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: