Monday, June 7, 2021

Pressing REPLAY

HALLIE EPHRON: I was saddened to see the recent obituary for Olympia Dukakis. I’m a huge fan and it got me thinking about one of my favorite movies: MOONSTRUCK. She plays Cher’s mother, worldly wise when she tells her husband that she knows he’s cheating on her, she wants him to stop, and “I just want you to know no matter what you do, you're gonna die, just like everybody else.” It’s a classic moment.



I watched the movie again the other night (it’s on Amazon Prime) and once again marveled at Dukakis’s performance. And Cher’s. And Vincent Gardenia as the father and Nicholas Cage as the wounded raging hot-as-hell Ronny Cammareri. It’s SO good. Even viewed for the umpteenth time. The opening scenes are full of little “Easter eggs” hinting at scenes that will take place later (a shot that establishes the neighborhood shows us a busy street with a moving van with METROPOLITAN OPERA emblazoned on its side).

I have the same experience when I watch THE WIZARD OF OZ again. And again. So much is seeded in those opening scenes on the farm (Dorothy falls into the pig pen and gets rescued by a terrified farmhand who will later be the cowardly lion). And it’s great fun anticipating the delivery of a great line. (“I’m a very good man - I’m just a very bad wizard.” “What a world, what a world.” )

Is there a movie that’s so good that you can watch it over and over again?

LUCY BURDETTE: Hallie, did you know that Frank Bruni recommended that everyone watch MOONSTRUCK again during the pandemic? So John and I did--it’s so fabulous! Every actor is amazing and the story, so romantic.

Another one that I love is LOVE ACTUALLY, but once a year for that is enough. And SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE--I can’t say how many times I have watched that one. I especially love Tom Hanks.

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Such a good question. You know--WORKING GIRL, with Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford. She’s from the wrong side of the river, but she’s smart and ambitious and willing to do the work.

I am a big fan of ugly duckling stories, especially when the ugly duckling is smart, and this is one of those. And that fantastic anthem “Let the River Run” sung by Carly Simon. And in the end, (spoiler) she is SO HAPPY, and then the camera pulls out to show she is just one little little person. Ahhh.



In that same smart duckling vein, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA. Oh, when Andi comes out in the Chanel boots? When Miranda lectures her about turquoise? It’s touching, and wonderful, and SO funny.

And I would always watch The Godfather, and Casablanca, and Lawrence of Arabia. To Kill A Mockingbird, too, we watched that the other night, in fact. OH! And MY COUSIN VINNY. CLASSIC. Hilarious. Every. Time. I’ll stop now.

HALLIE: POSITRACTION!

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Hank, I love WORKING GIRL, and you’ve inspired me to re-watch it again. It’s SO eighties, and yes, the Carly Simon song stands as one of the greatest movie themes ever. Every second-rate film gets an updated version; why hasn’t anyone done a remake of WORKING GIRL?

I’ve talked before about how my family has seasonal movie rewinds: THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW during the first big storm of winter, DIE HARD on Christmas Eve, and INDEPENDENCE DAY (the original, not the terrible, terrible sequel) on, well, you can guess when we watch that.

But if we’re talking about movies I will sit down again and again for, I have two comedies that never stop amusing me: SPY, starring Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne and Jason Statham (who is great at playing an over-the-top version of his usual tough-guy role) and DOWN WITH LOVE, a somewhat-obscure, wonderfully stylish homage to all those Doris Day/Rock Hudson romantic comedies of the early 60s, with Renee Zellweger in the Doris Day role, Ewan McGregor “as” Rock Hudson/Cary Grant/James Garner, and David Hyde Pierce, who is almost more Tony Randall than Tony Randall was!



JENN McKINLAY: Julia, I loved, SPY, and now I must see DOWN WITH LOVE. I was such an old movie buff as a teen that I consumed all the Doris Day/Rock Hudson or James Garner movies, fell in love with Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin in IF A MAN ANSWERS (so great!), and decided to become a writer of rom-coms because of ROMANCING THE STONE. Also, I will stop whatever I’m doing and watch any movie Elvis is in if one comes on. The movie that I always double back to, however, is FIELD OF DREAMS. A multi-layered, poignant, family centric movie with loads of magical realism -- it ticks all of my boxes. Plus, I’ve been in love with James Earl Jones forever, so there’s that.

