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What Are Your Favorite Movies, And Why?


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What are your favorite movies, and why?  For the purposes of this discussion, let's define "favorite" as "movies that you come back to, again and again, or years later, and always enjoy."

For me, in no particular order and probably left out a bunch of big ones due to "record store syndrome":

When Harry Met Sally

I surprised myself even considering this one, as it's not really my type of movie. But I recently caught it again on TV and realized that's the third or fourth time I've tripped across it and continued watching. It's a tight film that could work as a stage play. Only a few characters, well acted, doesn't stray from the subject, and not that I'm a sap or anything but what Harry says to Sally near the end always makes me tear up a little.

Europa Report

Wrote about this elsewhere on this forum.

Tom Jones

My father was in love with the movies. When I was very young he said once that if he had the money, he would buy a movie projector and watch movies all the time. About ten years later, an incredible new invention appeared: the video tape player. (Beta or VHS?) He did not have the money even for that but I swear we were the first family in town to have one, and by the time he died (about 25 years later) he had amassed an astounding collection of classic Hollywood movies.

One of the first he showed me was the 1963 Best Picture, Tom Jones. I can't say why I love it so much. It's goofy, fun, mostly well-acted, I thought Albert Finney was adorable (I was a teenager). All these years later I still laugh out loud at some of the lines.  "It's a good night to be [abroad/a broad] and looking for game."

I never caught Pop's love of the movies; books were my thing. I went and read the entire novel, unabridged, impressing the hell out of my English teacher, but that's another story.

The Usual Suspects

What can I say. It works. It just works. That penultimate scene after Verbal leaves the police station, and Dave Kujan looks around his office, carefully, and realizes what just happened... I just love that.

The Thomas Crown Affair

The remake. The original was one of my mother's favorites; I found it dated. I bet if I had a daughter she'd find the remake dated as well. But I love the kind of story where two smart, resourceful people try to outwit each other. I think this movie sort of fell apart at the end, but I still love it.

Alien

About ten years ago a restored version was released and I saw it at the Uptown. I can honestly say that it is the only movie I went back to years later that was actually better then I remembered. I don't even like thrillers, but this movie is great.

Lady and the Tramp

OK so maybe I am a sap.

Tremors

"Broke into the wrong goddamn rec-room, didn't you?!"

Starship Troopers

No explanation. Never has such an awful movie been so enjoyable. Denise Richards is hawt. Pass the popcorn.

Groundhog Day

"Anything different is good." How long did Phil spend in Punxsutawney, anyway?

True Stories

Sometimes I think I'm the only person in the world who likes this movie, a "celebration of specialness".

Porco Rosso

I guess I actually am a sap. The scene in which Curtis breaks into Gina's garden, and she reminisces about her and Marco flying... sigh. So beautiful.

Millennium Actress

Has anyone else even heard of this movie? I rented it from Erol's once on a whim when Mr. P was out of town and never stopped loving it.

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So, using Elizabeth's definition for "favorite movies", these are not the best movies I've seen, but the ones I rewatch over and over. Most of the movies I would consider the best I've seen are not on this list, because I am content to have seen them once or twice.

Sci-Fi/Fantasy - my first love

Highlander - There can be only one! Stunning cinematography, inventive plot and great flashback scenes, spawned one of my all-time favorite TV shows.

Princess Bride - I do not think that word means what you think it means. Charming film with brilliant performances.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - My 10-year-old self is still stunned by the revelation of Darth Vader being Luke's father.

Dark Knight - Christopher Nolan realizes the best comic stories from Frank Miller, Jeph Loeb, and Alan Moore in the best comic book movie ever filmed. Ledger is magnetic.

Blade Runner - Deckard is a replicant. If you don't agree, shut up.

Gattaca - The best pure SF movie made in the 90s.

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - A triumphant finale to the trilogy. I still weep at the (multiple) endings.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - Not as great a movie as the first, but more fun, and spawned the charming Young Indiana Jones Chronicles TV show.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - KHAAAAAAAN!

