Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rewatchability, Showing Favoritism

Whenever I watch the shows showcasing their lists of the greatest films of all-time, I tend to always wonder if there truly is a film that is greater than the other. It's an entirely subjective argument. While one person may think Citizen Kane is the best film of all-time, there are countless others who might champion a film like Dumb and Dumber. Since it is entirely subjective, these vast lists are nothing more than an accumulation of a certain amount of people's favorite film's list.

What makes me bring up this subject is that earlier today me and my friend were talking about our favorite movies of all-time, and how we can classify them as such. In other words, what makes those movies so much better to us than any others we have ever seen. It all boils down to one word, nostalgia, or a word that I like a lot better, rewatchability.

There are many great films out there, in just nineteen years I feel I have only scratched the surface. Over the years I have seen many of the classics, arthouse films, and populist entertainment. My thoughts on these various films typically do not differ based off of what type of film it is; a quality film is a quality film regardless of its genre or the audience in which it is trying to appeal to. Taking this to heart I had begun to question what were truly my favorite films of all-time.

This is something commonly asked whenever you make new friends, something in which often defines you as a person in some people's eyes. While I could easily go with the quality of Orson Welles, the innovativeness of Godard, or the suspenseful view of Hitchcock, in determining my own favorite films of all-time it all comes down to one thing, rewatchability.

Rewatchability simply means whether or not you could continue to watch a particular film over and over again for the rest of your life and still never get tired of it. Rewatchability has nothing to do with how well-made a film is, it all boils down to how you feel when you watch it time and time again; whether you cry at the sappy ending, or laugh at your favorite scene, or even cheer where it's appropriate. I have seen many well made films, many of which I quite enjoyed and would label an A+ film, but at the end of the day do I feel like I could watch that film again, probably not. So while a film may be an A+ in quality, it's not an A+ in rewatchability, which is all that matters in the long run between it just being a critically popular film to being a beloved classic.

To show a fine example of this I'll use two recent films, both highly popular, and both I really enjoyed. I am speaking of Batman Begins and its sequel, The Dark Knight. While in terms of quality filmmaking, I'd have to give The Dark Knight the edge over Batman Begins. The Dark Knight was far more serious, far more complex, and far more thought-provoking, but what makes me like Batman Begins more is simply the fact that it's more emotional, more entertaining. In the first, I cheer when Batman stops the monorail from erupting fear gas across all Gotham, I feel sad when Bruce loses his parents, and I laugh each time Gary Oldman makes his comments upon first seeing the Tumbler. When it comes right down to it, I can rewatch Batman Begins a great number more times than I could The Dark Knight. Rewatchability.

Based upon the principle of rewatchability, I've decided to compile my own list of my 25 favorite films of all-time, ranging from number 25 all the way down to my favorite film ever made. On this list you will find many films by the same filmmakers, and that is simply because they make the type of films in which I can enjoy. There are also a few comic book films scattered within, and what can I say, I'm a geek. Without further ado:

25. Johnny English
24. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
23. It's a Wonderful Life
22. Back to the Future
21. Singin' in the Rain
20. Secondhand Lions
19. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
18. Princess Mononoke
17. Rear Window
16. Jaws
15. Hot Fuzz
14. Spider-man 2
13. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
12. Batman Begins
11. My Neighbor Totoro
10. Howl's Moving Castle
9. Jurassic Park
8. Arsenic and Old Lace
7. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
6. Raiders of the Lost Ark
5. Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
4. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
3. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
2. Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
1. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

Sound off in the comments below on your own opinions on what your favorite films are.

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