RHYS BOWEN:; The movies I watch over and over depend on my mood. Like Hank I can rewatch THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA. I adore OUT OF AFRICA but only when I’m prepared for a good weep. I have the DVD of ENCHANTED APRIL which is the perfect escape movie for me, also MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, ROMAN HOLIDAY and even LETTERS TO JULIET. I suppose I rewatch sweet, sappy movies when I need calming down or cheering up. My recent go-to was MAMA MIA. Who couldn’t feel cheerful when singing along?

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Love love love MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. So many good suggestions here, but I haven’t seen SPY or DOWN WITH LOVE. I’m a huge Ewan McGregor fan so that one is going on my list asap.

I have my perennial faves, like LOVE ACTUALLY and THE HOLIDAY, oh, and NOTTING HILL, of course, but I would love to see ROMANCING THE STONE again. FIELD OF DREAMS is my daughter’s favorite movie ever, and I love BULL DURHAM. It’s summer and baseball season, time to get those out again!

But you know what I’m thinking I’d like to rewatch? SPEED. Such a great action movie. Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock were adorable, the supporting cast was terrific, and the stunts were amazing.

HALLIE: I’ve never seen SPEED. Or DOWN WITH LOVE. Or MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. What about you, what’s going on your to-watch list and what would you recommend for over-and-over watching?

87 comments:

  1. I could watch TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD a gazillion times and still enjoy every second of it. Mostly, I tend to re-watch science fiction . . . THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, ET THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY. INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS scared me big time when I was a kid; it still scares me . . . .

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    1. THE FIFTH ELEMENT! GALAXY QUEST! MEN IN BLACK. I'm a big sci fi fan too.

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    2. Galaxy Quest holds up so well because it gets just about everything right.

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    3. Yes to all of those! And throw in Tremors.

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    4. Add Galaxy Quest to my list as well.

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  2. Oh, my! You all have mentioned so many movies I'd watch again, that I do watch again. I'm going to repeat them with ones not mentioned. So, the ones I can think of now are Love Actually, Mama Mia, Out of Africa, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Long Kiss Goodnight (Gena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson), Forget Paris (Billy Crystal and Debra Winger, hilarious and heartwarming), Forrest Gump, Throw Momma from the Train, The Holiday, Notting Hill, Die Hard, Independence Day, Midnight at the Museum, Hook, The Shining (Jack Nicholson one), Clue, and Jurassic Park. I know there are some favorites I'm leaving out.

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    1. OK, I've already realized I left out Broadcast News (one of my most favorites); BeetleJuice; Young Frankenstein; There's Something About Mary; Planes, Trains, and Automobiles; and Fried Green Tomatoes.

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  3. I always feel a bit out of it during these discussions. I rarely rewatch a movie, haven't watch half the ones mentioned, and don't watch movies on demand much. In the Before Times, we went to movies a lot, especially when they showed at our little art cinema, the Screening Room. In this season, though, Hugh is watching either baseball or soccer every night and I'm in the other room reading.

    I would love to rewatch Moonstruck and will see if the library has it (we don't do Amazon anything except for them selling my books, of course, and an occasional Kindle book purchase). Field of Dreams was great, and The Devil Wears Prada. For a weepy romantic watch, I have a soft spot for Bridges of Madison County.

    I'm sure there are more, but I can't come up with them. Thus my opening comment!

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  4. I am in the minority here I see. An effect of the pandemic is that neither I nor Julie seem to be able to sit through a movie. Any thing longer than 45 minutes isn't attractive to us right now. We are watching Line of Duty, usually one episode an evening, thanks to Deb's recommendation.

