by the primroses were over at 10:14 AM on April 16 [5 favorites]

Jurassic Park (actually, pretty much any of the Jurassic Park or Jurassic World movies, including Jurassic Park III, which pretty much no one else likes)
Wet Hot American Summer
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Ghostbusters (2016)
posted by SeedStitch at 10:23 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]

My go-to movies:
Dazed and Confused
Steel Magnolias
The Devil Wears Prada
Jesus Christ Superstar
Love, Actually (I know, I know)

Anything with Anthony Bourdain (I've probably said this before, but each one of his episodes of No Reservations and Parts Unknown are like love letters to the places he visits)
Mad Men (the clothes, the clothes!!)
From the Earth to the Moon (I can't find it anywhere these days)
Wolf Hall (so rich. And Mark Rylance!)

In other news: Just got home from vaccination #1.
posted by sundrop at 10:24 AM on April 16 [8 favorites]

At the top of my list is The Secret of Roan Innish, a lovely John Sayles film, suitable for all ages.
The Princess Bride
The Matchmaker, because of where it was filmed (Roundstone, Ireland).
Elf, although only at Christmas.
Shakespeare in Love, in part because of the music.
posted by dbmcd at 10:33 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]

The 5th Element
A Room with a View
The Princess Bride
The Way of the Gun (I'm weird)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
posted by supermedusa at 10:34 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]

I can't believe I forgot this one: Jackie Brown
posted by sundrop at 10:34 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]

What I really enjoy is watching other people watch these movies.
I was in the thread early but reading this (and other comments) I had an epiphany. There are movies I will rewatch for myself but there's also another category of movies I love but don't necessarily go out of my way to rewatch. Unless, of course, I have the opportunity to show them to someone new.
  • So much references this is style, or tone it's hard not to recognize movies that came after in: 12 Angry Men
  • The first movie I ever saw in a theatre. Yeah, well, yes. Anyway war is hell: Empire of the Sun
  • Mentioned upthread & I love it. A masterful piece of storytelling: Gattaca
  • Rabbit Proof Fence
  • I keep getting surprised when friends didn't watch it because it was animated or whatever. Movies aren't comic books but they can reinforce each other and this was so very excellent in it's production: Into the Spiderverse
posted by mce at 10:34 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]

Yeah, showing people films kinda encroaches on that whole Tarantino "hang-out" film thingy. Which is nice. I mean, I just have to say, I think all of Metafilter can agree on we like movies. But, (ahem) the hang-out film is one thing, being the person jumping up and down like you gotta pee because you want this new friend to experience this piece of art is a whole 'nother ballgame.

I'm sorry to resort to sports metaphors. I'm old.

Metafilter: Movies? Thumbs up!
posted by valkane at 10:45 AM on April 16

Ooh, thivaia, Running on that
posted by wellred at 10:46 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]

Gosford Park. My ultimate comfort film.
The Big Sleep
To Catch a Thief
Persuasion - the Amanda Root | Ciarán Hinds version and the best Austen movie ever made.
Bull Durham
America's Sweethearts. Which somehow manages to be funnier every time I watch it.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 11:02 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]

I've watched The Last Emperor easily a hundred times. I can't think of another movie that does such a good job of creating a whole world. I feel similarly about Monsoon Wedding.

For real comfort, chill-out time, it's got to be a surfing movie. I'm especially fond of Blue Crush and Beautiful Wave, and Step Into Liquid, but pretty much anything will do.
posted by BibiRose at 11:11 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters

RIP Neil Peart
posted by Going To Maine at 11:32 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]

carmicha: "Movies (not comfort fare) I never turn off when I stumble upon them:"

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Atomic Blonde
Pulp Fiction
Point Break
Die Hard

posted by chavenet at 11:33 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]

Bad Santa works as a comfort movie for me. Most of the cast seem to be having a great time.

Similarly, the Life of Brian and the Holy Grail.

The Fisher King is another feel good movie. In my opinion it may be Gilliam's best, certainly feels like the Gilliam film with most conncinity. It also has warm memories for me because Mefite Eideketer took me on the location tour when I first visited NY.
posted by asok at 11:36 AM on April 16 [6 favorites]

Saw III (only III)

This raises a question.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:41 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]

Mine are mostly old:
Philadelphia Story (1940)
Wicked Lady (1945) - I went through a big Margaret Lockwood phase as a teenager, didn't we all?
The Lady Vanishes (1939) - ditto
Much Ado about Nothing - the Kenneth Branagh one from the 90s

I haven't seen Victor/Victoria for years but used to love it, so am happy to see it mentioned above.

To me the BBC Persuasion/Pride & Prejudice adaptations are series (mostly because in the UK they were broadcast on consecutive Sunday nights when I was a teenager). But they function as movies when I'm ill, as does the BBC's Middlemarch.
posted by altolinguistic at 11:45 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]

Saw III (only III)

This raises a question.

Oops, asked and answered
posted by Going To Maine at 11:53 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]

Also, My Dinner With André seems like it would be a real comfort delight, but I can’t say I’ve made any attempts to add it to a routine. Naked Lunch is also a movie I find weirdly pleasurable - most likely because of the setting and vibe, less the actual specifics.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:55 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]

So many. So, so many. It’s self-hypnosis for me. But the top five:

This is Spinal Tap
Boiler Room
All About Eve
Citizen Kane

Honorable mention because it’s only five or six years old so I haven’t watched it one zillion times yet:

They Look Like People

And I’ve seen every episode of 1970s Columbo (except the infamous “Last Salute to the Commodore”) at least a dozen times.

Bad Santa works as a comfort movie for me. Most of the cast seem to be having a great time.

In this house, “Well, they can’t all be winners, can they?” is a 100 percent certain way to get a laugh.
posted by holborne at 1:02 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]

Wicked Lady (1945) - I went through a big Margaret Lockwood phase as a teenager, didn't we all?

And yet no mention of The Man in Grey? (Which also has Lockwood, Mason, and the same director as Wicked Lady) Is that out of strict preference or for it being a pleasure yet to be had?
posted by gusottertrout at 1:10 PM on April 16

Peter Greenaway and Lars von Trier.
posted by bendy at 1:13 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]

My Neighbor Totoro/Tonari no Totoro
Princess Mononoke/Mononoke Hime
After Life/Wonderful Life - directed by Kore-eda Hirokazu
Victor/Victoria (high fives to freethefeet and other people who mentioned it!)
Time Bandits

and honorable mentions to When Harry Met Sally, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Yellow Submarine (my absolute favorite as a kid), all of the other Miyazaki movies, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Empire Strikes Back, Beetlejuice.

(And then there's my comfort anime - Princess Tutu, Hikaru no Go, and Revolutionary Girl Utena. Time for a rewatch!)
posted by sencha at 1:16 PM on April 16 [5 favorites]

The Muppet Movie
True Stories
Repo Man
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:20 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]

After Life/Wonderful Life - directed by Kore-eda Hirokazu
Of course! What a beautiful film!

It's probably not entirely within the ambit of the discussion, but I've just been watching it and I'm hyped: If you have Netflix, you might have access to PiuPiu Molcar: a Japanese cartoon about cars that are actually guinea pigs. Sort of like A Town Called Panic, but with guinea pigs. A cartoon for the under fives full of in-jokes for the otaku. Very very very silly. Very.
posted by Grangousier at 1:38 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]

And yet no mention of The Man in Grey? (Which also has Lockwood, Mason, and the same director as Wicked Lady) Is that out of strict preference or for it being a pleasure yet to be had?

I believe it is a pleasure yet to be had - in the 90s I was reliant on finding the films on terrestrial and cable TV...
posted by altolinguistic at 1:40 PM on April 16

One other, and it always feels like I'm the only one who's seen it, but 13th Warrior. It's cheesy popcorn Viking's fighting animist cannibals with Antonio Banderas as a... ahem, Muslim diplomat. It's based on Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead, which is his take on Beowulf. It's probably the best Dungeons and Dragons film ever made, up to and including the scene where the band of adventurers is brought together by a witch reading out the will of the gods through a bunch of bones. Top notch action, pretty solid film, and with enough quotes that I feel all lonely because no one has ever seen it.
posted by Ghidorah at 1:54 PM on April 16 [10 favorites]

Will never not be in the mood for:

Spirited Away
Romeo + Juliet
Empire Strikes Back
Nightmare Before Christmas
Spellbound (the 2002 documentary about the spelling bee, not the 1945 Hitchcock)

(When I was in my 20s, my comfort go-to movies were Barbarella, 8 1/2, and Repo Man, which I was watching pretty much weekly and therefore may have seen more times than anything else. But I’ve pretty much burned out whatever appetite I used to have for watching them.)
posted by miles per flower at 2:29 PM on April 16 [4 favorites]

One year, many years ago, a man bought me the following DVDs for my birthday:

Blue Velvet
A Clockwork Orange
Full Metal Jacket
Crash [Cronenberg's, not the other one]

Reader, I married him.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:36 PM on April 16 [9 favorites]

Wait, two more:

Moulin Rouge!
MST3K - Manos: The Hands of Fate

I have watched both umpteen times.
posted by sencha at 2:39 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]

If I even think too hard about Orson Welles' F for Fake, I have to stop and watch it. If you haven't seen it, it's on HBO Max and you should do that. It's technically a documentary, but it's so one of a kind, it has trouble fitting into boxes. It is, all at once, a brash art film, a rollicking good time, a serious study on forgery and fakery, and a prankish cinematic sleight of hand.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:53 PM on April 16 [4 favorites]

I'm another one in the "never rewatch moves" camp. While I'm happy for others to enjoy their repeats, I only have one lifetime, and there's basically an infinite supply of good movies.
posted by buxtonbluecat at 3:31 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]

omg how could I forget Harvey
posted by Glinn at 3:57 PM on April 16 [4 favorites]

When your fave is problematic: Silence of the Lambs. I just love Jodie Foster's performance. Reservoir Dogs. What the hell? But I am also on teams Galaxy Quest and Last Crusade.
posted by cobaltnine at 4:36 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]

The Thing (1982), particularly the scene immediately following "it's weird, and pissed off"

Manhunter (1986), when Will Graham and Jack Crawford are watching the movies and they figure out the connection between the families

Casino Royale (2006), when Daniel Craig comes out of the water. And when he washes off in the sink after the fight. And when he runs to the car after being poisoned.
posted by Gorgik at 5:17 PM on April 16 [4 favorites]

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Grey Gardens
Slap Shot
The Lion in Winter
Best in Show
Juliet of the Spirits
Seven Samurai
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Until the End of the World
The Big Lebowski

posted by kinnakeet at 5:34 PM on April 16 [4 favorites]

Rock n Roll High School (Ramones).
posted by biggreenplant at 5:42 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]

"I don't care, what do you wanna watch?"

(Note: I say this even though I live alone)
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:55 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]

Sorry, I could not narrow down to just five.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:45 PM on April 16

Jurassic Park (actually, pretty much any of the Jurassic Park or Jurassic World movies, including Jurassic Park III, which pretty much no one else likes)

When my son was about 10, Jurassic Park III was his favorite movie, and he listened to the soundtrack incessantly. That phase only lasted about three months, but I never figured out why that movie, out of the whole series, was the one he really glommed onto.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 6:50 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]

The remastered 'Rififi'
posted by clavdivs at 8:07 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]

he listened to the soundtrack incessantly

My younger brother listened to the JP original soundtrack for at least an entire summer during formative years, the result of which is that I have dedicated neurons that blast the theme to Jurassic Park in my head at least weekly. I've maybe seen the movie three times? But my harvested organs will hum with the sweeping soundscapes of John Williams after my death.
posted by cobaltnine at 8:33 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]

(trying to list only ones not already mentioned)
hedwig and the angry inch
a scanner darkly
no country for old men
the outsiders
down by law
close encounters of the third kind
drunken master ii
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:39 PM on April 16 [4 favorites]

Contact and No Country are movies that, if they're on TV, or a TV I just happen to be passing by, I am obligated to sit down and watch all the way through.

Jurassic Park III is fine, it's Lost World that's the egregiously terrible one (except for the Tall Grass scene).

And, as much as having watched Until the End of the World is something I think of as a formative part of who I am as a person, it's a movie with weight (and is butt numbingly long) that makes it something I can watch maybe once every five years to a decade. By all means, if you haven't seen it, do, but be aware that it doesn't really start to come together until over an hour in. You'll know it's getting good when you start to hear Peter Gabriel.

Weirdly enough, though I like Casino Royale the most out of the Craig Bonds, it's Quantum of Solace that I've seen the most. Skyfall annoyed me in that it seemed to go out of its way to kill the "Bond is a code name" theory, Casino's poker scene felt dated by the time the film was in theaters, and Specter is just a hot mess. Something about how irrevocably broken both Bond and Camille are, and how the film just picks up seconds after when Casino ended. It's not the greatest story, but the villains, and their villainy (hoarding water, convincing a corrupt dictator to sign over water rights) just feels so incredibly real world that it's interesting to see the high fantasy of secret agent Bond crashing into the mundanity of corporate evil. The only thing I think we'd see in any kind of update to it would be someone telling M to stop Bond because the government (or the royal family) had invested significant money in the scheme.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:11 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]

Five? No way. Couldn't be done.

