One can never underestimate the importance of a good re-watchable movie. A re-watchable television series is all well and good, but the re-watchable movie is a borderline life necessity. You never intend to watch one of these movies, these movies essentially intend to watch you. They show up unannounced, but ready to party, ready to hang, ready to comfort you in your channel-surfing time of need. They lie there waiting, amidst the sea of cooking shows and sporting events and played out reruns as you ramble up and down the channels on a typically mundane weekday night or sleepy weekend afternoon. The re-watchable movie is quite literally a life saver.
Shawshank Redemption is the Omar Little of re-watchable movies, the King. And to be clear, a re-watchable movie, most likely on cable, is one that sucks you in for at least twenty minutes. You don’t need to watch all of it, but you will gladly watch some of it. Depending on where you land in the movie, you might even finish the damn thing. Like if you hit Shawshank right at the roof scene, where Andy bargains for a bucket of suds for the boys, then you will most likely end up watching the rest of the movie, through the tunnel of shit, Red’s failed second act as a grocery store bagger and all the way to sunny Mexico. It’ll just kind of happen, you won’t even realize it until an hour has passed and you’re still sitting there, completely engrossed in Shawshank effin’ Redemption…again.
Some other re-watchable movies (and for the most part, besides Shawshank, this is a fluid list) Forgetting Sarah Marshall (stays funny,) Step Brothers (keeps getting funny,) Dazed and Confused (nostalgic and continues to get better with age,) and any of the Christopher Nolan Batman movies (a great way to spend forty to fifty minutes, especially if your wife is doing something else.) Like I said, that’s a fluid list. Some movies overstay their welcome, some movies are late bloomers (i.e. Forgetting Sarah Marshall.)
Last night I realized a new movie had pushed and shoved it’s way onto my list of re-watchable movies- The Fighter.
Yeah man, The Fighter, the boxing movie with Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale and Amy Adams. I loved it when I first saw it and thought it was easily the form of media with the best use of the song “How You Like Me Now?” out there. It was a fun movie to watch- simply put, fun. David O. Russell, the movie’s director, makes fun movies that are easy to watch- movies like Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, I Heart Huckabees. They might not all be great, but they’re definitely entertaining. And that’s what The Fighter is, it’s entertaining.
Entertaining…that’s really what we should be looking for in a re-watchable movie. Nothing too heavy, nothing too cheesy funny because cheesy funny just looses the funny eventually and then becomes merely cheesy. And there’s nothing re-watchable about cheesy. A re-watchable movie should be easy on all fronts, which is why I realized The Fighter has fallen into the mix. And even if the movie starts to get stale, Christian Bale easily lifts it up every time he’s on screen.
I’m not at all saying The Fighter is a pantheon movie, one that should be living on the top shelf forever. I am saying that it’s become increasingly re-watchable and that means something. A Monday night in late March- there’s not much on, we’re all just waiting for Mad Men and Game of Thrones to come back. The NCAA tournament isn’t back until Thursday and for the most part, regular season NBA basketball is unwatchable. So why not watch something re-watchable, something like The Fighter. Russell’s movies are always full of such interesting characters and his movies have a bounce to them that so many others don’t. I would throw in that one of my beefs with American Hustle was that the Russell lightness seemed to get lost in the shuffle of whatever the hell the story was. But not the Fighter. I think the straight forward and simple story is a benefit and ends up helping Russell. The Fighter is essentially the anti-American Hustle. And if I am throwing things in and out, I’d add that American Hustle was significantly better the second time.
Will I watch it if I were to stumble across it tonight, who knows? But I do know that if I did, there’s be a decent chance I’d end up watching most of it.