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The 10 Most Rewatchable Movies

February 28, 2009  |  7:00am
The 10 Most Rewatchable Movies
There's no particular redeeming factor in Sundays. Religious significance aside, its weekend status is completely neutralized by the impending work week. It would almost replace Monday as the most dreadable day of the week if not for one saving grace usually found on basic cable: The Rewatchable Movie. We're talking about the evergreen films, the immortal mainstream viewing experiences that provide the same entertainment value as when they were released on VHS 15 years ago. These are the movies that suck you in each and every time you catch them on TBS at 5 a.m. They are the bane of term papers, bar exams, sleep and your attendance at your first-born's birth.

Our only two rules are no franchises and no holiday films. So while The Godfather trilogy might rival the DMV for your man hours or you may have seen A Christmas Story more times than you've actually experienced Christmas, we're sticking to done-in-one deals. Here are our 10 Most Rewatchable Movies. Let us know yours in the comment section.


10. Goodfellas (1990)
Scorsese's definitive mob movie sports an electric rags-to-riches yarn with Ray Liotta at his finest. The heat turns up as Liotta's made man in training learns about the Machiavellian, insanely violent price to pay for respect and decadence in Italian organized crime. With Joe Pesci, Robert DeNiro and Paul Sorvino providing backup, there's no doubt why this has remained an engrossing ride since it's inception.


9. Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
Some of our most lovable screen gems aren't about providing text books of academic rhetoric: they're simply about laying back and enjoying the adventures of a socially inept milk taste tester who knows his way around a Jamiroquai dance routine. The geographic time machine of Idaho provides the unlikely backdrop for this original high school comedy, featuring an A-List roster of idiosyncratic characters the writers at SNL wish they'd thought of first. Our wildest dreams are still coming true rewatching the quotable antics of Pedro and Napoleon.


8. Pulp Fiction (1994)
From the opening credit twang of Dick Dale's silver-tone guitar, this movie bleeds cool. It's style is only matched by its stream-of-conscious quick dialogue and nonlinear narrative of two goons, their boss' seductive wife and a boxer with a grudge. The heir proper to David Mamet, Quentin Tarantino cemented his status as cult film god and broke the mainstream movie handbook with this pioneering masterpiece. 


7. Spaceballs (1987) /Robin Hood Men In Tights (1993)
Just go ahead and insert your favorite Mel Brooks movie in here. Inane, raunchy and undeniably fun, the greatest generation's prince of Jewish showbiz comedy made parodies that shame our modern-day lampoons. Look no further than Rick Moranis' biting take on Darth Vader or Richard Lewis' on Prince John to see why Brooks is still as fresh today as he was 20 years ago.


6. Casablanca (1942)
What else can be said about one of the finest romances in film history starring golden-age legends Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman? Sam can play it again whenever he damn well pleases. 


5. The Princess Bride (1987)
Rob Reiner's charming medieval fantasy has something for everyone: swashbuckling sword fights, passionate romance, inventive beasties and Andre the Giant (who totally has a castle-storming posse). This is pure, family-friendly fun with imagination to rival any Disney adventure. Bonus points for an adolescent Fred Savage providing narrative bookends.


4. The Ten Commandments (1956)
The length of this three-hour-plus biblical epic hasn't stopped it from becoming a springtime tradition for thousands of households the nation over. Director Cecil B. DeMille paved the way for Spielberg, Lucas and Bruckheimer and the summer blockbuster's domination in the modern box office. The first is still one of the best, with Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner delivering concentrated popcorn bliss in this retelling of Moses' exodus from Egypt. 


3. Animal House (1978)
John Belushi created an entire character archetype in his too-short career, but it's best vehicle is quite possibly in John Landis' party romp as the intoxicated slob, Bluto. Not the only entry on this list written by Harold Raimis, Animal House captures all of the excessive, mindless fun of college in a memento that never becomes any less funny or nostalgic.


2. Groundhog Day
It's hard to place what exactly makes Groundhog Day such an intimate, timeless piece of film history. Is it the clever narrative of a man forever trapped in the confines of one day? Is it the warming sight of watching romance bloom from dynamically challenging characters? Yes. But it's mostly Bill Murray using the one-horse town of Punxsutawney, Pa. as a virtual stage for his brilliant wit that makes this movie as rewatchable as the titular day in question.


1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
A haunting tour de force, this cinematic breakthrough defines emotional realism. Based on a short story by Stephen King and directed by Frank Darabont, Tim Robbins plays Andy Dufresne, a framed convict who plans an intricate escape from a corrupt prison in the 1940s. With touching performances and an evocative soundtrack, this is about as close to perfection as mainstream cinema gets.


Honorable Mentions: Casino, Forrest Gump, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Amelie, The Sound of Music, Inherit The Wind, What About Bob?, Snatch, Lawrence of Arabia, Hoosiers, E.T.: Extra Terrestrial, Zoolander, To Kill a Mockingbird, Pretty Woman, When Harry Met Sally, The Sound of Music, Corky Romano

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