Sports

Bend It Like Beckham - overshadowed in the "cultural fish out of water" genre by My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which came out the same year, this is a superior movie in every way.

Bull Durham - is this rom-com masquerading as a baseball flick my favorite baseball movie?

Major League - or is this comedy masquerading as a baseball flick my favorite baseball movie?

Field of Dreams - or is this family drama masquerading as a baseball flick my favorite baseball movie?

The Natural - or is this baseball flick my favorite baseball movie?

Goal! The Dream Begins - sappy sports movie set in the soccer world.

Invincible - sappy sports movie set in the football world (bonus: Philadelphia)

Blind Side - another sappy football movie.

The Rookie - another sappy baseball movie.

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story - Because I laugh pretty much from the opening credits.

Rocky - YO, ADRIAN. (bonus: Philadelphia)

Animated

The Incredibles - Move over Marvel/DC - this is one of the best superhero movies ever made. Brad Bird also wrote *batteries not included, The Iron Giant, and Ratatouille.

Ratatouille - Anyone can cook.

My Neighbor Totoro - or pretty much any Studio Ghibli/Miyazaki film

WALL-E - The first line of dialogue doesn't come until after more than 20 minutes of film.

Finding Nemo - The sequel comes out this year, please don't let it suck.

Monsters Inc. - The sequel came out a few years ago. It sucked.

Nightmare Before Christmas - Brilliant film from Tim Burton.

The Rest

The Gods Must Be Crazy - What, you haven't seen this yet? Let me sit down and show it to you...

Big Night - Drooling just thinking about watching it again.

Clerks - Kevin Smith's indie masterpiece.

Good Will Hunting - People forget that Damon and Affleck won the Oscar for the screenplay that they wrote in their early 20s.

High Fidelity - Jack Black almost steals this movie from John Cusack.

Almost Famous - Cameron Crowe's semi-autobiographical masterpiece. Kate Hudson shows that she can truly act, a muscle she unfortunately has barely exercised since.

Bad Santa - Because I laugh pretty much constantly from the opening credits.

Dead Poets Society - Everyone remembers Robin Williams, but the kids included Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, and Josh Charles.

Amadaeus - The Special Edition is reason enough to keep my laserdisc player up and running. Well, that and the non-SE cuts of the original Star Wars trilogy.

The Right Stuff - Because I wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up.
Apollo 13 - Because I became an engineer instead, and they're the heroes here.

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Without spending 4 hours putting together a painstakingly detailed list, I would say:

Pretty much any of the Coen Brother's movies, but most of all:

Fargo

Big Lebowski

Burn After Reading

Any of the first 3 Wes Anderson flms (Bottlerocket, Rushmore, and Royal Tenenbaums). His schtick kind of wore thin after those, but I did enjoy The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and to a slightly lesser extent, Moonrise Kingdom.

Any of the original 3 Bourne movies.  I am constitutionally unable to turn away from these if they are on.

I Agree about Alien, and would say that it belongs not only on my "favorites" list but prominently on my "best" list as well.  I also tend to get sucked into even poorly made sci-fi thriller movies (even ones that I know are objectively terrible, like Event Horizon).

Inglorious Basterds. I can't say for sure why this one gets me, other than to say I love Christoph Waltz's performance.

Ocean's Eleven.  Great cast, great dialog, great editing.

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I am constitutionally unable to turn away from these if they are on.

...

Ocean's Eleven.  Great cast, great dialog, great editing.

That was my criteria. Not movies that I necessarily put on myself, but the ones that if I come across when channel flipping, require an automatic stop.

Ocean's 11 (1960) or Ocean's Eleven (2001)?

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Big Lebowski

Thank you!  I'm shocked it took all the way until post #5 before it got mentioned.  As I was about to type my next sentence (this one) I just started laughing out loud.  My wife asked why........."just thinking about The Big Lebowski" was my reply, and that pretty much says it all.  Absurdly brilliant and brilliantly absurd and it improves after every watching no matter how many times you've seen it.

