The People Behind the Politics in the Canadian Blogosphere - Week 3: Comfort Movies

Jack Layton Film Festival

Image courtesy Mesh Graphics.

Those of you who didn’t watch the first Obama/McCain debate, you may have caught the latest Doctor Who episode on the CBC, The Fires of Pompeii. Did you like it? You can read my review here, and comment. Also, did you like Partners in Crime? My review is over here.

Anyway, last week’s meme getting people in the Canadian political blogosphere to talk about something other than politics this campaign was well received, so I’m going for week three. This time, I’d like you to talk about movies. More than just what your favourite movie is, I’d like to know which movie you tend to watch again and again, like a comfortable old blanket. Post your thoughts on your blog, post a link back here, and then comment here to link me to your post.

What do I mean by comfort movie? Well, there are plenty of movies out there that I rate exceptionally highly. Fargo, for instance, is an utterly brilliant movie, and I think about it a lot, but I’ve only ever seen it once. At the time, I hated it utterly. Why? Well, it didn’t help that my father-in-law, in suggesting a movie night, said, “let’s go see this Coen brothers flick! I hear it’s a nice, light comedy.” Look, if you tell me that something like Pulp Fiction is hyper-violent beforehand, I will go into the movie theatre with a certain frame of reference and really enjoy the film. Prep me like my father-in-law did, and I’ll be repelled by the stuff I see. And yet I still think about the film, how it was a film noir movie shot in shades of brilliant white. It made me a fan of the Coen brothers, certainly, though I tend to express that by watching O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Then there is Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings. As a fan of the books, I loved the movie trilogy, and I love the fact that I have extended versions of all three of the movies in their own special box set on my shelf, but watching these takes preparation. Indeed, you sometimes have to watch the movie as you would read the novel: a chapter — or a disc — a night. Not good for casual viewing.

Which is why I often say that my favourite movie of all time is Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest. The film is a perfect package of suspense as only Hitchcock can deliver (consider the silent lead-up to and the pay-off in the crop-duster scene), with fine acting James Mason and excellent chemistry between Cary Grant and Eve Saint-Marie. The story just rushes headlong into a travelogue across America (the train sequences is what sets this Hitchcock classic above Rear Window or The Birds for me), and the climax atop Mount Rushmore? Simply stunning. I have seen this film about a dozen times, and it still keeps me enraptured every time. It’s brilliantly made, and it’s accessible. Perfect comfort food.

Other films I’ve seen multiple times include The Full Monty (wonderful characterization, and I still remember how the theatre audience cheered at the end), Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and Castle in the Sky (I wish my writing were as good as Miyazaki’s) and Waking Ned Devine.

So, what are your comfort movies?

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