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What Makes a Movie Infinitely Rewatchable?

Super Troopers definitely infinitely watchable

Chicago Now’s generally well put together list of the “101 Most Rewatchable Movies” has me thinking about the infinitely rewatchable movie.  These are the movies that go beyond being simply rewatchable to the point that you can watch them on a near endless loop.  This doesn’t mean that they are necessarily better or even “good” movies.  In fact, the opposite is often true.  Think Super Troopers. Can be (and has been) watched on a near endless loop but not one of the greatest movies of all time.  On the other hand take The Godfather which is undoubtedly one of the greatest movies of all time and definitely rewatchable to a point, but you could never watch it on an endless loop.  You feel too exhausted when its over, and if you’re hungover, forget even making it all the way through.  Not so with the permanently rewatchable.  Being hungover may even be an advantage.  Here’s my criteria for an infinitely rewatchable movie:

Nice try Malkovich

1.  Must be generally mindless

To be able to watch a movie on an endless loop, you have to be able to partly shut your mind completely off.  You can’t do this if you’re watching Gone with the Wind, but if you’re watching Con Air your brain almost automatically shuts off.  If your brain is on during this kind of movie then you’ll needlessly and endlessly pick it apart to the point that you won’t enjoy it.  Of course Nic Cage’s accent is ridiculous.  Of course no one gets to sent to the federal penitentiary full of certified maniacs because of self defense.  And, of course, John Malkovich is completely unbelievable as someone named “Cyrus the Virus.”  But you just let it go, because your mind is shut off  and you don’t want to turn it back on.  This is how a certifiably horrible movie becomes enjoyable and infinitely rewatchable.

2.  Must include humor and/or action

Many, if not most, of the best movies are dramas.  This is an inescapable fact.  However, its hard to watch most dramas on a loop.  American Beauty is one of my favorite films of all time, but I can only watch it so often.  However, throw in  a little action or comedy and almost any movie becomes rewatchable to a point.  Action is obvious.  I mean who can’t zone out in front of Terminator for 2 hours on a weekend.  Comedy is also obvious when it’s good, but being good or even intentional comedy isn’t a necessity.  Take Robin Hood:  Prince of Thieves (a movie I recently rediscovered).  The hilarity of hearing Kevin Costner attempt a British accent for roughly 15 minutes before entirely giving up is worth watching in itself.  Not to mention the absurdity of Morgan Freeman as a sword wielding “Moor” (love that movie).

3.  Must work in a marathon format

This is self explanatory.  Putting a movie in a movie marathon is proof enough that you can infinitely rewatch something.  Most sequels, trilogies, anthologies fall into this category.  The Rocky series is probably the ultimate example of this.  You start watching Stallone bumble around for a few minutes and the next thing you know Paulie is being given a talking robot as a birthday gift and James Brown is performing while Carl Weathers dances in a homoerotic Uncle Sam outfit.  You realize that you’ve spent 8 hours watching a series of movies that have gotten progressively worse, yet your enjoyment level has steadily increased.  This is the magic of the marathon.

4.  Must be watchable in (nearly) any physical state

In its most basic form this means that you can sit through and enjoy the movie despite the presence of or withdrawal from any drug, including alcohol.  This once again eliminates most dramas and reinforces criteria #1 as well.  However, 

Wait, Paulie has a robot?

it also eliminates those movies that are only watchable while on drugs.  Sorry kids, but The Wall or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas are barely watchable at all if sober.  If the only one enjoying the movie is the high kid in the corner, then that movie is not infinitely rewatchable.  Sorry guy who likes Half Baked.

So these are the four criteria that came to mind, but I’m sure there are others.  If you have any thoughts or your favorite infinitely rewatchable movies, let me know.  Talking mindless and often horrible movies is always fun.

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One thought on “What Makes a Movie Infinitely Rewatchable?

  1. James S. on said:

    That’s pretty funny, and it’s completely true. I’d have to say that ConAir is probably the best hungover movie of all-time.

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