Loved it the first time I saw it, loved it two months ago when it streamed free on Amazon. I've been in Paris only once, 1994, met a young Parisian woman who had many similar tastes to mine, together we went to some museums (my church) and she showed me her Paris, also, we just had a great time. One evening we stopped in some small restaurant, on the wall was a poster for Delicatessen, I nodded at it or pointed, said "God, what a great movie, so much fun." and she stopped, dead, her brown eyes went wide, she says "You know Delicatessen? Oh, you are a *good* American." Even if for no other reason I'll always love her for that, and love that movie even more than I would anyways, though that's probably not possible. Dark, howlingly funny, creative lunacy. I love Delicatessen.

Wings of Desire
The first time I watched it, I immediately rewound the tape and watched it again. A beautiful movie, in so many ways, the sections that are in black and white are *not* in black and white, it's a shiny silver effect -- even just that would give it high marks in my book. The story is the best. Libraries are pretty much holy places, and I love libraries so that works well for me -- when traveling, once I've seen the local art museum I then check out the most interesting libraries I can find. Phoenix has a very cool library, six or eight stories tall with this huge atrium in it -- sweet. Chicago's library, the one on Michigan Avenue, it's so beautiful, so well done. Houston has some great libraries, too, my favorite, when I *really* needed to bust my ass studying, was in The Med Center -- the people there are dead serious about studying, learning, and I'd catch a ride on their energy. Anyways, Wings Of Desire. It's in German, French, English, god alone knows what all else; I met a young man here in town who was born/raised in Berlin, watching that flick together he told me that everything was dead on, from the highest high-falutin' high-toned citizens on down to the street hooker. This movie has everything -- Nick Cave is in it, for Jesus christ sake -- it even has room, and lots of it, for Peter Falk, in what is my favorite role of his -- he's perfectly cast. See this movie.

Cool Hank Luke.
Paul Newman in his youth, so good-looking it's almost painful. A man hurt by the fact of his father living a lie, a man hurt by his service in WW2, a man refusing to play by any arbitrary rules. As great as this movie is, the book it comes from is even better. But: Both of them stand tall. Both of them are truly great. A powerhouse cast; keep an eye out for Jo Van Fleet as Luke's mother, Arletta -- an impossibly great performance. Don't miss this movie.

I've Heard the Mermaids Singing
Sheila McCarthy just absolutely steals this entire movie. She is an angel. ln this role, she's like a couple of artists I've known, who just can *not* stop creating, can *not* stop seeing beauty and capturing it. An absolute disaster as an employee, she gets yet another temporary job as a "part-time assistant" and, regardless she's a mess, her new employer -- Gabriele, who runs an art gallery -- Gabriele takes a liking to her, and hires her full-time. Just for fun, check out Gabriele's 1987 outfits, perfect for someone running an art gallery, or an expensive psychotherapist. Love starts getting mixed up into this whole story, in a very good way, plus Sheila McCarthy gets her soul crushed upon showing the work from her beautiful, beautiful Art Heart, and it literally makes her sick, this part so hard to watch... I'm not going to say anything else about this story, you're going to want to come at it cold. See this movie.

Jean de Florette & Manon Of The Spring
It's really not fair to pair these movies; though they are pieces of the same story each easily stands on it's own. Maybe you don't like sub-titles? Get over yourself. Learn to read as you watch. The ending of each of these movies will break your heart like delicate glass hurled at a concrete wall, but if you need safety in your Art go watch some Hollywood dreck, the equivalent of Norman Rockwell paintings though certainly with more exploding helicopters. But these movies, these movies are powerful stories honestly, the camera is right in the heart of it all, these normal people doing normal people things, which is to say being dishonest, being great, being frightened, being in love, and the cost of love. My gut hurts just at the thought of the ending of Manon Of The Spring, this man so small, and no way out of seeing who he is, and the consequences of that, both to himself and to those he loved. His entire world a mirror reflecting his cruelties, no where to run, nowhere to hide. Watch these movies.

Reservoir Dogs
The ultimate buddy movie, Tim Roth and Harvey Keitel sharing blue-collar love, I think better than any of the match-ups of Paul Newman and Robert Redford, and I *love* the match-ups of Paul Newman and Robert Redford. But Reservoir Dogs does it better. Don't go here if you want pretty, don't go here unless you've got your pants screwed on tight, don't go here if you don't want to see blue-collar scum-bag criminals being themselves totally on what had to be the collective Worst Day Of Their Lives. Cops, robbers, chase scenes, blood, horror, terror, but don't miss out on that love between those two men. It is rude, it is crude, it is violent as fuck, it is absolutely politically incorrect. Though Tarantino had lots of hollywood buzz due to writing Natural Born Killers and True Romance but he exploded into popular consciousness with Reservoir Dogs. Don't see this movie unless you're sure you've got the jam to do so. I hope you do. See this movie.

The Artist
An unbelievably cool movie. Writer/director Michel Hazanavicius comes out of nowhere with a black and white silent movie -- wtf? Who would ever go and see this flick? As bad as it stung to see Martin Scorsese lose out with Hugo (which any other year would absolutely have won best movie oscar), hollywood for once did the right thing, and voted The Artist as best movie. If I recall correctly, Jean Dujardin was up for an Oscar as best actor; how Bérénice Bejo did not win best actress is as large a mystery to me as black holes would be to an aardvark -- she was the beating heart of the flick, absolutely. (I'm no movie person, from a person who *was* a movie person I heard tell that an actor/actress can only access what is inside them, that you've got to have the goods to portray it convincingly on a huge screen. Well: if Bejo has even *half* of what gives on the screen, she is a goddess come here to save us, hopefully from global warming but I guess that's up to her.) Casting John Goodman and James Cromwell.was just perfection, two of the best faces in hollywood, two of the most expressive faces on the planet. The Artist will have you howling with laughter (god, what a buffoon Dujardin plays, completely unaware of what a hemorrhoid he is) it'll hurt to see him fall apart and get humbled, it'll maybe make you believe in Capital L Love to see Bejo keep an eye out for him, plus to see Cromwell keep an eye out for him. So many touches, so many things to see as you see this movie again, and yet again, little things that Hazanavicius gives us -- I love it. And I love love love Tamara de Lempicka, her paintings so distinctive, and such a piece of her time, and there she is in The Artist -- that's just perfect. (Lempicka is a post I need to make on the blue, one hell of a story there.) Anyways, there is so much good about this movie, not to mention great -- it's really a gift. Or so I see it. See this movie.

