Sunday, August 09, 2009

My Top 5: Great Movies That Should Be Seen Only Once

Great movies--those films that cause members of the audience to be speechless upon leaving the theater--are rare, and should be respected and admired as great works of art.

If Van Gogh's Starry Night is hanging in your bathroom and da Vinci's Mona Lisa is framed behind your love seat, you'd eventually become desensitized to their beauty and more likley to notice their flaws. One of the things that make great works of art great is we don't have total access to them, or see them on a day-to-day basis.

But we do have total access to movies. We buy the DVDs and watch movies over and over and over.

I've a small DVD collection, mostly because I hate to see a movie twice. There are some exceptions; I own most of the comic book movies made during the last 20 years, and some comedies, like Borat, that make me laugh during each viewing. But while I enjoy re-watching those movies on occasion, I can't force myself to buy and re-watch the handful of films I value as high art. Those gems of cinema that inspired me, caused me to re-think an issue or which moved me in some dramatic fashion.

I simply cannot bring myself to risk enjoying those movies less by seeing them more often.

Here is My Top 5: Movies That Should Be Seen Only Once.

The Grapes Of Wrath: I saw the film in my early 20s, when I was just beginning to form strong opinions on topics like politics, and human and civil rights. I can still sense the despair of the Joad family, and feel inspired by the resilience of Tom.

Brokeback Mountain: Bold, brave and shot against brilliant scenery, Brokeback was a raw portrayal of forbidden love and affection. The pacing was perfect and the characters were endearing. Most importantly, the film put a human face on a topic with which many in the U.S. struggle.

Schindler's List: The style in which this movie is made --remember the red coat worn by the young girl, which stood out so much against the black and white background that it humanized her? --is reason enough for this movie to be great. Add the subject matter and performances of a lifetime from the best modern actors and it's easy to see why List is truly great art.

The Dark Knight: This Joker flick --and we all know it's really the Joker's movie, after all-- is more than a comic book movie. I fear watching it more than once might take away the feeling of complete satisfaction I had for hours after the viewing.

Raging Bull: A movie so good it nearly made me think I was watching a documentary. Raging Bull is, simply, perfect.


Chris James said...

I agree with 4 out of those 5, but TDK gets better each time I see it.

I just hope that I see The Joker in another moving in my lifetime. While Ledger's portrayal was great, I scoff at the notion posed by some fans and critics that he is somehow bigger than the definitive comic book villain.

primalscreamx said...

I'd add Requiem For A Dream. That kind of emotional destruction can't be viewed twice.

Paul Higginbotham said...

I agree with Chris. I'll be watching TDK many more times.

I'd add Chinatown to that list. What a fantastic movie but I couldn't take the ending again.