Another movie that fits that description is Tropic Thunder - Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Cruise, Jack Black, Nick Notle and many others.  It's a movie inside another movie with a book, another movie and a play about the other movie thrown in.  Tom Cruise gives perhaps the most remarkable performance of his career but Robert Downey Jr. is completely unrecognizable in the most amazing way.  The DVD commentary may be better than the movie itself, but you have to watch the movie a couple of times to fully appreciate the unique brilliance of the commentary.  Like "Lebowski", this is a movie that rewards the viewer with repeated watchings.

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Love these choices here! Gonna try the following

I like a good score, and I can come back again and again to these scored by Elmer Bernstein
 
The Magnificent Seven. Love how Chris and Vin and O'Reilly are won over by the townspeople. Did you ever catch that Chris is a Cajun?  Harry Luck calls him one.
The Great Escape. Just love how the escapees got away the most unlikely of ways, by bicycle and hoboing, and by a slow rowboat. Also loved the daring attemtps by motorcyle and stolen airplane.
 
And this wierd score
The Third Man (the first appearance of Orson Welles in this is classic! And his story about the cuckoo clock!)
 
 
I love westerns and can't turn these down
 
Stagecoach (such simple story telling but really beautiful to watch)
 
The Searchers (almost an anti-western! John Wayne plays a character you can't admire)
 
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin was a marvel! The convention for statehood scene with the cowboy on horseback was funny!)
 
High Noon (Builds up tension! Surprised by Grace Kelly at the end. Great hook in the song)
 
Once Upon a Time in the West (Henry Fonda as a bad guy? He's really frightening. But this may be the sweatiest movie of all time)
 
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Blondie and his sidekick, Mexican Bill Carson!)
 
Treasure of the Sierra Madre (I consider it a western though there's some disagreement. Quite a morality story)
 
Blazing Saddles (That's Hedley! Trivia: Richard Pryor was supposed to be the lead but couldn't because of a contract, so he was just a co-writer instead)
 
My Darling Clementine (Love the scene with Fonda doing his footwork while in his chair on the boardwalk. I will watch anything with Linda Darnell!)
 
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon -- I tend to mix these up. They're thought of as a trilogy. This is where so many cliches about cavalry to the rescue came in.
 
Little Big Man (ETA) (A time period of revisiting myths about our history. Grandfather was very moving. Sometimes the magic doesn't work)
 
Pale Rider (ETA) (We love you, Preacher!)
 
Unforgiven (ETA) (Gene Hackman was outstanding. The Duck of Death kills me everytime)
 
The Westerner (ETA) (Walter Brennan as Judge Roy Bean. One of Gary Cooper's best roles)
 
Shane (ETA) (Maybe the all time best in its genre, but not my personal favorite.)
 
If you see a pattern that I like John Ford movies, here's a few more I can't refuse. 
 
The Grapes of Wrath (Gets criticized for its sanitized ending, I know, but still pretty good! Steinbeck was jealous of Woody Guthrie for summing it all up in 6 minutes of his song Tom Joad!)
 
How does Ford manage to make me homesick for towns and places I have never been to, and times I have never been a part of? I think there's something in the filming that captures the sunlight and jars my memory of my old home dirt road, where every neighbor was also a relative of mine.
 
I can't refuse the following. "The rent staysa the same!"
 
Godfather (May your first child be a masculine child)
Godfather II (Fanucci -- You have done well for yourself!)
Goodfellas (He's gone there wasn't nothing we could do about it.)
Casino (He IS as useless as tits on a boar!)
 
World War II movies
 
Casablanca (one of the most quotable movies ever! Tears even come to MY eyes when they sing La Marseillaise!)
 
 
The Best Years of Our Lives (Millie and Al's in Adams Morgan?) (I just love Myrna Loy and Teresa Wright in this!)
 
