Want to see just how much your tastes have changed? Write a “Favorite Films” list…and revisit it a couple of times over 25 years. Given the upcoming “Commentary” level of my Patreon, posting a list of what films I enjoy made sense, giving Patrons a sense of what they might expect with my commentaries.
This will be the third iteration of my “favorite films” list for the ICRVN since the blog first began in 1997. In 2002, I updated the list (with categories such as True Classics, Fun Rides, and the like) with the films that were for the most part regularly on my watch list. Now, thanks to streaming media, how I watch films has changed. I watch much less TV than I used to, and I watch films far more often.
In fact, to avoid distractions when I am writing or drawing a new book, I won’t watch anything I haven’t seen before, so I tend to go thru periods where I don’t see a new film for some time. I am also finding myself less and less impressed by modern filmmakers, so the older I get the fewer choices I make from the modern era.
My list is also lacking in what many consider “guilty pleasures.” Not necessarily because of my viewing habits, but because my tastes have changed…dramatically. I had yet to crack 30 when I first wrote the list, and my tastes were still reflectively immature. (For example, Kevin Smith is no longer on my radar, unless someone else forces him into my notice…like on social media.)
Streaming media has also made distributing older or less popular films more economical for studios, so the lesser known Loy and Powell films, or 1950s propaganda-cum-Science Fiction films, are more readily available.
Also, it’s worth noting that there a lot of classics from my 2002 list now gone, films like Citizen Kane, or 12 Angry Men. Great films I enjoy, for various reasons, but these aren’t films I regularly pick to watch to unwind, so…off the list they go! Maybe some day I will do a list of films I think are important, whether or not I like them.
So, now that I am a card-carrying member of AARP…what films do I frequently turn to for my viewing? What are my actual “Favorite Films?” Well…
• YES, I DO HAVE A LIFE: There is one film on this list that changed my life, and I’ve easily watched it at least 1,500 times. I still watch it at least once a week. I’m sure you have already guessed it’s The Thin Man. And, that 1,500 is a conservative estimate.
A “Thin” Line? One note about the THIN MAN series. I first saw THE THIN MAN just shy of thirty years ago and have seen it a minimum of once a week since then. While I have not watched the remaining films in the series – After The Thin Man, Another Thin Man, Shadow of The Thin Man, The Thin Man Goes Home, and Song of the Thin Man – quite that often, it’s pretty darn close. So much so that I can say with some assurance that I have seen each sequel several hundred times. Even without the convenience of streaming, all six films could be watched in a single day – and I’ve done that more times than I could remember. For me, it’s the perfect film series.
• TIME ENOUGH AT LAST: These films have been watched well over 500 times. Not even kidding.
Dial M For Murder, The Hunt For Red October, Star Wars, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
• THE CENTURY CLUB: I don’t have a better name for this group. These are films I have seen a minimum of 100 times. Not all of them are perfect, but for whatever reason they speak to me enough that they are my comfort viewing.
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, Batman (1966), The Creature From The Black Lagoon, The Day The Earth Stood Still, Double Wedding, I Love You Again, Libeled Lady, Love Crazy, Manhunter, Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House, Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie, The Philadelphia Story, Terror By Night (Rathbone), Up Periscope (Garner)
• TOO CLOSE TO COMFORT: I have seen each of these films at least 50 times, but not often enough to crack 100 views. Or my old brain cannot remember if they’ve hit 100. For some, the only reason they aren’t in the Comfort/Century list is because they’re still fairly new films. Check back next year…many of these could move into the Century list.
Captain America: The First Avenger, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Kennel Murder Case, The Man From UNCLE, The Mouse That Roared, The Mummy (Fraser), Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Rocketeer, Rope, The Thomas Crown Affair (Brosnan), Three Amigos, Young Frankenstein
• “THE PROFESSOR AND MARY ANN”: AKA, “And the rest.” These fall into a variety of categories. They could be too new to have been watched a lot. Yet. Or, because of subject matter, they could only get rewatched at certain times. Or, even though I really like them, they might be really similar to another film. For example, I love Arsenic and Old Lace, but will usually opt for Mr Blandings instead. Or I’ll pick Up Periscope more often that the more jingoistic yet no less well made Destination Tokyo which is arguably the same story. A few are just too long, like the serials.