Gérard Depardieu as Georges Danton, with Wojciech Pszoniak as Maximilien Robespierre. I've seen many movies starring Depardieu, this is my favorite. Paris, 1794 the Reign of Terror is in full swing, the guillotine always a presence. Danton and Robespierre both political leaders of the French Revolution. Danton a man of the people, Robespierre willing to cut peoples head off to keep them free, Danton warm and lusty, Robespierre a cold fish, and ill to boot. This movie focuses upon these two leaders, different as night from day, both knowing they need one another, seeking to find their way together. One of the most amazing scenes I've ever seen on a screen is when they meet, and Danton dressing up nicely, making a beautiful dinner, opening as much as he can, but Robespierre unwilling to bend. I'm not going any deeper into it, leave it to you to click that link or not; I will tell you that it blew me out of my shoes; both of these men strong as any leader could be, both certain of themselves, both unbending. The whole film is "out there" on youtube, might be you'd want to spend two hours in the Reign of Terror, there in Paris. I can't recommend this flick highly enough.

The Godfather
I do not see Marlon Brando on the screen, it's Vito Corleone, I'm living in his life and time. Probably the most convincing acting I've ever seen, or you, either. James Caan also convincing as the ungovernable, raging, wildman killer he portrayed as Santino Corleone. I didn't believe Al Pacino at the beginning of The Godfather but by the end he had me, and he was perfection in The Godfather 2. Talia Shire absolutely convincing as Connie Corleone, in a horrific role to have to play -- I watch her onscreen and I do *not* see Talia Shire, I see Connie Corleone, I think the most difficult role in that flick, and she gave us everything. Real guts. I'd say "Watch this movie." except I'm sure that you already have; maybe watch Talia Shire, separate her -- if you can -- from Connie Corleone.

Raging Bull
As above, in The Godfather, I absolutely do *not* see Robert De Niro -- I see Jake La Motta. De Niro is incredible, an amazing actor, gave himself completely to that role. Cathy Moriarty, as Vicky La Motta, the same vulnerability as Talia Shire, in my mind, her role as demanding as De Niro's role. Accepting that much violence, allowing another person to treat you as La Motta treated Vicky -- imagine having to find that piece of yourself, and then imagine giving to all of us, wide open, naked to the screen. I know for a fact that one of the reasons that it is so hard to leave abusive relationships is that in that scenario not only do you see a side of your partner that no one else sees, you also show your partner a piece of yourself that no one else sees. That creates an almost unbelievable intimacy, not a healthy intimacy but powerful as hell. Next time you watch Raging Bull, watch Moriarty, not as a character on the screen but instead as the actress finding those pieces inside herself, and then giving them to us. Like Shire, she's really got guts. Their relationship -- Jake and Vicky -- is the heart of that flick, as I see it anyways. Yet there is so much more in it -- it feels perfectly in the time and place the story took place.

I could go on -- it takes me ten minutes to say hello, as you might imagine. I'm stopping right here, end of this sentence, coming closer and closer, in fact, here it is ==> now.
posted by dancestoblue at 11:21 PM on April 16 [11 favorites]

New Rose Hotel

valkane! I’ve tried explaining the appeal of this movie in many ways to many people and they just half-smile and back away slowly.
posted by bendy at 11:25 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]

Waking Ned Divine. "No more pigs, Maggie!"
posted by janepanic at 12:58 AM on April 17 [3 favorites]

Ping Pong
Pride and Prejudice
Princess Bride
Pacific Rim
and, non-alliteratively, Kimi no Na wa.
posted by emmling at 1:00 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]

Another one: I have seen Army of Darkness about 75 times. Every time, I get bored around the halfway point, but I laugh so hard at the first half hour and the last twenty minutes that it's always time well-spent.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:20 AM on April 17 [4 favorites]

competency porn
This describes a whole category of movie I will always re-watch: recently saw - uh - "Hunter Killer"(?) about a submarine captain who goes to Russia. It should be a garbage movie but it's just too competent, surprising plot twists, surprisingly competent acting, etc etc I've only seen it the once, though.

There's no way I could pick only five movies. I will always watch movies by the Coen bros, Tarrantino, anything written by the Peoples (Unforgiven, 12Monkeys, etc), Peter Weir, Andersons Paul T and Wes, Edgar Wright, Soderberg
I've gone through periods of watching movies from each over and over.

Lately I've been watching Archer, and The Expanse, as much for what the actors bring to the shows as what happens in them.

I look forward to trying "Taskmaster" a good laugh is valuable thing. (That was mentioned on the blue recently, wasn't it?)
posted by From Bklyn at 5:28 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]

I've never been much of a movie re-watcher. I used to rant about the cost of DVDs; they cost the same as albums that I'd listen to 100 times while even my favorite films only get seen once a decade or so. Or, at most, once in each new romantic relationship when I was dating new people.

For me the real comfort medium has always been audio:
Joe Frank (especially Fat Man Down, Three Shingles, In the Middle of Nowhere...)
Blue Jam
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio program
Jean Shepherd
Lately, old episodes of The Dollop. (The New York to Paris Car Race, the 1904 Olympics, most of the Australian explorers...)

But, on the list of films that I've seen more than five times and could happily re-watch again immediately after finishing:
Harold and Maude
. . . and that's kind of it. There are hundreds of films I love and could praise at length. But, not many I'd choose to watch a second time in a year. Even my favorite Star Trek films don't reach that criteria.

I would have included The Princess Bride and The Life of Brian a few years ago. The last time I saw them, I found they'd both lost some of their magic. I still enjoy them. But, it'll be a while until I watch them again. I suspect I may wait until I'm in the company of someone who's never seen them before. Perhaps I can steal some of their experience for myself.
posted by eotvos at 5:52 AM on April 17 [4 favorites]

Comfort movies:
That Thing You Do!
Josie and the Pussycats
10 Things I Hate About You
Rocky Horror Picture Show
Bring It On!
posted by Kris10_b at 6:04 AM on April 17 [6 favorites]

I forgot to mention:

"Rear Window," which I've watched three times since March 2020.

Oh and both "The Legend of Billie Jean" and "Desperately Seeking Susan" which were (and say what you like about them) absolutely critical texts in my youth. And they hold up quite nicely when I'm feeling nostalgic and/or desperately longing to go thrift shopping in quarantine.
posted by thivaia at 6:18 AM on April 17 [6 favorites]

Clear and Present Danger. I've watched it a ridiculous number of times and for some reason never get bored of it.
posted by knapah at 7:23 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]

Kung Fu Panda
Shakespeare in Love
posted by Phanx at 7:32 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]

It's A Wonderful Life
Pete's Christmas
Blade Runner
Anything Bogart and Bacall
posted by Chairboy at 10:15 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]

Mad Max: Fury Road
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Avengers: Endgame
Moonrise Kingdom
Fight Club

The Great
The Expanse

The Broken Earth Series. Stop what you're doing and go get the first book in the trilogy.

