Sunday, March 14, 2010

Movies you love more than others. Kind of.

Friday, during a double bill of Caprica (which is quickly becoming my favorite show on TV) and the Coen's A Serious Man*, and while quickly emptying two bottles of shiraz**, the subject of "movies you love more than others" came up.
*Despite not being a Jew, or religious at all, this is a fantastic and thought-provoking film. Whatever your cultural, ethnic or faith-based background, it IS the fucking Coen Brothers, the performances are perfectly calibrated and the comedy is pitch black. If you haven't seen it, go watch it now.

**Purely for "decoration" purposes, as my friend needed empty wine bottles for an x-mas light/bottle display. Of course, should we need to replace all the street lights in the local metro area with this same arrangement, we're here and ready to help.
"Movies you love more than others" is really not a good description. And it's not really "guilty pleasures," either, though that appellation could fit for some of the flicks discussed. We didn't really lay out a rigid set of parameters for the choices (which I know, is kinda against my sense of OCD, but we WERE making twinkle light lamp vessels!), but the subject spun off of our viewing of A Serious Man. That movie was nominated for an Oscar after all, and appeared on a great number of year end "best lists," so it's not without critical acclaim. But the Coens are an acquired taste for a great deal of the populace, the subject matter covered here could charitably be called "niche," the box office was miniscule and not everyone is a fan of black comedy. So the conversation was wandering into "I think I love this movie more than other people will" territory.

Here are a few other movies that came up. War of the Roses. Joe vs. the Volcano. Toys. Love & Death. Wonder Boys. Vanilla Sky. Certainly not awful movies, but movies that, for whatever reason, you like more than their mainstream popularity or acknowledged quality.

Then we kinda segued into "guilty pleasures," movies that you find yourself watching knowing full well that they are terrible. Like Deep Blue Sea or The Core.

Or movies that aren't particularly good, but have something that keeps bringing you back, like Kevin Costner's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, which I actually own on DVD for the spunky Marion and Alan Rickman's deliciously droll Sheriff of Nottingham. Or "cut-above" teen movies like 10 Things I Hate About You.

Finally, we talked about "movies that you watch almost every time they are on, even though you own them on DVD, just because you love them so fucking much." For me, there were some obvious choices here, like The Matrix, Caddyshack, Animal House, Raising Arizona, Pulp Fiction, Airplane!, Wrath of Khan, The Big Lebowski, The Incredibles and Casablanca.

Then there were others that, while they may be popular or have their own passionate followings, you seem to adore more than a lot of other people. Like Buckaroo Banzai, Big Trouble in Little China, Serenity, Excalibur, The Prestige, Minority Report or Contact. (Or, for example, the fact that we both think Vertigo is our favorite Hitchcock film, when many others would choose Rear Window, North by Northwest or Psycho. Though I do love those, too).

As a thought exercise, it was a little frustrating, given how amorphous the criteria was for selection. I mean, no one would say that Pulp Fiction is an "overlooked gem" or that Airplane! is a "guilty pleasure." A more analytical way to approach this might be to develop more clearly defined categories. Like:
  • Your most rewatchable movies.
  • Movies you love more than the general populace (comparing, for example, where you rank a movie on FlickChart compared to its overall ranking there. Or your passion for it compared it its box office).
  • Guilty pleasures.
  • Legitimately great movies that didn't get their due (from either critics or audiences).
But hey, we were drunk, and at the end of the day, we generated a list of flicks that we love and want to watch over and over again.

So what about you? What movies do you love "more than others?"


  1. I loved (enough to buy and watch repeatedly) the 1986 Neil Jordan movie "Mona Lisa." Bob Hoskins and Michael Caine star. For some reason Bob Hoskin's character touched my soul in a way that few do. Also loved Robbie Coltraine as his sidekick. The female lead, played by Cathy Tyson, did nothing for me. I think Hoskins (who I think is way underrated and under used) was nominated for an academy award for his role.

  2. That's a good choice for an "obscure" favorite. (I've liked quite a few Jordan movies, even the wackadoody "In Dreams," and Mona Lisa was no exception).