The Longest Day (the secret code that prompts the attack. John Wayne throwing down his coffee cup to rush to the briefing room. So many scenes. The cringeworthy theme song by Paul Anka though is terrible!)
 
Saving Private Ryan (When they see Cpt. Miller's hand shaking, holding the compass, and look around the circle at one another.)
 
Schindler's List (This list is LIFE!)
 
Bridge on the River Kwai (The Burmese women reacting to seeing their men being killed)
 
and the TV series Band of Brothers (Cajun from Bayou Chene, Doc Roe with the Belgian nurse. "God would never give someone such an awful thing.")
 
 
Odd ones
 
Night of the Iguana ( love the old man's poem he finally completes! Another great John Huston film.)
 
Groundhog Day (uplifting message in the end)
 
Chinatown (Great performances. John Huston was great in this).
 
Asphalt Jungle (Don't know why. The ending with Dix and Doll is heartbreaking)
 
More to come! I haven't covered baseball and sports in general yet, or comedies and musicals.
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The Quiet Man

Overall this movie is too dated and, well, a little stereotypically Irish for my tastes, but SPOILER ALERT it's all worth it for the scene where (iirc, it's been a loooong time), Maureen O'Hara's character opens the furnace door... you know which one I mean?  In which it becomes clear what it was all about for her?

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Overall this movie is too dated and, well, a little stereotypically Irish for my tastes, but SPOILER ALERT

Aargh - I forced myself to stop reading after seeing SPOILER ALERT, yet what you wrote before that makes me not want to watch it - has anyone listed Catch 22:wacko: (And no, I haven't even read the book yet, so I'm not going to see the film before I do (the book is worth reading, right?))

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Overall this movie is too dated and, well, a little stereotypically Irish for my tastes, but SPOILER ALERT it's all worth it for the scene where (iirc, it's been a loooong time), Maureen O'Hara's character opens the furnace door... you know which one I mean?  In which it becomes clear what it was all about for her?

The stereotypes in The Quiet Man certainly drew a lot of comment on the IMDB discussion board. I guess if I didn't overlook that kind of thing sometimes I'd have to discard just about my entire list of westerns! Cavalry to the "rescue!"

Yeah, the burning of the dowry in QM was a high point! I liked the performances by the priest and the minister, by the brother in law and the widow, and of course the matchmaker!

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I'll recommend Catch-22. Alan Arkin is amazing in it. For comedy I have to include The In-Laws with Arkin and Peter Falk. "Are you interested in joining? The benefits are terrific. The trick is not to get killed. That's really the key to the benefit program."

I was saying that as a joke about whether or not to finish porcupine's post!

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Other than those already mentioned:

Anything with Bogart

Anything with Bacall (the most beautiful woman who ever lived)

Anything with Cary Grant  (especially The Philadelphia Story)

Anything with Swayze (except Ghost and Dirty Dancing) (Roadhouse is my all-time favorite bad movie

Any Bond

A random shout-out to Up in the Air

And finally, I went through a phase where I couldn't turn around without Patton starting late at night. I must have watched it 30 times over the course of a couple of years. "I'm only going to watch the first 30 minutes", I'd say. At 2:30 AM, I'd still be watching as George C. Scott took his final ride

That and the Dirty Dozen are my all-time favorite WWII movies with Where Eagles Dare running a close 3rd.

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Serpico:   Is is Pacino?  Is it the real character?  Is it the time and place, the motorcycle, the disguises, the resignation, the intensity...or is it everything???   Have you seen it?   Watch it.  Let us know if you think this is a period piece or an all time great?

Godfather I and II.  They are intertwined with II having the prequel to I.  So many great roles and scenes.  I believe Vito Corleone is a real person.

Catch 22.   Interesting this was asked about and referenced above.   The ultimate in the absurdity of life and war.  A great book and film.

Animal House:   The greatest line in all of filmdom:   Politicians should use this line:

The Big Chill:   (okay this is a period piece--but its my period)!!!   and a terrific soundtrack.  Sometimes I watch the movie.  Sometimes I listen to the soundtrack.

and many others.

