Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Can’t Get Enough of That Movie

If everything goes well tonight I will be seeing the new Sherlock Holmes film with a friend of ours tonight. This is not a sure thing, for we have a history of sudden cancellations with the person we’re supposed to meet there, and there are some concerns about the weather, since it looks like winter has finally decided to rear its frosty head here, just in time for the weekend.
Our friend has seen this movie multiple times since it came out. I think tonight will be at least her fourth viewing of it by now. It seems a little silly, but then I realized that there are movies that I watch, over and over and over again, too, though I don’t think I’ve ever gone to the theater to do it.
In fact, there are certain movies that I’ll watch all or part of any time they’re on, no matter what. Three minutes of commercials in the first period of a hockey game? Let’s flip through the guide and see what’s on – Oh, look at that! Let me just pop in for a bit…Funny how it works, isn’t it? Or, you have one of those nights where you just feel like vegging out. So, you sit down, turn on the tube, and surf the channel guide (hey, does anybody use TV Guide or the listings in the paper anymore?)….look at that, oh, it’s half over, well, I’ll just see what they’re up to…Next thing you know, an hour’s gone by on a movie you’ve seen a dozen times. I’m sure you have movies that do this to you. Here are a few movies that I just have to watch when they’re on:
Pulp Fiction. During Christmas week, I caught two segments of this while I should have been doing something else. Right before the end of break, I watched it, in its entirety, with my daughter, who had to watch it for her Theater Arts Class. (She loves it so much that she watched it the very next day with a friend of hers who’s also in the class). Pulp is filled with characters who are, let’s face it, reprehensible. Hit men, gangsters, cheaters, drug dealers – but they’re fascinating characters, played to perfection, with some really interesting (and often hysterical) things to say. I’m not big on picking favorites in general, but I think this movie does go down as my favorite.
Goodfellas. Hmm, I think there’s a trend here, as we get another gangster film. There’s a lot less humor in this than in Pulp, and it’s also based on a true story. Ray Liotta’s portrayal of unrpepentant wiseguy Henry Hill is outstanding, and heavyweights Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci are also terrific. It’s a fascinating (there’s that word again) look inside the world of organized crime, and I can’t help but tune in if I see it’s on.
Silence of theLambs. Man, I must have some problems. There’s a ton of great things in this movie, but let’s face it, the biggest draw is Anthony Hopkins. His chilling Dr. Hannibal Lecter may be the scariest monster in the history of film.
Okay, it’s not all dark and gloomy and full of blood and gore. Here’s a fun one that I just can’t resist: The Naked Gun. Leslie Nielson is perfect as the bumbling Lt. Frank Drebin, in a film full of sight gags, puns, and outright stupidity. My wife just doesn’t get it. Maybe it’s a guy thing. Just love this sort of thing:

I’m at a loss to say exactly what it is about these films that draw me in so much. Well, with The Naked Gun, it’s probably just for the laughs. And to catch some gag that I’ve probably missed. But the others, they’re not ‘feel good’ movies, not the sort of thing where you walk out feeling warm and gooshy about the human condition. But they’re damn good entertainment, nonetheless. The acting is superb, the story and writing top-notch. And I wonder if it is more the acting, or more the story that does it. I really don’t know.
I’m running off the rails here a bit today. At some future point I’ll deal with books I read over and over again. What about you? Anything you find yourself watching whenever it’s on? Why? Have a good weekend, everyone.

11 Responses

  1. Ah hah! I thought I was into dark subject matter! I love Pulp Fiction and Goodfellas but really can't watch them. Although that probably makes no sense since the movies I CAN watch again and again and again are Man On Fire (the Denzel one), Count of Monte Cristo and The Italian Job (the Marky Mark one). Man on Fire is pretty violent. I'm also a sucker for cheesy, formulaic romantic comedies. Can't get enough of those. And Groundhog Day and Mrs. Doubtfire–any time those are on I can't stop watching. Very odd.

  2. Whenever the kids or the hubs let me have the tv, I will always watch Harry Potter! Star Wars usually takes precedence too, and LOTR, and any and all episodes of Seinfeld. Oh and Weekend at Bernie's, lol. don't judge me!

  3. I guess I tend to go more for the "feel good" movies if I'm going to watch them over again, but then I'm also not much of a movie critic. I'll second Lisa's liking for Mrs. Doubtfire–I'll watch that anytime. And Secondhand Lions is one that just recently came my way.

  4. I hope you get to see SH. I've seen it once and thoroughly enjoyed it–even more than the first film, which I really liked, too.

    My youngest son and I saw the first pirates movie 10 times before it left the theaters. For me there was something magical about the wonderfully choreographed fight scenes, the humor, and the music. LOVED the music.

  5. When Harry Met Sally. I know it so well I can watch it with my eyes closed – very handy post Christmas lunch 🙂

    Look forward to the book version – I know I have a good handful of old faves!

  6. I can't say I watch movies over and over. I guess it's because I have so little time to watch movies, and so many great ones call my name. Oh! But I did watch the latest Star Trek movie twice. Both times in the theater, even! And I loved Sherlock Holmes! I thought it was fabulous.

  7. Lisa – it does make sense. My wife feels the same way about 'Goodfellas'. She thought it was a terrific movie, but she just couldn't watch it. We saw a series of movies like that before we were married – Goodfellas, Silence of the Lambs, Wild at Heart – it's a wonder she married me at all, given my taste in films!

    Cassie – I saw Weekend at Bernie's in the theater with a bunch of friends, and laughed hysterically throughout the movie. A number of years later, I saw it on cable, and maybe got through the first half hour. I think the group mindset was at work.

    We had to cancel Friday night because of weather – blowing and snowing, and little plowing, and it's a 30 minute drive to the nearest theater (ah, living in the sticks). We went last night. What a film! I really enjoyed it. Downey and Law have good chemistry on-screen, and you really have to pay attention. Thanks for the comments, all!

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