    All the movies you mention are memorable. And Die Hard is a Christmas must. During Lent we always watch The Last Temptation of Christ, hoping it will p*ss off Opus Dei. The ones we watch in normal times, over and over, are Mouse Hunt, Blaze of Glory, and Fargo -- anything with Frances McDormand is worth seeing over and over and over.

    It's taken me three evenings to read a book, couple of hours per evening, and I've been very impatient with the ones that don't grab me by the first couple of pages. This is what I do instead of watching a movie I guess.

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    1. And I thought I was the only one who now needs to take my entertainment in chunks. I'm rewatching BACK TO THE FUTURE -- 20 minutes at a time. Agreed: two thumbs up for anything with Frances McDormand.

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  5. "Ma, I love him awful". Such a great line.

    Midnight in Paris is brilliant, and I would watch it again, if only to spot all the historical figures. I saw it right after I'd read The Paris Wife, and the first "night" of his adventure includes so many of the same people.

    My Fair Lady was the first non-animated film I ever saw in a theater, and one of the few times I ever spent with my paternal grandmother, just the two of us. I've loved it my whole life, and can remember all the words. It is on Netflix now and I recently sat down and cheeseballed the night away.

    I'm with Edith: I'm more of a reader than a watcher, and so rarely rewatch movies. Last year I did see Mama Mia again, and it is all that and a bag of Skittles. But I'd love to see Moonstruck again, and Spy, and Out of Africa--especially since I just listened to all fifty-eleven hours of a biography of Karen Blixen. We spotted Blazing Saddles on Roku a few months ago, and it was so crazy, but oh, wow, could never be made now.

    Joan, I had nightmares for years from Invasion of the Body Snatchers! And it was the silliest movie ever, in retrospect. We were easier to fool then, maybe.

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    1. I tried watching My Fair Lady, too - but couldn't get through it. Seemed to me that Audrey Hepburn was miscast. Is that anathema? The costumes: brilliant.

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    2. One of my memorable moments was on Broadway “My Fair Lady”…first Broadway show, first “grown up day” (I was 11 or 12) with my mother in NYC. I think that I held my breath throughout “I Could Have Danced All Night”. Totally entranced. After that movies never held a candle to a live performance.

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    3. Oh, Hallie, I loved Audrey Hepburn in that film. Her ferociousness in the number "Show Me" always cracks me up.

      Of course, she didn't sing most of the numbers herself, but that's a completely different issue.

      Elisabeth, I am so envious!

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  6. I can watch the movies I've loved over and over again. Sometimes rewatching a movie might depend on the time of the year. Movies like Field of Dreams are ones that I'll watch at the start of baseball season.

    But other movies I will watch whenever I feel like or whenever I come across them on TV. The Firefly spinoff movie Serenity and the 1980's sci-fi movie The Last Starfighter are two movies that fall into this category. The same goes for Hoosiers.

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    1. Hoosiers! And Breaking Away, which was shot in Bloomington when I was living there.

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    2. Thanks, Jay - adding to my list.

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    3. Jay, I didn't know anyone else liked The Last Starfighter!

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  7. This has nothing to do with movies, but it does star Kate Winslet. Have you seen Mare of Easttown? It's the most remarkable mini-series and we are distraught to be finished. It's quite dark, but there is hope and she, along with the rest of the cast, are outstanding!

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    1. I've been resisting subscribing to HBO MAX but here's one more reason... it does seem like every time I see a *new* program that sounds like I'd like to watch it, that's where it is.

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  8. Of those mentioned, I can rewatch: Moonstruck, My Cousin Vinny, Out of Africa, Mamma Mia.
    Those I keep on my recorder presently: The Sound of Music, The King’s Speech, The Holiday, Anna and the King.
    Anytime I’ll watch : Durty Dancing, Dances with Wolfe’s.
    I think the one I’ve watched more often and will certainly watch again is : Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

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    1. I've watched Disney's Beauty and the Beast (the original animated version) a bunch of times. Not fond of the later animated version where they added songs from the Broadway musical. Haven't seen the live action version.

