Sunday, July 09, 2006

Seattle Film Afficianados Respond

To a piece in Slate called
The Movie I've Seen the Most

What movie have you seen the most? That's the question Slate asked a collection of filmmakers and critics, knowing that what's addictive is different than what's deemed the best. The answers vary from Ghostbusters to Dr. Zhivago,
from Citizen Kane to Election.

Michael Sragow, critic, The Baltimore Sun
It was my luck to see the greatest movie ever made, The Wild Bunch, shortly after it opened in the summer of 1969. I saw it six times the first week and may have seen it 50 times since. No other film has such an inside-outside reach. Sam Peckinpah took an oft-told, basic story about outlaws on their last run, turned it into a Homeric epic, and, just along the way, through total commitment and overwhelming talent, managed to express all the divisions of his heart and soul. The movie's size of spirit and vision as well as its physical scope made it a transcendent experience for a then-suburban kid like me.


For me, it's dittoes on Michael Sragow's comment...although I think I may have seen The Birds as many times as The Wild Bunch.
-- Bob Cumbow

For me, it's either Psycho or Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the Gene Wilder film), the latter playing endlessly on Children's Hospital's closed-circuit system in the years I worked there. -- Tom Keogh

For me, it's The Third Man and National Lampoon's Animal House. (And no, the zither music doesn't bug me.)
-- Kathy Fennessy

I saw Young Frankenstein probably six times one week while it was on heavy rotation on HBO during a summer I spent stringing Hawaiian beads--some summer job. All told, I've probably seen it 8 or 10 times.

But I have surely seen The Searchers more than anything else--including Citizen Kane. It became a cult movie after seeing it in college a number of times, and I returned to see it whenever it played anywhere on the big screen. The first three times I saw it was with my best friend in college, who named his child Ethan. -- Sean Axmaker

I'm somewhat embarassed to say it has to be The Rocky Horror Picture Show given all those weekends at the Neptune! (I was Magenta). -- Gillian G. Gaar

Of late, it's probably Almost Famous, or maybe All About Eve. Although I watched Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark SO much as a kid, it's hard to tell. And I can probably still quote all of The Breakfast Club. Hrm. maybe I should start keeping track with hash marks or something? :) -- Amie Simon

I remember a time in my youth when I went through a phase with both Aliens (watched it at least once a week for awhile) and then Michael Mann's Last of the Mohicans. In total, I have to be unoriginal and fear the amount of times that I watched Star Wars. It was an awfully big part of my life until George started screwing around with them. Nowadays, if nothing else is biting, the movies that get tossed in the most are The Princess and the Warrior (just can't seem to break its hypnotic spell) or the amazing Robert Ryan performance in The Set-Up. -- Dustin Kaspar

It's got to be either Wizard of Oz or Star Wars. Oz because I watched it every time it was on TV growing up. I could not miss it. And those damn monkeys still give me nightmares. Star Wars because I saw it 13 times in 1977 alone and have seen it countless times since either in theaters or at home. The choice I like more as an adult would have to be Blade Runner. I've lost track of the number of times I've seen it. I'm happy with either version.There are lots of movies I will see multiple times on their initial run in the theaters--Serenity is my most recent obsession. My feeling is that it's easier to just go see something you love again than to bother with something that you know won't be as good. :)
-- Kevin Fansler

For me it would have to be La Belle et la bĂȘte. I first saw it when I was 10 and then became obsessed with the film when I was in eighth grade. It showed a lot on public television, as did many of the Janus Collection films, and since I lived in an area with three public television stations I saw it at least a dozen times in one year and then several times over the next several years. I don't think I've seen the film since high school and haven't really wanted to, but maybe I'll see it one more time with the Philip Glass score.
-- E. Steven Fried

1. The Godfather (at least 15 times) -- Kubrick once reluctantly admitted "it's probably the greatest film ever made."
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (approx. 12 times)
3. Chinatown (approx. 10 times)
4. Star Wars (approx. 10 times)
5. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (around eight times)

...then about 25 movies I've seen at least six times (mostly Kubrick)
...and then about 100 movies I've seen three, four or five times
...and finally, about 200 movies I've seen twice.

(Rough estimates, except for 1-5 above.)
-- Jeff Shannon


And here's my favorite contribution to the Slate piece:

Peter Farrelly, director, There's Something About Mary
I've seen Something Wild about 10 times. It's not my all-time favorite movie, but it's right up there. Something about the story and the people and the look of it comforts me. It's a place I know, and it's real, and it hasn't been captured in many movies. I love the music. It's the movie that inspired us to use Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber. He's hysterical here, and Ray Liotta couldn't be cooler and more ominous—he just popped—and I think it's the most interesting thing Melanie Griffith has done, as well. It was written by E. Max Frye and directed by Jonathan Demme, and Demme's just hipper than shit. It's the road stuff that I love the most, but Demme and Tak Fujimoto (the director of photography) managed to make even New York City seem bright and welcoming.

Note: While working on this post, I watched Something Wild for the third time. It really is the essence of 1980s cool--Melanie Griffith with Louise Brooks wig and Masai neckpiece, theme song by David Byrne, the Feelies as high school reunion band, and cameos by Johns Sayles (traffic cop) and Waters (used car salesman). Images from Beyond Hollywood and MovieMeter.

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