Seriously, just do it!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:08 PM on April 17 [6 favorites]

Excluding our annual Christmas rewatch (which includes the not-Christmas-but-set-around-Christmas The Shop Around the Corner, The Thin Man, The Apartment, and Metropolitan), after a lot of arguing our Top Five would probably shake out as:

Some Like It Hot
The Lady Eve
His Girl Friday
The Philadelphia Story
Singin' in the Rain

The list of movies I (or my wife and I) would watch and rewatch is much longer than that, though. Oceans Eleven and Twelve are insomnia movies for me (easy to watch, the stakes never seem that high, seen them enough they might lull me to sleep when nothing else will). She never had the Hitchcock phase I did, so I'd maybe have to convince her to watch To Catch a Thief or Rear Window with me again (or Stanley Donen's Charade, for that matter), but on the other hand she might have to convince me to watch All About Eve or get much deeper into Billy Wilder's catalog. Really most of the arguing would be about jettisoning things we both love like It Happened One Night or My Man Godfrey just to get the list down to five. At least we could feel OK about cutting Swing Time (the blackface number is problematic) and Top Hat (let down by "The Piccolino"). We're still going to watch them, but we wouldn't put them in a Top Five.
posted by fedward at 2:06 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]

For me, they are street dance movies. I don't care how bad they are. Is she a rich uptown hottie and he's a poor downtown hunk? Do they have to save the center/the park/the school/the neighborhood/their enrollment/their family/their future? Does it look like they might not make it? Do they have their fish-out-of-water moments? Are there some slick, fly-ass dance moves, especially poppin' and lockin', all over the place? And mad beats? Do our lead actors and their friends compete against other dance crews in a big-deal match-up? DO THEY DEFY THE ODDS AND AT LEAST GET RESPECT AND RETAIN THEIR DIGNITY EVEN IF THEY DON'T WIN THE BIG COMPETITION? And do their enemies come off looking like chumps? Then I'm in!

I'll also watch movies about drumlines, step groups, a cappella groups ("Pitch Perfect"? Yes), dance-offs, beat-boxing, rapping, cheering, etc. They just have to pretty much fit the formula above.

It all started with seeing "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo" as a kid. I know that film is a punchline now, but kid me loved that ish. Ice-T on film in 1984! Here's a pretty good roundup of the genre, but as you can see they say it started in 2000, to which I say wack.
posted by Mo Nickels at 3:04 PM on April 17 [13 favorites]

Raiders of the Lost Ark (I had such a crush on Prof. Jones as an adolescent. Admittedly the problematic parts make it less fun now)
The Sound of Music (so wholesome & I can song along)
Muppet Christmas Carol (so many quotable moments!)

Miniseries: The Scarlet Pimpernel - version with Elizabeth McGovern & Hugh Grant (I bought the DVD I love it so much)

TV: the Anthony Bourdain oeuvre.
Formerly, I'd have said Buffy the Vampire Slayer but it's just too much Not Good stuff and also JW so not really comforting anymore.
posted by pointystick at 3:34 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]

I can't believe I forgot one!

Strictly Ballroom. As an Australian growing up overseas I was desperate for Australian cultural references. (Me in Australia now- ha.) Also it is like me Australian but also Spanish speaking. Watching with others as an older teen I enjoyed knowing that the subtitle for what Fran's dad says about Scott isn't what he actually says. It's been too long since I've seen it to remember exactly.
posted by freethefeet at 3:38 PM on April 17 [5 favorites]

Anyone who knows me at all will be unsurprised that my comfort list is humor-heavy. This is not in any order, other than "these are the ones I rewatch most frequently" - the rest are a long-tail list.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Many Disney and Pixar animated movies
Princess Bride
Galaxy Quest
Spinal Tap
Marx Bros movies
3 Stooges shorts
also the original two series of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy BBC radio show, if we're including audio-only

In other news, it's an absolutely gorgeous warm day out (kind of unusual for April in PNW, though - frighteningly - less so with each passing year), and I'm refreshing myself with an ice-cold gin/Pimm's/crushed fresh ginger/seltzer concoction that goes down maybe a little too easily....
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:02 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]

Dirty Dancing. I don't even know if I like this movie? It's just always been part of my life, so I can't watch it objectively. As pre-teens my sisters and I watched it every single weekend, and if we weren't watching the movie we were listening to the soundtrack.

The Lady Vanishes. I notice something new every time I watch it, and I've watched it at least 15 times by now. It feels a little progressive for its time, and it's funny, scary, and intriguing. I haven't watched the remake yet, but maybe I'll do that this weekend. (I'm a little scared to watch the remake tbh, probably because of what happened to Rebecca.)

Kiki's Delivery Service. I only watch the dubbed version. Phil Hartman's Jiji is the only Jiji as far as I'm concerned.

Whisper of the Heart. Totally dorky and heart warming. I love it.

The Never Ending Story, Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, The Last Unicorn, and a bazillion other 80s kids movies. I watch the He Man and She Ra Christmas special every year. It's extremely stupid and just wonderful

Alice in Wonderland, The Sword in the Stone, Robin Hood, and other classic Disney movies. Alice in Wonderland might be my favourite movie of all time. The visuals alone had a huge impact on me as a child. I will always find Robin Hood hilarious.
posted by Stoof at 4:53 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]

omg it was one thing to forget Harvey but I also forgot Wall-E. I am 52 and this is only going to get worse, right? Wall-E may be my most favorite one, especially the beginning when he's trying to get Eve's attention. The shopping carts! And then when she finally comes back to his pad. And Mo.
posted by Glinn at 5:12 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]

For me, they are street dance movies

Yes! And terrible dance school dramas as well for me.
posted by Stoof at 5:25 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]

I used to have comfort movies. But ever since lockdown I haven't had the focus to sit down and watch a whole movie. Also, to keep the depression demons at bay I am trying to avoid art where I make myself feel bad on purpose (unless the setting is removed from present reality, like Shakespeare or science fiction or historical drama).

Comfort movies I used to have:

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Almodovar)
Smiles of a Summer Night (Ingmar Bergman)
The Muppet Movie (Jim Henson)
Singin' In The Rain
The Tune (short animation by Bill Plympton)
Impromptu (Hugh Grant and Judy Davis as George Sand and Chopin)
Duck Soup (Marx Bros)
Go West and/or Sherlock Jr (Buster Keaton)
The Blues Brothers
... I know there are others, but I can't remember them.