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  9. We're not big movie watchers. I've never seen a lot of the movies mentioned! We almost always circle back to comedies--a lot the Mel Brooks ones--Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Robin Hood Men in Tights (greatly underappreciated, IMO). The Peter Sellers Pink Panther movies are great. I also love Casablanca. And I can't forget Dirty Dancing--Patrick Swayze--sigh! For musicals, it's always South Pacific. I can't sit through most movies that are too intense. When we watched The Martian I had to keep leaving the room. And forget horror or anything in a submarine. No way!

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    1. THE MARTIAN! I could not watch the movie, loved the book. Go figure.

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  10. I'm a great Sandra Bullock fan and love to watch While You Were Sleeping over and over. Love, Actually seems to be at least a yearly rewatch for me. There are so many movies I would like to watch again but then it turns out I'd really rather read a book!

    I haven't been to an actual movie theater in years and I am now wishing to go. I'd really like to see The Dry, but it can't possibly be as good as the book. Can it?

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    1. THE DRY? Going to look it up... YES on Sandra Bullock. MISS CONGENIALITY!

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    2. Miss Congeniality is my husband's favorite movie. Sandra Bullock is so funny.

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  11. I was also sad to say goodbye to Olympia Dukakis. She was a wonderful actor and never more so than in Moonstruck. In fact, my favorite line in that movie was her,"What you don't know about women is a lot."

    Reading through everyone's go-to movies, I kept thinking, check, check, check. And so glad Enchanted April, my all time favorite, was on the list! I would also put forward Crazy, Stupid Love -- sooo funny, and the chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone... whew.

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    1. I enjoyed Crazy, Stupid Love the first time around. I'll have to watch it again.

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  12. I'm always good for a Hugh Grant rom-com. We watched "Two Weeks Notice" recently. His character is always the same and there's something comforting about that.

    In addition to those mentioned, "You've Got Mail" will stop me. So will "The Replacements."

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    1. Seems to me the acting world is divided between actors who always seem to play the same character and those who completely morph each time out. Katharine Hepburn versus Meryl Streep.

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    2. Oh, I have to add "Quigley Down Under" to my list. "I said I I didn't like guns. Never said I didn't know how to use one."

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  13. I've been craving Two for the Road lately, and I recently came across mention of the name Pyewackett, so I'm on the hunt for Book, Bell, and Candle. Enchanted April is one of my go-tos and there were two period Brit movies with Anthony Hopkins that I want to find and watch again soon. Can you tell a Google search is in my future!

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    1. Pyewacket! Remembering Kim Novak (I know, I'm dating myself)... her own Siamese cat apparently played Pyewacket.

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    2. I never knew it was her cat! What a great tidbit.

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  14. Here I thought my taste in movies was unique! Today I learn that it is pretty much the same as everyone else in the Reds community. My two all-time MOST re-watched movies are Moonstruck and Bull Durham, but most of the others mentioned here are on my list too.

    In fact, as I cast about for any favorites not mentioned, the only ones that really come to mind are Music and Lyrics (which features a wonderfully self-deprecating Hugh Grant as a has-been pop singer) and Fletch. I was never even that big of a Chevy Chase fan, but both Fletch the sequel are smart, funny films. (Probably because they were loosely based on a book series.)

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    1. I like Music and Lyrics, too.

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    2. Oh, Music and Lyrics was so good.

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    3. I loved Music and Lyrics, too. Thanks for the reminder, Susan!

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  15. Where'd You Go Bernadette, You've Got Mail, and Pirate Radio.

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  16. You’ve never seen Speed, Hallie? It is absolutely riveting. What a concept! And Bullock and Reeves are so perfect. but stay far far away from Speed 2.

    Breaking away! Oh, thank you for reminding me !

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    1. I agree with you Hank about Speed 2 - what a waste.

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    2. Hank, the movie WORKING GIRL also shined a light on sexual harrassment.

      Diana

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  17. BEETLEJUICE! Thank you Kathy. And of course Broadcast News. I love it, but it stresses me out. :-)

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  18. Any of the comedies with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn (Bringing Up Baby, The Philadelphia Story, Holiday). Also Undercover Blues with Kathleen Turner. Jurassic Park, Die Hard, and Hello Dolly.

