I like to have background noise while I am working. I don't know if it is because I am a product of the age of multi-tasking or simply because I have concentration issues, but my mind tends to get bored when it only has one thing going on. It is not particularly unusual to find me seated at my computer desk typing an article while simultaneously watching television, throwing down some Nintendo action, and chatting with my fiancee (I like to call this "living the dream"). After years of functioning in this manner -- as a college student, it is now nearly impossible for me to be working at my computer without at least one other function happening simultaneously -- I feel like I'm wasting good time if I'm only working. Ergo when I sit down with my laptop to blog, it is almost a guarantee that I'll be either listening to a Pirates game online or watching a film. Sometimes, I'll substitute Gamecast instead of audio for the Pirates; then I can keep track of the Pirates game while watching a movie.

Now as you'd expect from a guy who gets paid to write about movies, I own a lot of movies. However, It'd bankrupt me to own enough movies to have a new one for every time I blog or do other work on my computer. I've written before about my love of commentary tracks, as a good one can double the watchable length of a film. Every now and then you get a great DVD with two or more commentary tracks, and you've got that many more good viewings of the DVD in store. Bonus documentaries, featurettes, and making ofs can also extend the life of a DVD. But what do you do when you've got nothing new on the shelf and are jonesing for a good flick? You go to one of your standbys. We've all got them -- that handful of films you could watch on seemingly endless repeat for eternity and never get bored. It is a quality that video games refer to as "replay value," and although some films (like The Princess Bride and Monty Python and the Holy Grail) have almost universal rewatchability, some are highly dependent on the individual viewer. Here are a select few from the very top of my list, the movies I am most likely to grab off the shelf when I'm in need of something to watch:
  • King of rewatchability in Markworld (TM) is most likely The Sandlot. I kid you not, I've probably seen the film at least two dozen times. If pressed, I imagine I could recite close to 90% of it, complete with proper intonation. I'm not sure what it is about this film that appeals to me so, but I love it.
  • Running a close second is The Blues Brothers, a seminal comedy. And not only does it feature the unstoppably hilarious duo of Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, it has great music to boot. It also happens to be one of the most quotable movies ever made.
  • The Emperor's New Groove also ranks up there somewhere. I know it makes me sound like a tremendous goof ball, but this movie cracks me up from the intro theme song to the final Junior Chipmunks scene.
  • Mystery Men. Okay, now I know you are all rolling your eyes -- I can feel it from here. The director of this film was a moron who somehow happened to get incredibly lucky. Any movie that pulls together the comedic talents of Ben Stiller, Geoffry Rush, William H. Macy, and Hank Azaria has to be worth something. Granted, it suffers from some bad gags and some flat set-ups, but the main three characters sell the humor well. Also tremendously quotable.
Okay, I take back everything I said about The Sandlot and The Blues Brothers, because I just realized one film (or rather, one film franchise) beats them both hollow. There will never be movies more worthy of watching hundreds of times than the classic Muppet trilogy -- particularly the original Muppet Movie. Better films simply cannot be found. I believe endearing is the appropriate word here; the Muppets' comedic stylings are unmatched in today's world of cinema. Even Brian Henson's two flicks (Christmas Carol and Treasure Island) are a treat.

Throw in the classic Star Wars trilogy, some Back to the Future, and the aforementioned Princess Bride and Monty Python, and you've got my top repeat-viewing list pretty well wrapped up. So it seems that despite my general geek-love tendencies, the movies which hold the most replay value for me are silly, feel-good comedies chock full of quotable one-liners and lovable, wacky characters. And for the most part, they're even family-friendly.

So does anything from my list match up with your viewing habits? What do you grab from the shelf when you need a quick movie fix and don't have anything new on hand? Do you find that like me, you trend towards a particular genre, or are your favorites scattered across the proverbial board?

See you here again next week: same geek time, same geek ... uh ... website.
categories Columns, Cinematical