Saturday, September 11, 2010

Movie Meme: Films I Can Happily Watch Over and Over Again!

OK, so it's been a while since I last updated my personal blog, but now I've got no excuse because I've been tagged by Brian Sibley to take part in a Film Fun Meme. The whole thing was kicked off, so far as I can tell, by Good Dog.

The basic idea is that you post the films you can happily watch multiple times. The rules are as follows:

  1. Provide a non-exhaustive list of films you’ll happily watch again and again. [Note you don't have to match my 31, which I artificially chose to fill a month's full of daily blogging!]

  2. There is no rule 2

  3. Reprint the rules.

  4. Tag three others and ask them to do the same.

I'm going to break Rule 4 because it seems unfair to saddle others with work (but if you're reading this Steve Langton I shall be disappointed if you don't take up the challenge!)

The meme has got me thinking hard about what my 'comfort' films are vs the ones I really admire but wouldn't want to necessarily sit through multiple times. You might think they're both the same thing, but in my case that's definitely not true. Some of my 'comfort' films depicted below can also irritate the hell out of me because of the poor continuity, the badly written dialogue in places, or just things that really could have been better. Others are 'comfort' films because they just seem so perfectly constructed and composed in every way.

I'll start posting mini-reviews of each film, one-a-day over the next month, starting next Saturday (18th September 2010) and indicating why they are on my list. See how many films you can guess from the small photo clues below, and if you want to take up the challenge of compiling your own meme please add a comment with a link to your meme for others to follow.

31 films I can happily watch over and over again

Bonus points if you can identify the film which is STILL only available on VHS. And also if you can identify which titles will be available in HD Blu-Ray format by the end of the year!


Good Dog said...


I recognize all but three – numbers 07, 14 and 20. There’s some pretty intense stuff there, but it’s good to see some Irwin Allen thrown in there. I probably would have included Das Boot in my list but watch the full six-part television version rather than either of the cut down movie versions.

It all started well before me. I was tagged by Stephen Gallagher who was tagged by someone else who was tagged by someone else.

Ian said...

I'm totally with you on the TV series of Das Boot. I was working in Saudi Arabia when it was broadcast but a friend sent over VHS tapes of it and I was completely hooked and very frustrated by a long wait between the two tapes that were sent. Apparently they lost the TV footage or it was of too poor quality to be considered worth putting out on DVD. The extended director's cut of the film is apparently the best of what could be rescued. I love the film score too - one of my favourites.

Many of the choices are for nostalgic reasons. For example the Irwin Allen choice was the first film I saw in France (with French dialog) as a teenager on an exchange trip and then re-saw as soon as I got back to the UK to try and understand the nuances of the dialog (not that there were many ;-)) It helped me get my French A level as I talked about it and the role of fireman in our society a lot for the oral part of my exam (which I got my best pass on!)

7 and 20 are a bit obscure (especially 7 - it's the title that's only available on VHS and to be fair it's all about the music and doing something different rather than the film itself ;-)) That's Joss Ackland as the distant figure in the picture!

You will kick yourself over no. 14 A film so well known and so popular I really struggled to find a relatively obscure picture. Clue: Brian also chose it!

Good Dog said...

The miniseries was released on DVD something like 2004 or 2005, running 280-odd minutes. They only run the credits at the end of each of the two discs, so it’s two blocks of three episodes apiece. The quality is pretty darned good.

I was at art school when it was on. A friend from foundation was at Ravensbourne and loving it. He said after one episode one of his flatmates looked at the credits and noted that there were a lot of Germans involved in the production. Everyone in the room just turned and stared at him.

I’d say that a good number of mine were for nostalgic reasons as well, especially The Poseidon Adventure - my Irwin Allen film - The Three/Four Musketeers and Where Eagles Dare.

Ah, It Couldn't Happen Here. Blimey, that is an obscure one. Oh, now I get no. 14. It has been ages since I’ve seen it but the emerald-coloured set should have given it away.

Ian said...

The 281 minute version is the one I have on DVD. But I'm pretty sure that's the one where on the extra's (commentary I think) the director explains that this "extended film" version (naughtily promoted as "the full uncut version") isn't as long as the TV series because of the issues I mentioned. I remember feeling cheated because I'd bought it on the assumption it was the full TV series (I have the original Director's Cut, a Superbit version and then this "full uncut version"). It was effectively a compromise of taking the film and adding back in the TV series bits that COULD be salvaged from what I remember on the commentary track.