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  19. Moonstruck is a perennial favorite in our household. We've watched it so much that even our kids can recite the lines with us. "I'm confused". "But you haven't said anything??". Sigh. Bull Durham was a hit even before I moved to Durham but it has extra meaning as I wave to the ballfield on the way to the farmer's market. Also on our list - Mood Over Parador and The Princess Bride. And Steel Magnolias is one that I watch for the friendship between the Shirley McLain and Olympia Dukakis characters as much as the rest of the film.

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  20. cj Sez: Casablanca became my favorite movie to watch and re-watch after I spent three days in San Francisco at a Robert McKee screenwriting seminar. Screenwriting taught me how to set up scenes in my stories.

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  21. I love the movie Tombstone or basically most any movie with Kurt Russell. I also have seen Reds quite a few times (Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren).

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    1. That one is pretty popular at our house, too.

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  22. The.comments have reminded me of more watch-worthy movies. The Best Exotic marigold Hotel and Quartet. Four Weddings and a Funeral, Sense and Sensibility and my childhood favorite: The court Jester.

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    1. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a real joy, isn't it? The sequel's not bad, either.

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    2. How did I forget THE COURT JESTER? Danny Kaye and men in tights! What's not to like? Also: "The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle" - and Glynnis Johns at her dewiest

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    3. Loved Four Weddings and A Funeral too.

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    4. Yes! The Court Jester! The flagon with the dragon has the brew that is true..

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  23. Wow. So many great films! Some I've loved a long time, and some I'm going to have to track down. Thank you, Lysa for mentioning The Princess Bride. I'll always take time for that one. Another I've watched countless times is Simon Pegg's send-up of all the police action films ever, Hot Fuzz. Set in a sweet English village, of course. And just the other night I rewatched the Harrison Ford/Julia Ormond version of Sabrina. Don't hate me, Audrey Hepburn fans. I think the story stands up well even without the classic cast.

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  24. My two go-to movies are PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK and BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA I will also watch (and re-watch and re-re-watch and re-re-re-watch) anything with Cary Grant because he made it all looks so easy. I also have to give a big shout-out to Tod Browning's 1931 DRACULA, the only movie I have ever seen where silence is a palpable character -- watch (or re-watch) it and see!

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    1. I had to look up BIG TROUBLE. I remember PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK - what do YOU think happened to them? And 1931 Dracula - that sounds like one to find. For a film where silence is a palpable character, I just rewatched Cast Away. Darkness and silence. And you can't look away.

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  25. Another Melanie Griffith movie. This with Walter Matthau--IQ. Matthau is Einstein. Creator with Peter O'Toole. Blast from the Past with with Brendan Fraser, Sissy Spacek, Christopher Walken. May they all come to Netflix soon!

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    1. Oh, I loved Blast from the Past. I'd forgotten about that. Whatever happened to Brendan Fraser?

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    2. Blast from the Past was very funny and I haven't thought of it in years. Thank you.Must go find a source!

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  26. How could I have forgotten SINGING IN THE RAIN! (Lina Lamont: "I cain't stan' him."

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  27. What fun ! Many of my favorites ( THE COURT JESTER!) and some new ideas for re-watching. I don't think anyone mentioned one more that gets me every single time: A League of Their Own. I'm not sure why it does, but I'll drop anything if it's on.

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  28. One movie I will stop everything I'm doing to watch is Desk Set (Hallie, your parents really hit it our of the ballpark with this one in my opinion). I love ever thing about it. Moonstruck is another favorite - I love the kitchen scene in the end and think Cher and Olympia Dukakis are wonderful

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  29. What y'all said, but also Robin Hood (1939) with the divine young Errol Flynn, and a dark horse which maybe nobody else has seen called Carnival in Flanders (Original Title: La Kermesse héroïque), 1935. A sly French work of sexy feminism. available on the Criterion channel.