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How am I just now seeing this thread? I love *so* many films, but these I have watched multiple times and never grow tired of seeing:

Roman Holiday

Silver Linings Playbook

The Shawshank Redemption

Inception

Strictly Ballroom

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Saving Private Ryan

How the Grinch Stole Christmas--original cartoon version

These two come to mind as movies i have only seen once, but I would love to see again:

Cinema Paradiso

Babette's Feast

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To add to those listed above:

The Big Easy, mid ‘80’s film set in New Orleans.  Geez I found that film sexy.  It spurred me to visit New Orleans a fair bit for about 6 years.  I still enjoy it, rewatching it  every few years.

Goodfellas:  Another great gangster movie.  I love the scene when Henry and Karen walk through the nightclub kitchen:  I think that is a great scene let alone a great foodie scene.  So many great  gangster scenes and gangster murders let alone some nice cooking in the Pen.

Mel Brooks’ broadest comedies.   Funniest guy ever??  Maybe.

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I am not a huge movie person- I don't know how one is not a big movie person, but I just don't watch a lot of movies.  I like going to see movies in theaters (I know I am so not a millennial), but I am not a big sit at home and watch a movie person.  But I will preface that with I like watching really long saga movies at home where I can stop them to get a snack or go to the bathroom, they should bring back intermission on any movie over 2 hours. That being said:

The Man Who Knew Too Little- I just love this movie, it makes me laugh every time I watch it, I like the part where he is kicking up the speed cones.  I will watch anything with Bill Murray.

The Life Aquatic- the combination of the soundtrack, Wes Anderson (I love all of his movies) and the scene when they are walking through the town just make this movie for me, and plus it has Bill Murray.

Sabrina- This was a favorite growing up, and Audrey Hepburn is what I will look like in my next life if I am really good in this one.

Star Wars- all of the classics, and Rogue One- I like a couple of the other most recents, but I just love Rogue One.

I miss all the Mel Brooks movies, I haven't seen them in ages, "It's good to be the King." I also was a big fan of Monty Python back in the day and still remember a lot of their movies.

I like a lot of animated movies, and the ones listed above are all favorites.  The other movies I love are based on loving the books, and I don't know that is fair- Lord of the Rings, Hunger Games, Harry Potter, etc. I am sure I am missing a bunch of my favorites, but I can't think of them.  You all would be appalled at the number of classic movies I just haven't seen though.

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On 9/27/2018 at 4:10 PM, ktmoomau said:

The Life Aquatic- the combination of the soundtrack, Wes Anderson (I love all of his movies) and the scene when they are walking through the town just make this movie for me, and plus it has Bill Murray.

I liked blowing open the safe, finding nothing in it, and the remark "That's it. I'm retired."

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On 3/30/2016 at 9:16 PM, MC Horoscope said:

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Lee Marvin was a marvel! The convention for statehood scene with the cowboy on horseback was funny!)

Just off the top of my head, two films pop to mind:

"The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" for sure - I adore this film, and have seen it at least twice in the past couple of years. It's my very favorite Western, and I can't really think of a runner-up (it would probably be "The Shootist," which I also love, but that has some gaps; "Liberty Valance" is pure poetry). Interestingly, John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart are in both movies (click on both of those links to see why I contend that we're so much more than a "food website").

"A Clockwork Orange" - I saw this in my early 20s, and it just stuck with me. It's depraved, bizarre, and I saw it before I studied Russian, so it sounded like they were speaking Plutonian. It snagged me early on, and I've never gotten tired of it.

I can't say either of these are "The Best" movies I've ever seen; just two that came to mind. However, I might choose "Liberty Valance" as a deathbed film - that's how much I like it.

