I’ve seen Tootsie over 100 times. (This is a wildly low estimate—I would guess that I’ve actually seen Tootsie about 300 or 400 times.) (Seriously.) (When I was a kid, during the summer, I used to watch it on fricking laserdisc every single afternoon.)
I’ve seen Wet Hot American Summer about 20 times. (Nine times in the theater, thank you very much.) (Because it's one of the funniest movies ever.) (And it's tender too.) (Funny and tender.)
I’ve seen Back to the Future at least 100 times. (This is probably a wildly low estimate as well, but I don’t think I’ve seen it quite as many times as I've seen Tootsie.)
I’ve seen Dude, Where’s My Car a total of 8 times. (All in the movie theater.) (And I can’t say that this is even close to being one of my favorite movies—in fact, it’s a dreadfully terrible movie—but it’s also brilliant, if that makes any sense—and I wanted to list it because I think it’s significant that I’ve seen this movie 8 fucking times in the motherfucking movie theater.)
I’ve seen Gremlins about 100 times. (The summer it came out, I made my babysitter take me to see it on the big screen every day for the entire summer.) (True story.)
I’ve seen Howard the Duck god-knows-how-many-times (a couple dozen, probably), but I have seen it 4 times on the big screen. It was the first movie I ever went to see alone. I was nine-years-old. No one would go see it with me. So I made PAM drop me off and I went to see it alone. Four times. I remember I sat in the back row every single time I saw it because I was afraid that if anyone was sitting behind me they would know that I was alone and they would try to kill me, so I sat in the back row to prevent anyone from being able to sit behind me. (Howard the Duck may have been my favorite movie when I was twelve, but in case you’re worried about my taste in movies, I would like to point out that it’s dropped down the list from #1 to, like, the bottom of the list, I just wanted to include it here because I think it’s funny to note that I’ve seen Howard the Duck four times on the big screen, which I’m certain is a feat not too many people can lay claim to.) (There’s this joke in the movie where Howard the Duck is asleep and Lea Thompson looks through his wallet and she finds a condom and she says to herself, “oh Howard,” as if she’s saying “what an incorrigible little duck,” and I remember I had no idea what a condom was at the time [I was nine, for chrissakes] and years later when I finally learned what a condom was, I remember the first thing I thought was, “so that’s what Howard had in his wallet!”)
I realize that a lot of these movies are kind of kiddish, or juvenile, if you wish, but I’m making a list of movies I’ve seen multiple times, and as an adult you don’t have as much time to watch movies over and over and over again, like you did when you were a kid, but some other movies that I would watch over and over and over again, if I had the time, are: 50 First Dates, Buffalo ’66, Vertigo, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. This is a criminally un-thorough list.
There is one movie, however, that’s on my list of Best Movies Ever, that I will never watch again. I just can’t. It’s just too good, too moving, and I don’t think I can take watching it again. Maybe when I’m in my 40s, I’ll give it another viewing.
The movie I’m talking about is Dancer in the Dark, which is quite possibly the best movie ever, and without a doubt the best musical ever.
I was thinking about Dancer in the Dark because last night, as I was driving home, the song “107 Steps” (by Bjork) (from the Dancer in the Dark soundtrack) started playing on my ipod, and I totally missed my exit because the second I heard the track start, I was, like, immediately transported back into the experience of that movie, and, like, overwhelmed, just, like, thrown into total sensory overload, (like, I felt like I was in the movie, almost) (but not in a crazy way) (just in a, sense memory way) (or something) and I didn’t realize I was five exits past my exit until after the song finished playing.
It’s such a weird song anyway. Like, an anti-song almost. Just Bjork singing footstep counts. But it’s so haunting (especially in the context of the movie).
I saw it at that art house theater on La Brea. It was a rainy day. I was feeling under the weather and there wasn’t much going on at work (I was working as a production assistant at the time, this was my first job out of college) and so I left early. It was 1:55 in the afternoon. As I drove past the movie theater I decided that I would go see the movie if it was starting at 2pm. I slowed down to look at the marquee and there was, indeed, a 2pm show. I found a parking spot about 5 blocks away and went to the movies.
I think it was a Wednesday. I was the only person in the movie theater. Now, I love to cry at the movies, and I often do (hell, I sobbed—sobbed—at School of Rock) (it was the proud parents watching their kids rock at the end of the movie that did me in) (and how fucking good they were at rocking—that did me in too), but I usually keep the floodgates, like, mostly under control. But when I went to see Dancer in the Dark, there was no one else in the entire theater and so when I started crying (during the clatter, crash, clack song—Cvalda) I totally let go and I didn’t stop crying for the entire movie. By the end of the film I was literally keening. (I swear.)
So then the movie ended and (maybe because I had been crying so uncontrollably for over an hour) I couldn’t stop crying. I walked out of the theater, onto La Brea, where it was raining even harder than it had been before the movie. I walked five blocks in the rain, the rain beating down on my face, mixing with the tears that were still forming. I got into my car and sat and cried for another ten minutes, while dozens and dozens of Hasidic children dashed out of a neighboring school to meet up with their parents or walk home.
Anyway, last night, as I was driving home, when “107 Steps” started playing on my ipod, I didn’t break down crying or anything, but it moved me and it got me thinking about that brilliant movie and I just wanted to shout about its brilliance from a mountaintop.
(And my blog is my mountaintop, so there you go.)