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  30. I'm not going to repeat any movies already mentioned. So many good ones! I catch Austenland every time it pops up. So funny. Also The Jane Austen Book Club. A group of women of various ages and one young man read and discuss Austen each month. And work on their personal problems. I liked Tremors and catch it when I'm in the mood. You can have Kevin Bacon; I'll take Fred Ward! And monsters! I watch Jaws at least once a year. Just a perfect summer movie. And I watch Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase every holiday season. So full of belly laughs. I find I can't sit through a long movie anymore. So no Hollywood musicals from the 50s and 60s anymore. I will tune in to almost anything with Rufus Sewell or Alan Rickman in it.

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    1. Pat, I would watch Alan Rickman read the phone book. He was just mesmerizing, whatever he did.

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    2. Amen! I fell for him as Hans Gruber and never fell back out of love with him!

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  31. Adding another couple of wonderful Ewan McGregor movies, Big Fish and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.

    Has anyone seen him in Halston, the new series?

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    1. I watched Halston last week. Fascinating. Ewan McGregor just disappeared into that role. I didn't know we had Halston to thank for Ultrasuede.

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  32. Princess Bride! RH-Men in Tights! Moonstruck, yes! And another wonderful movie with Olympia Dukakis--Away from Her, also starring Julie Christie. Galaxy Quest, yes! LOTR-extended version, Willow. Snowcake with Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver, Truly Madly Deeply with Alan Rickman and Juliet Stevenson (okay, just about anything with Alan Rickman), The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Thunderheart with Val Kilmer, Sam Shepard, and the wonderful Graham Greene and Sheila Tousey, Crazy from the Heart with Christine Lahti and Ruben Blades, and to round off my list, the first Indiana Jones, Star Wars (original 3), and Harry Potter.

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    1. Loved the Princess Bride too. Thanks for the reminder!

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  33. Love, love, love ENCHANTED APRIL and ROMANCING THE STONE. I thought that Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas made a great acting team. There are many wonderful movies mentioned in the post.

    Diana

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  34. Y'all have nailed most of my favorites. I'm a sucker for romance, mysteries like The Maltese Falcon, and rom-coms. When we came back from another Caribbean vacation one of my besties recommended Moonstruck, and said it reminded her of me, lol. Last year during quarantine my mother, even in the throes of early dementia, and I watched it several times and she sang along with Dean Martin crooning "That's Amore". The only one I didn't see in the comments is another fave, Shirley Valentine! ("I'm going to Greece!") Loved that Brit movie so much we reccorded it on VCR. And the great Joanna Lumley's in it.

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  35. Every time I finish Beauty and the Beast, I'm ready to watch it again.

    And I recently rewatched the original Jumanji. I'd forgotten just how great it is.

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    1. Mark, I just watched the original Jumanji recently, too.

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  36. I'd add Home Alone at Christmas (still laugh out loud funny), The Philadelphia Story, Indiscreet with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman.

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  37. Hallie, what a fun topic today! So many fabulous films already mentioned! I love romantic comedy and always have, especially the classics, in black and white and early color.

    I'll add TLOTR, what a great job bringing Tolkien's trilogy to life! The three original Star Wars movies are favorites as are most of the Star Trek and the Marvel movies. Irwin watches TV more than I do. If any of these are on, I'll sit down and watch, too.

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  38. I show also mention several television shows that are perennial favorites: The Thanksgiving episode of WKRP IN CINCINNATI ("As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."), THE MARY TYLER MORRE SHOW about the funeral of Chuckles the Clown ("A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants."), and THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW with the "Mama's Family" sketch about Tim conway and the Siamese elephant. I could watch all three forever.

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  39. Cinema Paradiso tops them all!

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  40. altho Casablanco and Indiscreet are super too!

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  41. Cinema Paradiso! I cried for a solid week.

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  42. WKRP in Cincinnati! Alwàys good to watch again, as well as Working Girl,( with its sobering scenes of pre 9/11 NYC.)
    Three other films are on my watch over and over list:
    Chariots of Fire, Tea with Mussolini, and True Grit (the original, with John Wayne, Kim Darby and Robert Duvall.) All three are wonderful--great writing, great acting, and filmed in places that I love.

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