Thursday, June 29, 2006

Movie I've Seen the Most

by Jackrabbit Slim
Following up on the Slate piece, what is the movie you've seen the most? Mine would have to be Annie Hall, which I've probably seen close to forty times. Ironically, I did not see it when it first came out, but first saw it on HBO in '78 or so. I then watched it everytime HBO aired it, and many times since then. I've also seen Manhattan and Hannah and Her Sisters many times.


Blogger jaydro said...

This is weird--I was just thinking about this yesterday without having seen the Slate article, how this can say more about someone than asking them to pick their favorite movie or what they think is the best movie. Of course, I think for me it has more to do with what selection of films were frequently played on late-night on local TV in the '70's and '80's, and I also discriminate against films that I think work better on the big screen--I just can't watch 'em on TV, so I end up seeing them fewer times.

My two earliest selections are What's Up, Doc? and The Great Waldo Pepper. When I finally discovered in the '80's the 1930's screwball comedies that Doc was referencing it was like a huge revelation. Pepper has some of the most incredible flying stunts ever filmed, as well as perhaps being a more effective retelling (though it seems almost everyone disagrees with this) of the same fable we saw in Hill and Redford's earlier Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Next came Star Wars, the first film I saw repeatedly in theaters. I really dig its movie-movieness, like Raiders of the Lost Ark (and, you know, Doc is of course another movie movie).

Then there was Diner, the first non-special effects film I saw multiple times in theaters. I don't know what there was about that film exactly, but somehow it got me. I remember going to a repertory cinema screening of it in '84 with some friends who had all seen it before, but I had seen it seven times by then and was talking about how the film was really about men's changing attitudes towards women on the eve of the sexual revolution, and everyone scoffed at me. After the movie was over, though, everyone realized I was right.

In the '90's there was Apollo 13, which surprised me by how right it got everything about that story. Not to mention that I think the launch scene ranks on the all-time list of cinematic achievements, ranking up there with the chariot race in Ben Hur. Great editing, great music, great effects, some good acting (though I can't help but think that Kevin Costner just might have been better than Tom Hanks), and overall good direction.

Lately the two films I've seen the most are A Simple Plan and Down With Love. Plan knots my stomach every time in the best Hitchcockian suspense. Down, like Doc, is a synthetic homage to a genre, and again I have seen and appreciated an homage without ever actually having seen any of the films it is referencing, though unlike my experience with Doc, I am familiar with them through numerous examples in clips I've seen. I have seen a few Doris Day movies, but I've never seen any of the films she made with Rock Hudson, nor have I seen any of Hudson's comedies.

Of the films mentioned in the article, I've probably seen Citizen Kane more times than Liev Schreiber, and somehow it didn't come to mind when I drew up my own list here. I've also seen Dr. Strangelove and Dr. Zhivago many many times (I have a tradition of watching Zhivago whenever I'm snowed-in). I've lost a lot of respect for Jake Kasdan (not sure how much I had to start with) for his picking Ghostbusters. I saw it more than once in the theater, but when I got the DVD of it and watched it, I felt like there wasn't anything there, like I was watching highlights of a deeper movie (not that it was deep) I remembered.

6/29/2006 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Jackrabbit Slim said...

I'm not one to see movies repeatedly, especially in theaters (I'm not made of money), but I've been rattling the teacups in my memory. Here are some other films I've seen ten or more times (counting TV airings): The Wizard of Oz and It's a Wonderful Life, of course; Casablanca, The Godfather (when I stumble upon it channel-surfing, it's tough to turn away), Raiders of the Lost Ark, the original King Kong, the original Frankenstein, Young Frankenstein, Citizen Kaine, The Maltese Falcon, A Hard Day's Night, The Graduate, Diner.

6/29/2006 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Not really sure I have one of these. I rarely watch DVDs but I own 50-60 of them. So, there's always something to watch that I haven't seen in forever when I actually do sit down and fire up a DVD.

But, back in the VHS days, I used to watch Braveheart and JFK all the time while I was in college. And I don't know how often I watched Tim Burton's Batman when I was a kid, but Batman Begins made that one obsolete so I'll probably never watch it again.

But again, there's really nothing that I watch very often these days.

6/29/2006 04:53:00 PM  
Anonymous lora said...

For me it's To Sir With Love...CBS used to run it regularly. I can't turn the channel when I happen upon Twelve Angry Men (insert joke here). I've seen Moonstruck at least a dozen times, and I'll watch it again. Hannah and Her Sisters is also on my list (I can't believe I made that joke about rollerskating in the Guggenheim). Desk Set, the Tracy/Hepburn gem, is one of my favorites, and it never gets old. I've seen most of Gene Kelly's films several times, but I don't think I can make it through The Pirate again unless the sound is off...Gene was at his hottest, but who knew Cole Porter wrote so many clunkers? I've seen Sixteen Candles a bunch of times, thanks to my Mom's love for the film, and I won't turn down a screening of Say Anything. I have seen Miracle on 34th Street, It's a Wonderful Life, and A Christmas Carol (the 1951 version, sometimes called Scrooge, with Alistair Sim) more times than I can count. And then there's my favorite black comedy, Kind Hearts and Coronets...I love a good, hearty, evil laugh.

6/29/2006 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger Jackrabbit Slim said...

Forgot about the Alistair Sim Christmas Carol. I've seen that a bunch of times, and now I have the DVD and for the past two Christmases have made a point of watching it.

6/30/2006 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

For me it is probably a tie between Resivoir Dogs, Dazed and Confused, and Clerks. When I was a teen I was nuts about those movies (still am, really) and I watched them over and over and over.

6/30/2006 12:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Nick said...

Bambi. Like ten thousand times.

6/30/2006 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I can't believe I left off UHF. I was a huge Weird Al freak when that movie came out on VHS. Before the tape broke from overuse, I was pretty much always watching that movie. I caught it again a few months ago and I could still recite all the lines despite the fact that I was three feet shorter the last time I had seen it.

But my comfort film, the one I've seen the most and the one I always go back to when I need a boost: Dazed and Confused. The new Criterion version just arrived in the mail today and I can't wait to go home and watch the movie, the commentary, the deleted scenes. It even comes with a book, I love it when the DVD comes with a book!

6/30/2006 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger jaydro said...

I probably should have included A Hard Day's Night, too, but it often doesn't come to mind when I think of films since I'm such a big Beatles fan. It's like I don't think of watching it as watching film, but engaging in Beatle fandom. The latest DVD was a huge disappointment to me due to the unfortunate tinkering with the sound mix--it's not stereo exactly and it's not the original mono; it's mono with stereo ambience added. Ugh.

I'll never forget the time I got to see the late producer Walter Shenson's personal print on a huge outdoor screen at the NC Museum of Art, followed by a q&a session with Mr. Shenson. (*sigh* It's so disappointing to find that all your posts to somehow never made it into Google's Usenet archive. :-( )

6/30/2006 04:25:00 PM  

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