There are many films I like that are cinematic classics; Shawshank Redemption, Schindler’s List, 12 Angry Men… These films, while excellent, don’t really encourage regular viewing though; I’ve seen them all in the last year or two, but I probably won’t watch any of them again for another couple of years.
However, there is a subset of films that aren’t quite top tier, but which do have the honour of being films I can watch repeatedly, within a relatively short timespan. In order to qualify as one of these films, I look for three main things:
1) Good action set-pieces. If I’m watching a film for the third time in a year, I need to be excited and a good action sequence does that for me.
2) Humour, but not jokes. I want the script to be smart and light hearted, but out and out comedy isn’t quite as funny the second time, if you’ve seen it too recently.
3) No significant plot twist. While, I have no problem watching a film with a big twist again (and indeed, many such films benefit from a second viewing), a good twist rarely comes out of nowhere; a certain amount of time is spent setting up the pieces and that’s not always an exciting process to sit through twice in short succession.
With all that in mind, here are my top five films that I can watch over and over again.
Avengers Assemble – For me this is the quintessential “fun” film… a perfect balance of action, comedy and a decent plot.
Best action sequence: The whole battle for Manhatten was awesome, but The Hulk taking out the first leviathan was a standout moment.
Best humourous moment: “Doth mother know thou wearest her drapes?”
Stardust – Light fantasy at its best.
Best action sequence: Tristen fighting the dead Septimus.
Best humourous moment: Any bit with the ghosts, but their introduction was particularly good.
Pirates of the Caribbean – I once watched this three times in four days and enjoyed it each time.
Best action sequence: The fight in the blacksmith’s… swashbuckling goodness.
Best humourous moment: I love the expression of fond reminiscence when Jack is charged with “impersonating a member of the clergy”.
Sahara – This one is a bit of a guilty pleasure as it rather divided opinion, but I enjoyed it.
Best action sequence: The boat chase.
Best humourous moment: The Admiral’s interjections on the phone during the boat chase.
Serenity – The second Joss Whedon offering on this list. What can I say? I enjoy his work.
Best action sequence: “I’m a leaf on the wind… watch how I soar.”
Best humourous moment: The entire introduction to the crew is both funny and really establishes the characters for those who hadn’t seen the series.