Picture this: it could be late on a Friday night – after Leno or Letterman, you’re just about to turn off the t.v. and then a voice comes on to announce the next program will be a movie. You recognize the title, you’ve seen it before – perhaps a few times. It’s not necessarily on your favourites list, but still you pause, watch the opening scene or the cast credits. You promise yourself, it’s only going to be a few minutes and then you’ll go to bed. Your wife or husband calls to you to ask when you’re coming up. You call back that you’ll be there in a minute. If you’re anything like me, that minute comes and goes and it’s too late! You are hooked. Either your spouse comes down to see what you’re up to and decides to stay too, or they go off to the land of nod, while you’re wide awake and now riveted to the screen. It’s one of those films that gets you every time.
Here’s another scenario: It’s a wet and windy Sunday afternoon. You’re hanging out in front of the t.v., a bowl of nachos and salsa on the table. Maybe you’re sipping a mug of tea, or nursing a beer– just flipping channels, looking for anything of interest. Click. There’s a familiar face on the screen. You recognize the setting. You know some of the dialogue. You sink a little deeper into your chair and let the remote fall out of your hands to rest beside you. You’re already hooked! They get you every time.
Here are a few of mine:
1983 The Hunger
A good deal of the appeal is obviously nostalgia. I’m not a fan of vampire flicks anymore. David Bowie is a bit long-in-the-tooth (Oops! pardon the pun) for me and I stopped wearing sunglasses at night and dancing to Bauhaus years ago. I guess it transports me back to my university days, a pseudo-punk milieu and the titillation of a watching a truly sexy film for the first time.
1973 Charley Varrick
You can’t beat a crime caper with laundered money, The Mob, fast cars, banks, guns, girls and a great actor like Walter Matthau. This is a winner. Hands down. I love all the Dirty Harry movies too, and this is directed by the same guy, Don Siegel.
1963 The Great Escape
One of the best non-combat war movies ever! The intrigue, suspense and action are fantastic! The cast is a who’s who of the big screen and 1970s television: James Garner, Donald Pleasance, Charles Bronson, Richard Attenborough, James Coburn and of course, Steve McQueen (and many more!). This movie also has one of the best motorcycle chases ever put on film. Turn away. I dare you!
1987 The Untouchables
I think I saw The Untouchables in the theatre 3 times. I have since seen it on t.v. a few as well. It is memorable for so many reasons – DeNiro’s Al Capone (and the bat scene), Sean Connery’s beat-cop, a really young, Kevin Costner as Elliot Ness and a boyish Andy Garcia. It is the Eisenstein-like scene in the train station with the baby-carriage that I remember best. I ask you, how could you turn the t.v. off when this is on?
1992 Patriot Games
What’s not to love? I.R.A., Harrison Ford, a really young Sean Bean (of Lord of the Rings fame) as one of the key terrorists, Patrick Bergin as the kingpin. Bombs, intrigue, car-crashes…the works. Ah, the heck with it! I’m going out to buy this one.
Other Irresistible Movies:
A Perfect Murder
About a Boy
The Great Gatsby
No Way Out
The list goes on and on…what are some of yours?