These days I'm in the middle of an in-memoriam-everyone Babylon 5 rewatch... as everyone who's ever posted about it here knows. Sorry for all the favourites I'm leaving on your old posts.

(A B5 fan never dies... we just reappear 3 seasons later and expect everyone to remember us)
posted by Pallas Athena at 6:53 PM on April 17 [4 favorites]

Timothy Leary (who before he became LSD famous designed personality tests and the like) once suggested that if you want somebody to reveal themselves to you, ask them their five favourite movies. He thought of it as a prank.

So in the light of that, my top five comfort movies:

Mulholland Drive
2001 Space Odyssey
Towering Inferno
Planet of the Apes (Charlton Heston original)
Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines
posted by philip-random at 8:52 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]

Diva 1982 la baguette; le couteau . . . ma satori, c'est ça. You're allowed to watch it with subtitles.
Withnail & I 1987 Matter - "Of course he's the fucking farmer"
Vizzini's Dinner with André 1981. We really should get out [of NYC]
The Draughtsman's Contract 1982
It's not true that I stopped watching movies on 1st Jan 1990:
Little Miss Sunshine 2006 "high school? those are your prime suffering years"
posted by BobTheScientist at 2:37 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]

One other, and it always feels like I'm the only one who's seen it, but 13th Warrior. It's cheesy popcorn Viking's fighting animist cannibals with Antonio Banderas as a... ahem, Muslim diplomat. It's based on Michael Crichton's Eaters of the Dead, which is his take on Beowulf. It's probably the best Dungeons and Dragons film ever made, up to and including the scene where the band of adventurers is brought together by a witch reading out the will of the gods through a bunch of bones. Top notch action, pretty solid film, and with enough quotes that I feel all lonely because no one has ever seen it.

Don't feel lonely Ghidorah, I know and love 13th Warrior too. I saw it in the cinema when it first came out and have loved it ever since. I always thought of it as a David Gemmell (who I used to read a lot of) kind of film. Tough, clever warriors (who enjoy what they do), a village to save and a fish-out-of-water character who ends up being useful. In fact, I am going to rewatch it tonight.

On the subject of ahistorical films that I will happily watch over and over again, I always find A Knight's Tale a joy to watch. A group of peasants pretend to be a knight and his entourage in order to win money at jousting tournaments in 15th C France. It also includes a naked Chaucer ("Not so much robbed as an involuntary vow of poverty"). It is so much fun.
posted by antiwiggle at 5:55 AM on April 18 [9 favorites]

It's good to know someone else has seen it, antiwiggle. There's something about the film that has the feel of a very "real world" Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Among the 13, there is very clearly a ranger (the guy who says "That's why I wasn't *in* the watchtower" is definitely a ranger), and some of the others are either multiclass warrior/thief or outright warrior, though there is the guy (with the breastplate) who could be a cavalier.

A Knight's Tale is a movie that everything in the trailers prepared me to intensely dislike, but on finally seeing it years later, it's a hell of a film, with a pretty great cast. Also, Rufus Sewell is immensely dislikeable.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:32 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]

Only because I haven't seen it yet: y'all are sleeping on Fried Green Tomatoes!
And if I feel like crying in a good, cathartic way: Where the Wild Things Are.
posted by Otter_Handler at 10:00 AM on April 18 [5 favorites]

There's something about the film that has the feel of a very "real world" Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

Yes, I know what you mean. It reminds me of the Rolemaster campaigns I played in. Not so much darker than D&D as grittier, more mud and blood and rain and sharp objects. Gritty without being grimdark.

The only other film I can think of with such a strong RPG feel is Sneakers. A group of specialised characters steal a computer chip for a client and get in all sorts of trouble. It feels like a contemporary spy or low level cyberpunk game. I haven't seen the film in years, I wonder if it holds up.

Also, Rufus Sewell is immensely dislikeable.

Oh, he is. He also looks like he is really enjoying himself in the role. "All the oldest sins in the newest ways".
posted by antiwiggle at 10:04 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]

Oh, Sneakers was mentioned right at the top of the thread and that it holds up. That is good news, I'll have to find if it is streaming somewhere.
posted by antiwiggle at 10:07 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]

Oh hell yes to A Knight's Tale. And now I'm intrigued by 13th Warrior...
posted by Pallas Athena at 12:46 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]

True Stories is an absolute favourite and so much fun to introduce to folks who haven't seen it.

Local Hero, which like True Stories has a certain warmth, an intriguing sense of place, and a killer soundtrack.

Barry Lyndon. If you're someone who loves those travelling scenes in Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings where they're making their way from one stunning landscape to another, Barry Lyndon is basically a three-hour odyssey composed largely of moments like that.

Lost in Translation captures romantic longing in a way that makes my heart shiver like a lost pet rabbit huddling under a front porch, and for some reason I enjoy this immensely. Also for its bloomy gorgeous pocket-sized Tokyo. The second half of Chungking Express is similarly evocative, but I don't love its first half as much.

Fantastic Mr. Fox for comforting goofy hijinx of the highest quality.
posted by oulipian at 3:00 PM on April 18 [4 favorites]

BBC P and P
Groundhog Day
The Cutting Edge
Mr. Mom
posted by Tandem Affinity at 3:26 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]

Oh and how could I forget Bad Santa? That’s our house Christmas flick.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 3:33 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]

Every year, without fail, I MUST watch The Ten Commandments (1956) on TV. They broadcast it the day before Easter, usually. (ABC did not broadcast it in 1999, and the outrage was so great they have not missed a year since.) It doesn’t matter that I own the movie on DVD. I watch this movie every year, and it makes me so, so happy.
posted by Melismata at 5:11 PM on April 18 [5 favorites]

Mr. Mom

posted by Greg_Ace at 5:26 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]

I’m a big rewatcher and rereader and relistener. Supposedly, people who tend to be anxious enjoy re- ing things because they know it will turn out the same way every time. Hence, the re- is reassuring. (Yes, we are not unlike toddlers in this respect.) So my “comfort” movies are comforting in that sense, although perhaps discomfiting otherwise. Exhibit A: Taxi Driver, which is my favorite movie bar none. Others that I never get tired of, for various reasons, are Boogie Nights, Summer of Sam, Carnival of Souls, Five Easy Pieces, and Bugs Bunny cartoons.

Then there are the movies that seemed always to be on (broadcast) TV somewhere: Goodfellas and Casino. Manhattan and Annie Hall (I know, I know). Titanic. Gosford Park.