As part of my month of reviews I'll rewatch and try and add the specific details Wolfgang Peterson gives from that DVD about what is "lost" from the TV series.

I saw "Poseidon Adventure" after "Towering Inferno" and felt it was probably a better film, but "Towering Inferno" is the one with the nostalgia factor. I read the two books it was based on and still get a kick out of the movie. I can still remember all the fuss about whose name went first on the credits and the compromise agreement reached with the "out of line" billing. When I saw the film originally in France it was in the days when there was an intermission in the middle (with the stair explosion as a pre-intermission cliff-hanger).

If you get a chance and haven't seen it you should try and see no. 20 "Beautiful Thing" - a wonderful little British movie set on a London council estate, with some great performances from the kids, especially the sassy black girl.

"Where Eagles Dare" is a film I had very font memories of - one of the better Alistair McClean adaptations as I recall from my teens. So I was keen to see it again when reissued a couple of months back on Blu-Ray. Alas, the film didn't seem to me to have worn well (the print wasn't great quality and didn't warrant HD in my view). In my memory it was much longer with a lot more twists and double-dealing.

Around the same time (2 months ago!) I finally got to see the original "The Italian Job" for the first time. I actually liked the remake but can see why those who'd seen the original hated it - the original is a much better film and still stands up today.

Ian said...

Ack! First Google throws me several "communication errors" and then it posts my reply 4 times!

Anyway, just wanted to add that "Beautiful Thing" was written by Jonathan Harvey, who can be a bit hit and miss, but on this film hit the perfect tone I think, helped by an excellent young cast.

Good Dog said...

The Director’s Cut was only 200 minutes long. The original cinema version was only something like 150 minutes. The copy I have, which was part of The Reel Collection, doesn’t have any extras and has everything I remember from when I saw it on the box.

Those four films I mentioned previously I remember seeing at the cinemas in Exmouth, which is why I return to them. It was where I saw my first Bond film - Live and Let Die. And I remember being taken to see Pinnochio on a Monday during school holidays and then the next day we saw The Poseidon Adventure... two films in two days! And that was the first time I saw Gene Hackman, one of my favourite character actors. We saw The Towering Inferno afterwards when we were visiting relatives in Scotland. And I read one of the books. I think it was The Glass Tower. Didn’t it end with almost everyone dying at the top of the building?

Actually Where Eagles Dare was a movie I was taken to see twice. I’m not sure why. Maybe none of us understood what the heck was going on with all the twists and double crosses. A friend was moderating a commentary with Jane Wymark for a Midsomer Murders DVD and being a big fan of Where Eagles Dare asked her about her father who played the traitorous Colonel Turner. She would be on set numerous times and apparently during the final scene they had the camera on Patrick Wymark when he exited the plane in mid-flight. Unfortunately when he hit the big inflatable mattress set up for him to land on he bounced back up into shot.

Love the original version of The Italian Job, which was one of my most watched movies. I should get the newest release because there’s a commentary with Troy that wasn’t on previous versions. Lovely man, shame he’s gone, and good on him for taking the same story and adapting it into the equally subversive Kelly’s Heroes. Oddly enough, the remake of The Italian Job was on Film4 a few days back and I got around to watching it. Oh dear. Mark Wahlberg really did go through a phase of being king of the crappy remakes. I’ll look out for Beautiful Thing.

Ian said...

Love the "Where Eagles Dare" anecdote!

Re: Das Boot This is the version I have (from the online version of my collection):

The notes on that DVD (generated from an external service based on the barcode) imply it's the 6-part mini-series put together as one film (no break for two sets of titles as you mentioned on your version), but I need to play back the commentary track and get Wolfgang's precise comments about the differences between this version and the originally transmitted episodes. Hopefully by next weekend.

Brian Sibley said...

I'm stuck on a couple, too, including (like Good Dog) number 7. But I was amused by your choice of image for 14 as it was the one I almost picked!

Of course having seen your list, I am now asking myself why I didn't include 9, 12 and 13!

Steve Langton said...

Thanks for the tag, Ian. You have some truly great films in your list. Looking forward to reading your thoughts during the month ahead. I responded to the tag and have my own choices up at my blog.

Thanks again.