Arsenic and Old Lace, Blazing Saddles, Captain America: Civil War, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Casablanca, Destination Tokyo, Dr Strangelove, A Fish Called Wanda, Flash Gordon, Gojira (1954), High and Low (Heaven and Hell; Kurosawa), His Girl Friday, The Lodger (Novello), Lured, The Manchurian Candidate, Mister Roberts, The Mummy (Karloff), Nosferatu (Silent), The Princess Bride, Robin Hood (Disney), Singin’ In The Rain, Some Like it Hot, Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse, Star Trek II The Wrath Of Khan, Superman (Serial), The Adventures of Captain Marvel, The Last Starfighter
So there you have it! My favorite films list. For now. Comment below with yours!
THE 2002 LIST (alphabetical): The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, The Adventures of Captain Marvel, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, After the Thin Man, Akira, All Quiet on the Western Front, American Beauty, Army of Darkness, Arsenic and Old Lace, BASEketball, The Best Years of Our Lives, Blazing Saddles, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, Charade, Chasing Amy, Circus, Citizen Kane, A Clockwork Orange, Compulsion, Courage Under Fire, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Darkman, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Dial M For Murder, Dogma, Driven, Dr Dolittle (Murphy), Dr Dolittle 2, Dr Strangelove, Feris Beuler’s Day Off, Fight Club, A Fish Called Wanda, Glory, Gods and Monsters, Goldfinger, Harvey, Hellraiser, High and Low, His Girl Friday, The Hunt for Red October, Inherit the Wind, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, The King of Masks, Libeled Lady, The Lodger, The Lost Weekend, Love Crazy, The Manchurian Candidate, Manhunter, Men in Black, Mister Roberts, The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, Mystery Science Theatre 3000: The Movie, Nosferatu, Office Space, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Orgazmo, The Philadelphia Story, The Rocketeer, Rope, Schindler’s List, The Shadow, Shadow of the Vampire, Some Like it Hot, Spartacus, Star Wars: A New Hope, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Sunset Boulevard, The Thin Man, This is Spinal Tap, The Thomas Crown Affair (Brosnan Remake), Three Amigos, Twelve Angry Men, The Usual Suspects, The Wrong Man, X-Men, Young Frankenstein
THE 2017 LIST (alphabetical):A Fish Called Wanda, After The Thin Man, Another Thin Man, Arsenic and Old Lace, Batman (1966), Blazing Saddles, Captain America: Civil War, Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Casablanca, Destination Tokyo, Dial M For Murder, Double Wedding, Dr Strangelove, Flash Gordon, Gojira (1954), High and Low (Heaven and Hell; Kurosawa), His Girl Friday, I Love You Again, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Libeled Lady, Love Crazy, Lured, Manhunter, Mister Roberts, Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House, Mystery Science Theater 3000 The Movie, Nosferatu (Silent), Raiders of the Lost Ark, Robin Hood (Disney), Rope, Shadow of The Thin Man, Singin’ In The Rain, Some Like it Hot, Song of the Thin Man, Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse, Star Trek II The Wrath Of Khan, Star Wars, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Superman (Serial), Terror By Night (Rathbone), The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, The Adventures of Captain Marvel, The Creature From The Black Lagoon, The Day The Earth Stood Still, The Hunt For Red October, The Kennel Murder Case, The Last Starfighter, The Lodger (Novello), The Man From UNCLE, The Manchurian Candidate, The Mouse That Roared, The Mummy (Fraser), The Mummy (Karloff), The Philadelphia Story, The Princess Bride, The Rocketeer, The Thin Man, The Thin Man Goes Home, The Thomas Crown Affair (Brosnan), Three Amigos, Up Periscope (Garner), Young Frankenstein