Honorable mention: Eraserhead, Mulholland Dr., Inland Empire, The Shining, Silence of the Lambs, Duck Soup.
posted by scratch at 6:08 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]

These are the movies I constantly quote dialog from:
Countryman (Jamaica, Rasta, ganja, and Reggae)
Repo Man
This Is Spinal Tap
Monty Python and The Holy Grail
The Thin Man movies
posted by a humble nudibranch at 8:59 PM on April 18 [3 favorites]

I can’t believe I forgot “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”.
posted by bendy at 1:39 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]

The Incredibles
Twelve Monkeys

I’m off to GMOFB.
posted by bendy at 1:49 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]

I am not much of a re-watcher, or indeed much of a movie person at all, but the one movie that absolutely makes this list for me is Spaceballs. Is it exceedingly dumb? Oh hell yes. Does it have moments that make 2021 me cringe? Also yes. Does any of this matter to me? Nope, no shame.

(In The Before Times, my work occasionally had me visiting a building that I accessed through a locked gate with the combination 1-2-3-4-5. Made me giggle every time).
posted by ActionPopulated at 1:55 AM on April 19 [2 favorites]

I thought of another one that I'd watch back-to-back and count as comfort films: Being There.

I'm now very curious to see if my spouse and I can guess each other's choices. I'll go on record and guess Bringing Up Baby, The Lady Eve, 24 Hour Party People, The Man who Fell to Earth, . . . and maybe The Sun Also Rises or Roman Holiday. I'm guessing she'll get some of mine right, but will also include much darker films that I celebrate but have excluded because the thing I love about them is that they make me uncomfortable.
posted by eotvos at 7:30 AM on April 19 [1 favorite]

No one mentioned Double Indemnity? You’re missing out.
posted by Monochrome at 7:10 PM on April 19 [3 favorites]

New (related) question: what ARE the things that make a movie re-watchable to you?

Have you ever been surprised at returning again and again to a movie that somehow took hold of you?

For me: I can't figure out why I love one Scorcese movie (Bringing out the Dead) and will re-watch it a hundred times... and not another... (like the Departed)

or why I can re-watch The Wicker Man a million times (oh geez, is Nicholas Cage the common denominator?), which is objectively a bad movie, but eminently re-watchable?

Or speaking of BAD re-watchable movies.... why do I find myself watching (and laughing at) the Happening every year?

What makes one movie re-watchable to you, and not another?
posted by Dressed to Kill at 7:58 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]

New (related) question: what ARE the things that make a movie re-watchable to you?

Part of it for me is that after I see a new movie I go to IMDB and read the trivia and the crazy quotes and other info and then I want to rewatch to see those things.

In a lot of cases the movie touches something about me - when The Day After came out I was living in Kansas and my dad was stationed at the missile base there. Command and Control was the same situation.

Others just hit me with an incredible plot. The Lives of Others, Damage, Crash, Secretary, Kids and so on that I keep revisiting though they're never as great as they were the first time.

In the case of Fight Club, I went down rabbit holes and found the theories about the film and the characters and the more I pondered the more I loved it.

Occasionally there's an image or two that I can't forget. In the case of Saw III it's that pit full of hypodermic needles.

Sometimes the film or the actors or their relationships are sexy. This is why Jeremy Irons is always a hottie to me.
posted by bendy at 8:58 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]

"Supposedly, people who tend to be anxious enjoy re- ing things because they know it will turn out the same way every time. "

I have also read that children get very fixated on watching the same thing over and over when they are making big mental leaps and learning a whole lot of stuff really fast. Hence toddlers really like to rewatch because their brains are gathering new information like whoa, and preteens also really like to rewatch because they're making a bunch of mental leaps. And that even in adults, going through a phase of wanting to frequently rewatch a particular piece of media, or a favorite piece of media, may be tied to learning a lot of new information, or working on something very challenging at work, or at home, or learning new skills. I think the theory was toddlers was that repeating the well-worn paths of familiar media have some also consolidate tons of new information they're learning. I don't think you should take it as a sign of childishness, or even necessarily anxiety quite anxiety, but that your brain is doing some hard stuff, so it wants to also re-experience some familiar pathways as it sorts out all that new stuff.

I have no idea whether I read this in a good parenting book, or a bad parenting book, so it could be complete nonsense. But I like it.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 9:29 PM on April 19 [4 favorites]

"Supposedly, people who tend to be anxious enjoy re- ing things because they know it will turn out the same way every time. "

This is fascinating because when I'm under stress, I can't BEAR to watch ANY. NEW. THINGS. I can ONLY tolerate well-worn classics.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 10:06 PM on April 19 [2 favorites]

Gosford Park. Watching it now. Never gets old for me.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:49 PM on April 19 [2 favorites]

Also, I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I watched The Last Jedi at least once a week for over a year. I never got sick of it.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:51 PM on April 19 [3 favorites]

No one mentioned Double Indemnity? You’re missing out.

Best movie out there for learning about life insurance.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:52 PM on April 19 [4 favorites]

New (related) question: what ARE the things that make a movie re-watchable to you?

The third time I watch it, it's still good for the reason I found it good before and it's good all over again but for entirely new reasons. Kind of the same with books. A couple books I've read every couple years or so and each time gotten more and more from them - this is maybe one of the biggest consolation prizes vis-a-vis getting older: getting to observe the way your appreciation of things changes. These books and movies (and music and art and... in a different way, people) become companions. That's kind of corny, isn't it...
posted by From Bklyn at 11:49 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]

I thought of another one that I'd watch back-to-back and count as comfort films: Being There.

“I like to rewatch.”
posted by oulipian at 6:43 AM on April 20 [4 favorites]

I don't like to re-watch my favourite movies too much because I don't want to ever become too familiar with them, so the ones I tend to re-watch the most are my favourite "so bad it's good" movies: Road House, Tango and Cash, Battlefield Earth, Showgirls*...

* that one's kind of a special case on the good/bad spectrum
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:48 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]

The Darjeeling Limited
Kiss of the Dragon
Danny the Dog
Lethal Weapon
Die Hard
Little Miss Sunshine
Erin Brokovich
This is 40
The Fifth Element
U.S. Marshals
The Fugitive
Wind River
Here comes the Boom
Stranger than Fiction

tv shows:
Better things
old old CSI and Wallander (the swedish ones)
posted by speakeasy at 9:43 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]

I forgot Victor Victoria

Nobody else in this house had ever seen it. One of the kids laughed so hard she hit her forehead on the coffee table and bled but kept laughing anyway. Everytime somebody asks about the prominent scar she starts giggling.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 10:13 AM on April 20 [7 favorites]

Jurassic Park
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Being There
The Talented Mr. Ripley
Jackie Brown
Silence of the Lambs
Remains of the Day
Howards End
Double Jeopardy
The Siege
Patriot Games
Gran Torino
posted by maggieb at 11:13 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]

and Primal Fear every time!
posted by maggieb at 11:15 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]

I generally don't rewatch (or reread for that matter). I have had the box set of LoTR for a decade and when I watched it this last Christmas, at which point I realized I'd never actually seen the deleted scenes.

