Go-to Movies

by Jen on September 25, 2008

in This film is not yet rated

There are certain movies that I will watch all or at least part of every time I stumble across them on TV. It’s not that these are my favorite movies, it’s that they are movies that are (in my opinion) entertaining and that I’ve seen so many times I can pick up viewing anywhere in the film and watch just a little (or a lot) with enjoyment. The plot can’t be difficult to follow. It’s also important that a Go-to Movie be one that is shown frequently on TV (in the case of certain channels, sometimes showing the same movie repeatedly back to back). These can’t be premeditated viewings, they must be spontaneous, stopping on one while clicking through the channels on a rainy Sunday perhaps. They are the perfect movies to watch while cleaning house, folding laundry or one of the many other onerous housekeeping tasks I find boring and tedious. This past summer, I found that they are also great movies to watch while caring for a newborn. What is required of a Go-to Movie is that it keep me from boredom while not requiring my full attention.

Movies on my Go-to List include:

Jaws (1975)
Although sharks are one of the true phobias* I have, I love this movie. Go figure. Oscar winner x3 and nominated for Best Picture. I used this film (since it is rated PG) as an example of the Hero’s Journey when I taught Psychology (Jungian archetypes and all that). Who can forget Quint’s dramatic telling of the story of the USS Indianapolis? “So, eleven hundred men went in the water; 316 men come out and the sharks took the rest, June the 29th, 1945.” (A true story.)

Overboard (1987)
Real-life couple Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell bring their real-life chemistry to this sleeper chick flick and it makes the movie. Plus, some of the best lines ever. “A falsetto child?”

Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)
Another Academy Award winner. And another nomination for Best Picture. The biography of Loretta Lynn; this movie made me a fan. Favorite song: The-Shel-Silverstein-penned “One’s on the Way.” (“They say to get her hair done, Liz flies all the way to France…”)

Blast From the Past (1999)
First of all, Brendan Fraser. Yum. Second, a thick coating of history/historical references. Third, Christopher Walken allowed to be at his wackiest, campiest best. Fourth, Sissy Spacek (again). Her character’s phrase, “Write that down” stated after each direction given to her son is something I find myself thinking often while giving directions to my classes. Plus, the soundtrack rocks.

You’ve Got Mail (1998)
A movie about book stores? Sign me up. Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks have great chemistry, which is a major component of this chick flick (well, of any romantic comedy, really). And their emails are so cute. I like the idea that they get to really know each other first and fall in love before they even see each other, as opposed to other romantic comedies where “love at first sight” is usually a major element. Bleh. Real relationships are based on far deeper things and this movie is a great example of that.

Independence Day (1996)
Will Smith! Aliens! And Brent Spiner from Star Trek:TNG playing a human! Mankind triumphs again, but it wouldn’t have happened without Will Smith’s smart-ass comments (and hot body).

But my original Go-To Movie? The one that started it all?

Meatballs (1979)
Not an Academy Award Winner, that’s for sure. Low-budget, Canadian movie making at its finest. But this was my fav-o-rite movie for several years in my late childhood. I always wanted to go to summer camp as a child. It still seems like it would be a lot of fun. And I can still sing the CIT song like I was one of them.

There are other movies that have made the list over the years, only to drop off as they haven’t held up to repeated viewings. For example, Pleasantville (because, damn, did TNT like to show that movie a lot.) Other previous Go-To movies just never seem to be shown anymore. Conan the Barbarian used to be a major part of what TBS called an “Arnold Afternoon” when they did a Schwarzenegger film-fest on a weekend. But since he became governor of Califor-nee-ya, it seems his movies are never aired.

Maternity leave and now, very early mornings, have given me lots of opportunities to channel surf, looking for something worthwhile (or not) to watch recently. Maybe winter is a better season for Go-To Movies, because I haven’t stumbled across very many on my list of late. The summer-themed ones are the ones I’ve been lucky enough to find. Jaws and Independence Day have been shown several times each in the past few months, of course.

But Meatballs? The number of times I’ve watched Meatballs since the Duck was born?**


And counting.

*Large spiders are my other true phobia. Not all spiders, just large ones.
**Currently one of Showtime’s offerings.

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