Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Helen: Movies, the First Time

I love every kind of good movie, suspense, adventure, drama, romantic comedy, you name it. My favorite movies are the kind that keep me guessing until the end. You know, the ones with twists and turns making it difficult, if not impossible, to tell how the story’s going to play out.

My son and I love guessing what’s going to happen next in movies. Why a certain turning point either works or doesn’t work. I think he’s a writer in the making. It drives my husband and daughter crazy. But to me, letting myself get carried away with the characters and story, with the surprises in the plot, is part of the fun. That’s why I hardly ever watch movies twice.

Oh, there are a few that I can watch over and over again. Either because I find the dialogue so interesting, or the story/acting so engaging that I find new ways to enjoy the movie for the second, third, even fourth time. Movies like THE PRINCESS BRIDE, or WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING. But for the most part, once I’ve seen a movie I never can enjoy it as much the second time around. The surprise is gone. Movies like THE STING, THE CRYING GAME, THE USUAL SUSPECTS, and THE SIXTH SENSE.

Then there are movies that don’t really have plot twists as much as they totally blow my mind with regard to new, never before seen story concepts or production innovations. Movies like TOY STORY, JURASSIC PARK, THE MATRIX, or THE LORD OF THE RINGS.

Remember seeing TOY STORY for the first time and marveling at the incredible animation? Or JURASSIC PARK? I kept thinking, “How did they do that?” I was on the edge of my seat that entire movie. People were dying left and right, so everyone was fair game. I really wasn’t sure who was going to make it off that island alive.

So whether you’re like me and don’t normally watch movies more than once, or you’re the type of person that watches favorite movies over and over, there must be a movie you’d love to see again for the first time. What is it? And are you the one-timer, or the over-and-over-againer?


Betina Krahn said...

I confess. . . there are certain movies that I CAN watch over and over and do-- whenever the SO is out of range. I don't know what it is about them. . . some I thought were good in the theater, but wasn't blown away by. . . which upon second watching became fascinating to me.

Dialogue is a big thing for me. "Lake Placid" has some of the best dialog of any sci-fi flick in recent years. Great character development as well. And what a varied and adorable cast! So yeah, I've seen it at least a dozen times and it never gets old. go figure.

My other favorites are mostly SciFi, too: "The Fifth Element," "Evolution," "Independence Day," "Jurassic Park," "Galaxy Quest," and "Ghostbusters." I'll watch any of those movies whenever it's on-- unless, of course there are more pressing opportunities or obligations. Each has appealing characters, snappy dialog (at least in places), great visual effects, and most (except for Jurassice Park) have a tongue-in-cheek tone that I love.

There are a few others that blow me away: "Big Trouble" which was severely underrated and really really clever and funny. "Stigmata" which was dark and religious and romantic and has Gabriel Byrne as a priest and Patricia Arquette as one of the most real and appealing characters on celluloid. It has music that is masterfully done and really contributes to the tension and urba feel of the piece. Another I feel strongly about is Kenneth Branaugh's "Henry V." The music, along with Branaugh's direction and performance, made this one for the ages. I've watched it over and over and it never fails to stir me. It's the movie that inspired my sons to read and love Shakespeare! Helen, have your potential-writer son take a look at it and see what he thinks!
And of course, there's the Lord of the Rings trilogy. . . which I love and will watch again and again. . . but probably not as often as the others.

There you have it. My list of weaknesses. And in confessing them. . . I've discovered the things really draw me to a movie again and again: snappy dialog, humor, good music, and a hint of the supernatural.

Thanks, Helen!

:) Betina

Helen Brenna said...

I've never seen Lake Placid, Henry the V, or Big Trouble. Thanks for the ideas, Betina.

I loved Galaxy Guest - want to watch Stigmata again - I'm a big Gabriel Byrne fan.

Your comment made me think of DOGMA, that strange movie with a star-studded cast. Who directed that?

Candace said...

There are lots of movies I'll watch over and over, too. And others that once was enough.

My DH is the same way. Some nights when there is nothing appealing on any of the umpteen million channels, we'll put one of those favorites in the DVD. Moonstruck gets watched around here at least 3 times a year and we always have what we call Moonstruck eggs (a piece of bread with a hole in it and the egg broken and fried in the hole -- Olympia Dukacuis makes them for Cher)sometime during the day. Other favorites are Independence Day, Jurassic Park, Galaxy Quest, the Back To The Future series, lots of John Wayne stuff, esp. The Quiet Man, Rio Bravo, and The Angel and the Badman (a really old one) and on and on...

Helen Brenna said...

I love Moonstruck! Though I can't seem to get anyone else in my family interested in watching it again.

Reel Fanatic said...

I have to confess that I had to watch The Usual Suspects at least twice because, at the end of the first time, I just couldn't possibly believe that it could all add up ... It took a second and third time to digest all the visual clues that add up to the ending

Helen Brenna said...

Reel, I think I had to watch The Usual Suspects a second time too. A movie like that, though, is never the same that next time round. Keyser Soze. Ha! I love Kevin Spacey!

I might have to watch that one again afterall! Just for the amazing dialogue.