My Most Watched Movies

July 10, 2012 — 16 Comments

The Criticwire Survey this week covered the topic of critics’ most watched movies. This isn’t best movies, or favourite movies, or guilty pleasures, but purely the movies that critics keep going back to over and over. A couple oddball choices are in there, like Certified Copy, but for the most part the choices reflect the ultimate quality for a re-watchable movie: fun. Films like Die Hard and Pulp Fiction show up, as do Ghostbusters and Star Wars.

These movies are all lots of fun. Even when they get serious they’re still a lot of fun to watch. Sure, there are movies I love to re-watch, like No Country for Old Men, that give me pleasure more through theme and character than pure entertainment, but those are rare. It’s far more likely that a movie like Drive comes along, which I find endlessly fun to watch. In fact, Drive is probably one of the most recent films to crack into my “most watched” category, or at least it’s well on its way, as is The Muppets. I just can’t get enough of these movies.

I often look at my Blu-ray shelf, which has loads of movies, many of which I re-watch, many of which I’ve only watched the once, and a few I’ve not yet seen. I’ll often sit and stare at my shelf of Criterion Collection releases, trying for many minutes to decide which serious, artistic, important film I’m going to put on, only to settle on J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek. I can’t help it. Since getting Star Trek on Blu-ray I must have watched it five bajillion times. It’s not even that it’s a great movie—though it is—and it’s not that it’s a guilty pleasure—because it’s not at all—it’s just that Star Trek is perfectly calculated to be as fun a movie as humanly possible. It’s bright and colourful and has funny characters that get into crazy action sequences, and it even delivers some solid emotional pathos to get you all the more invested in the fun. Plus, it’s got a cool time travel hook, and I go gaga for that sort of thing.

Of course, my most watched movie of all time has got to be Back to the Future. Or maybe not. Well, let me say for now that it’s Back to the Future. It’s my favourite movie, so that helps. I watch it almost once a month. It’s just so damn great. So fun! See? There’s that word again. Fun. I’ve got nothing to do and I want to be entertained for a bit, well I know for a fact that Back to the Future will do the trick.

But then, maybe that’s not my most watched movie. Looking back at my childhood I realize that I used to watch and re-watch certain movies way too often. There are the stable of Disney Renaissance films, which I still cherish. Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. Not sure which of those I watched the most, but I definitely watched them all a ton. The one movie of my childhood that I watched more than any other is probably Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. And hey, what do you know, Marty McFly himself voiced one of the dogs in the film. I loved that film and I still do. I still occasionally put it on and am instantly transported back to childhood. It’s wonderful and fun and heartwarming and it still makes me cry.

Then there are the Pixar movies. Toy Story counts as a movie of my childhood, sure, but I really only became a total Pixar nut around the time of The Incredibles. My first two Blu-rays were Cars and Ratatouille. Both of those now stand as my most watched Blu-rays. Hell, even though my favourite Pixar movie is The Incredibles, I still watch those other two films more often. Part of it comes down to them being my favourite Pixar films in visual quality, but they’re also just so damn fun and spry. I find The Incredibles weightier than Ratatouille, which despite having very complex themes, also has a whole ton of wonderful slapstick. But really, all the Pixar movies count as “most watched” in my world. That’s because, of course, they’re so much fun.

Other movies I watch a ton? Die Hard is one. Raiders of the Lost Ark is another. For some reason I also watch Close Encounters a lot. Slight less fun, but so totally mesmerizing. I love re-watching movies, and I especially love re-watching the fun ones. What would you say are your most watched films? Are there any great ones from your childhood that you used to watch endlessly like I did? Tell me all about them.

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16 responses to My Most Watched Movies

  1. 

    I don’t keep count on it so I’m not certain. A reasonable guess is Ivanhoe, since it was shown every Christmas on TV when I grew up and I never got tired of watching it.

    Apart from that it could very well be Groundhog Day. Which is a bit funny considering it’s theme. There’s just something about that movie that makes it enjoyable regardless of how many times you watch it.

  2. 

    My most watched movie of all time is also Back to the Future. Second to that is Once Upon a Time in the West. It always inspires me creatively.

    • 

      One Upon a Time in the West is an interesting pick. I adore the film. It’s in my Top 20. But I find it so operatic and beautiful that I don’t tend to put it on as a “fun” watch.

  3. 

    I’ve abused of my Gladiator DVDs and Blu-ray a fair bit. Bond obviously, especially the Connery ones and CR, although OHMSS gets some good play time.

    Shaw Brothers: Five Fingers of Death on DVD is one that gets a spin once every few months, as does Come Drink With Me.

    Alien was watched endlessly on DVD and blu-ray.

    Probably the one I’ve watched the most, arguably on par with the Bonds, is Star Wars: A New Hope. VHS, DVD, Blu-ray and seeing the special edition in theatres.

  4. 

    As I was reading this I was contemplating my most watched movie and decided it had to be…

    …and then you mentioned it…

    …Back To The Future! It is either that or Jaws or Aliens – films I’ve loved in childhood that I’ve continued to watch now.

  5. 

    How did you know that you needed to write this article at a time when I’m doing a mass cleansing (selling) of my movie collection simply because who can go back and watch all this stuff?

    Been doing some hard thinking about keeping the important films vs the ones I truly watch over and over again and my list is very, very small.

    Star Wars Saga.
    The Godfather Trilogy
    Nolan’s Batman (anything Batman really)
    Harry Potter Saga
    The Ten Commandments
    Indiana Jones Adventures
    Ben Hur
    Back to the Future Trilogy
    Oceans’ Trilogy
    Brave heart
    JFK
    Minority Report (my favorite Spielberg flick) and…
    Inception

    Every year, no matter what, these films get constant play. Every year. If I could keep those and discard the rest, I would.

  6. 

    I have the same Criterion shelf dilemma every single time I want to watch a movie…

    Almost always, when I say things are my “favorites” I mean that I could watch them whenever, wherever, ad nauseum. I’m not saying they are the best films I’ve ever seen (though, they largely are), but my mindset is similar to things like favorite food. When someone asks your favorite food you don’t list the one time you ate fine French cuisine, you probably list something like pizza or steak. So when someone asks me my favorite movie, I’ll easily say “Goodfellas” because I find it infinitely watchable and also very well-crafted.

  7. 

    Most watched movies… I’m surprised at myself but…

    The Godfather, part 1
    (the fight scenes in) Transformers 1
    Inception
    Matrix Reloaded
    Kingdom of Heaven
    Black Hawk Down

    Immensely fun to watch films, albeit a bit violent…

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