But for some reason Jane Austen is immune from that rule. Movie wise Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion are the ones that do it for me. (I will accept either the A&E miniseries or Keira Knightley versions of the first one.)
posted by mark k at 12:08 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]

No Country for Old Men
The Royal Tenenbaums
Shawshank Redemption
North by Northwest
Children of Men
John Wick
posted by glaucon at 1:09 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]

And Lord of the Rings - always
posted by glaucon at 1:09 PM on April 20 [4 favorites]

World War Z
The Cabin in the Woods

There’s a bit of a theme here...
posted by sweetpotato at 2:32 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]

"Supposedly, people who tend to be anxious enjoy re- ing things because they know it will turn out the same way every time. "

This is fascinating because when I'm under stress, I can't BEAR to watch ANY. NEW. THINGS. I can ONLY tolerate well-worn classics.

This is why some of my comfort *books* are the Earthsea books and The Lord Of The Rings. They are well-known and well loved places I can go, and re-reading them has the quality of a calming ritual.

Shakespeare used to be my catharsis/consolation reading, but I now have intense emotions attached to the sonnets and plays, such that sometimes it hurts to even remember the lines. Still not going to forget them any time soon, though.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:44 PM on April 20 [3 favorites]

So you're talking about boat movies, and submarine movies, and I'm searching the page for it and like .. wait .. nobody has mentioned The Hunt For Red October.

I don't understand. Is it just like .. so obvious everyone assumes it's already implied?

(Key to a good rewatcher, for me, is sound design. Red October sounds great.)
posted by ead at 5:02 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]

I think I just found my new #1.

Hellzapoppin' (1941)

Shemp Howard begins the film as the projectionist of a cinema, displaying on its screen what appears to be the start of a song-and-dance number including classily dressed performers walking down a staircase. The staircase collapses as in a fun-house ride, sliding them all straight to hell, where they are tortured by demons. Ole and Chic arrive in the midst of the mayhem by taxi, and after a bit of funny business, step back to reveal that it's a movie sound stage. They work for Miracle Pictures, a company using the slogan "If it's a good picture, it's a Miracle!" A mousy screenwriter played by Elisha Cook, Jr. outlines his script for the screen adaptation of Hellzapoppin, and the rest of the movie depicts Cook's script.

posted by philip-random at 8:53 PM on April 20 [5 favorites]

Aside from the Gen X Nerd basics (Aliens, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Empire Strikes Back, Conan the Barbarian, Wrath of Khan, etc), I unabashedly, sincerely, truly love Friends With Benefits. Something about the chemistry between Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake takes a kinda-dumb movie and ascends with it to heights that are actually worthy of the awesome, if cringy, performance by Woody Harrelson.

It's a terrible move. I love it to pieces.
posted by pseudophile at 9:19 AM on April 21 [2 favorites]

valkane! I’ve tried explaining the appeal of this movie in many ways to many people and they just half-smile and back away slowly.

New Rose Hotel was mostly decent, it just felt like they shot about 60-75% of the footage they needed to cover the runtime and just did voiceover over repeated footage to fill it out.

No movies come to mind for me, but as for TV going purely by frequency, it'd have to be the ITV Poirot & Marple series. I do prefer Foyle's War if we're talking brit mystery series generally, but I haven't watched it anywhere near as often.
posted by juv3nal at 3:13 PM on April 21 [2 favorites]

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure
Withnail & I
35 Shots of Rum
In the Mood for Love
The Dekalog
Local Hero
The Thing
The Singing Detective miniseries
Night of the Hunter
Hellboy 2
Ghost Dog
Dead Man
Robin and Marian
High Fidelity
Winter Sleepers
posted by Kafkaesque at 3:40 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]

Possibly my favorite Friendsgiving tradition is that we get together the day after Thanksgiving to eat leftovers and watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. It's a delight.

Other comfort movies include...
Spirited Away
Howl's Moving Castle
Victor Victoria
The Last Unicorn
posted by ourobouros at 8:40 AM on April 23 [2 favorites]

Plus, every Vincent Price movie.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:04 PM on April 23 [3 favorites]

... and while we're at it, all the Hammer Horrors (a number of which are currently available for free on youtube) ... because nothing says comfort like that thing that used to terrify us, but now that we're older, we can see beyond the proverbial curtain. Speaking of which ...
posted by philip-random at 8:32 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]

The Last Unicorn
I think I know what I'm doing this evening.

My last round with The NeverEnding Story did not go well. I'm afraid to try The Secret of NIMH, 'cause it was so meaningful to me as a kid. But, the Last Unicorn is something I remember fondly and yet won't terribly upset me if it's less good than I remember when viewed through adult eyes. (Cheers to all who love any of them.)
posted by eotvos at 12:21 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]

The September Issue.
posted by rjs at 2:42 AM on April 25 [1 favorite]

Fried Green Tomatoes
A League of Their Own
Spirited Away
My Neighbor Totoro
posted by cp311 at 6:13 AM on May 1 [1 favorite]

posted by signal at 6:52 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]

Logan’s Run.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:31 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]

Run Lola Run?
posted by gusottertrout at 8:40 PM on May 2 [2 favorites]

I was going to make a joke. But, the fact checking turned out to be more interesting than the joke:
run, Lola.
posted by eotvos at 10:24 PM on May 2 [1 favorite]

On reflection, I am now considering putting together a 24-hour Run Lola Run Lola Run Lola Run Lola Run Lola Run Lola Run private screening featuring only films with those titles. (Skipping some of the most obviously awful ones.)

But, even if that doesn't happen, I'm definitely going to watch Ek Din 24 Ghante and Looop Lapeta, now that I know they (will) exist. I am skeptical that they will replace anything on my list. (Though, Run Lola Run is a contender.)
posted by eotvos at 10:38 PM on May 2 [5 favorites]

I am, apparently comforted by all that talent, handsomeness, and beauty, well, and badassery in Tombstone. I watchex The Magnificent Seven for the first time, last year. Sorta the same.
posted by Oyéah at 6:36 PM on May 5 [1 favorite]

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