---

A Clockwork Orange (MC Horoscope)

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On 5/17/2016 at 1:39 AM, DIShGo said:

These two come to mind as movies i have only seen once, but I would love to see again:

Cinema Paradiso

Babette's Feast

This one. Favorite movie of all time - and I'm not a movie guy - so it's odd that my favorite is an homage to the power of film.  Just the power of the story, the depiction of this small town in Italy and an amazing film score that's inextricably tied to the story permanently in my head.  

On the kids/adults movies front, I'd throw in Pete Doctor's movies: Inside Out, Up, Monsters Inc.  The palette is animation, but he's an amazing filmmaker and storyteller.  

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I rarely see any film more than once, even ones I really enjoy ... with the exception of The Breakfast Club. Like DaveO with The Big Chill, The Breakfast Club is totally of my time. (I was in junior high when it came out.) My husband even thinks I look a little like Ally Sheedy (but, as I always like to point out, not her character in The Breakfast Club). I can recite a lot of the lines, and if I happen to catch it on TV I'll probably watch at least some of it.

Some films I've only seen once that really enthralled me and I'd like to watch again:

In the Mood for Love

Dog Day Afternoon

Requiem for a Dream

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Forgot a couple that I really liked, but haven't seen in ages so don't know if they hold up. 

What's Eating Gilbert Grape?  A break-out film for both Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio.  Depp (Gilbert of the title) a teenager in a nowhere town with a nothing job trying to hold together a family straining under the loads of grief and poverty, with a brother (DiCaprio) with developmental disabilities and morbidly obese housebound mother.

Bagdad Cafe -- an isolated desert gas station/diner/motel whose inhabitants/regulars are changed by the arrival of a German tourist after she leaves/is dumped by her husband nearby.

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On 12/13/2018 at 4:34 PM, DonRocks said:

"The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" for sure - I adore this film, and have seen it at least twice in the past couple of years. It's my very favorite Western, and I can't really think of a runner-up (it would probably be "The Shootist," which I also love, but that has some gaps; "Liberty Valance" is pure poetry). Interestingly, John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart are in both movies (click on both of those links to see why I contend that we're so much more than a "food website").

Would someone who doesn't know this, watch it, and give an honest opinion? I'm wondering if it's just me.

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I have favorite directors and favorite scenes and films I admire and favorite movie-going experiences, but I don’t think I have favorite films.  I rarely rewatch films (or reread books, for that matter).  Don’t know whether that makes me weird (among cinephiles or bookaholics), or if there’s just a basic split between people who gravitate toward intensive vs extensive approaches (wrt particular pleasures).  Food (making and eating) and music are categories where I appreciate regularly revisiting favorite things.  Visual arts and games occupy a more middle ground for me — I appreciate both novelty and revisiting in those cases, with games closer to the movies end of the spectrum and visual arts closer to food. 

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23 minutes ago, smithhemb said:

I don’t think I have favorite films.  I rarely rewatch films

I used to consider myself a cinephile before having a kid (now I rarely get to the theater and can't often stay awake to watch an entire film at home), but I'm the same way.

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5 hours ago, smithhemb said:

I have favorite directors and favorite scenes and films I admire and favorite movie-going experiences, but I don’t think I have favorite films.  I rarely rewatch films (or reread books, for that matter).  Don’t know whether that makes me weird (among cinephiles or bookaholics), or if there’s just a basic split between people who gravitate toward intensive vs extensive approaches (wrt particular pleasures).  Food (making and eating) and music are categories where I appreciate regularly revisiting favorite things.  Visual arts and games occupy a more middle ground for me — I appreciate both novelty and revisiting in those cases, with games closer to the movies end of the spectrum and visual arts closer to food. 

Watch Babette's Feast if you haven't - I'm willing to bet that will be a favorite film.

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On 9/8/2018 at 2:11 AM, DonRocks said:

This is a tough one for me as well, but one film that came to mind, especially after last night, is "Deliverance."

There are so many fims - not just films, but "moments within films," that would qualify them on this list for me - I'm going to continuously update this post over time.

I can't shake "Deliverance" from my Favorite Movies list.

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