Most of us movie bloggers have a list, published or not, of what we think are the greatest films of all-time. I'm no different. We also have a list of our favorite films of all time. If we're objective critics, there is a strong possibility that the two are entirely different. Our favorites are like the comfort foods we fall back on from time to time. If you ask me what the best food is, I'd say it's a juicy, flavorful steak. However, I've had far more bags of potato chips in my life than steak. Similarly, I love Once Upon a Time in America. I consider it one of the greatest things ever committed to film. The problem is of the several versions of it floating around, the only one worth watching is almost four hours long. I first saw it way back in the summer of 1985. I probably saw it four or five times that year. I've seen it a handful of times, since. I'm just not going to make viewing a 229 minute movie a regular thing no matter how great it is. On the other hand, I can't tell you how many times I've seen Commando. And that doesn't even make this list. The movies below somehow make their way into my DVD player at least once a year. If they happen to be on TV when I'm channel surfing, I'll stop and watch. To be completely transparent, I'm totally guessing on the order. To the best of my knowledge, these are...
My 20 Most Watched Movies of All-Time
As you'll shortly see, the number 20 is purely subjective. Let's get started.
(2002)I hate to start off the list this way, but this isn't necessarily here of my own free will. Let me explain. I like it well enough for what it is: a big, dumb action flick. It's all kind of fun, and all kinds of stupid. Fine by me. Still, it's not one I find myself saying "I'm in the mood for some triple X." You know who has said this at least a couple times of year since it came out? Mrs. Dell. I don't always watch with her, but I have plenty of times. Damn you, Vin Diesel. Damn you and your muscles.
Quote I occasionally use in real life: The things I'm about to do for my country.
Movie I could have put here in its place: The entire Fast & Furious franchise
Five Deadly Venom & The 36th Chamber of Shaolin
(both 1978)I grew up on martial arts movies and these two are giants within the genre. Every now and again, I'll go on a kung-fu flick bender. Usually, I'll watch a couple I've seen a number of times and mix in some I haven't seen before. No matter what, these two are always in the rotation.
Quote I occasionally use in real life: Poison Clan rocks the world!
Movie I could have put here in its place: Shaolin Avengers
Bad Boys & Bad Boys II
(1995, 2003)Like much of my movie blogging brethren, I hate Michael Bay. However, I can't get enough of these two movies. All the Bay-isms I despise are present in both, and it's basically a Lethal Weapon ripoff, but there is something so ridiculously charming about the chemistry between stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. Going completely against my better judgment, I find both movies to be hilarious. When Michael Bay goes all Michael Bay and crap explodes for no apparent reason, I don't roll my eyes. The world is better. Yes, I'm anxiously awaiting Bad Boys III. Don't look at me that way.
Quote I occasionally use in real life: My shit always works, sometimes!
Movie I could have put here in its place: Die Hard with a Vengeance
(1989)I made into the theater to see on the night after it was released. And I loved every minute of it. Jack Nicholson was lots of fun, and Michael Keaton was a pleasant surprise as the titular hero. When the film hit VHS, I made sure to buy a copy and I watched it a number of times on that format. When DVDs took over the world, I bought it on that format and have seen it lots of times since. I'm currently working on a solid justification for buying it on blu-ray since the DVD still works just fine. Wish me luck.
Quote I occasionally use in real life: Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?
Movie I could have put here in its place: The Dark Knight
(1984)I love Prince. Prince made a movie. Naturally, I went to see said movie. And it was a magical experience for a thirteen year old boy. Everything about it was captivating, especially our leading lady, Apollonia. To this day, the scene of her "purifying" herself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka is one of my all-time faves. This is the only Prince movie on the list, but it is one of two that he provided the soundtrack for. Batman is the other. That one is good, but this is one of the greatest albums ever recorded and I don't really care what you think. However many times I've watched this movie, I've listened to the album at least 10x more. Click here for my full post on Purple Rain.
Quote I occasionally use in real life: How's the family?
Movie I could have put here in its place: Fame
The Friday Franchise
(1995-2002)The original Friday was an instant 'hood classic. It cemented Ice Cube's status as a player in Hollywood and it's just damn funny. The two sequels are not quite up to the standard of that one, but I still like them both. Naturally, I purchased all three. Every now and again, I'd find myself watching one of the first two. Then, my kids got to be teenagers and began scouring the DVD collection outside the "family" section. Lo and behold, they discovered this series. And now they watch all three of them quite frequently. Often, I'll wind up right with them in front of the TV. I know, I know. Bad dad.
Quote I occasionally use in real life: Don't nobody go in the bathroom for like 35, 45 minutes.
Movie I could have put here in its place: I'm Gonna Git You Sucka
(1981)I was twelve or thirteen the first time I saw this one. I thought it was hilarious. And there were lots of boobs. As I got older, the humor got better to me. I returned to it far too many times over the next four or five years. After skipping it for a few years, I went back to it as an adult. It was even funnier, then. I was able to actually get the jokes that flew my inexperienced head. The shower scene is legendary, but it's Kim Cattrall's locker room scene that has since become my favorite. Call me juvenile, if you must, but it's one of the funniest things I've ever seen. There were two sequels. I've seen both multiple times, but even if you combine all of the times I've watched them it's only a fraction of the number of watches I've given to the original.
Quote I occasionally use in real life: Has anybody seen Mike Hunt?
Movie I could have put here in its place: The Last American Virgin
Marked for Death
(1990)A little film called Above the Law introduced me, and the rest of the world, to Steven Seagal. Everytime I saw one of his movies for the next decade or so, I eagerly looked forward to his next one. Marked for Death stands as his apex as a star of brilliantly ridiculous movies. I watched it a dozen or so times before I happened to meet and marry a woman who was also a Seagal fan. On top of that, her sister and her husband were even bigger Seagal fans. So you can see how the views just kept piling up. Click here for my list of Steven Seagal's Top 5 Movies.
Quote I occasionally use in real life: E'rybody wan' go Heaven. Nobody wan' dead.
Movie I could have put here in its place: Commando
Rush Hour & Rush Hour 2
(1998, 2001)Yes, I do have an affinity for buddy cop movies. My wife and I fell in love with the first one when we went out to see it. We also love the second one. Like my love for the Bad Boys flicks, a lot of it has to do with the chemistry of the stars. In this case, it's Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. For Chan, these films represent his best American made efforts. For Tucker, it's a pair of instances where his abrasiveness works perfectly. After a few years, the wife and I let our kids watch. They love them also. Not surprisingly, the two have become household favorites. Yes, we know there's a third one. We even own it. We still pretend it doesn't exist.
Quote I occasionally use in real life: Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?
Movie I could have put here in its place: Lethal Weapon 4
A Christmas Story
(1983)There's really not a lot to say about this other than give some numbers. I first saw this the year after it came out. I probably watched it a handful of times that year. I saw a few times over the next few years, then I didn't, for like a decade. I got it on DVD in '97 and watched it a few times that year and the next couple. At least once, usually twice, and occasionally three times during the Christmas season I sit down and give a watch. I usually manage to get my kids to watch at least one of those times. Click here for my full post on A Christmas Story.
Quote I occasionally use in real life: I TRIPLE dog dare ya!
Movie I could have put here in its place: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Back to the Future
(1985)This movie is a classic for a reason. It's just all sorts of fun. I have no clue how many times I watched this before I had kids. It's one of those movies I just found myself returning to over and over. And yes, if I came across it on TV, I stopped flipping channels. About two years ago, I watched it with my youngest daughter. Now, she can't get enough of it. She watches it a couple times a month. Really, she goes all in and watches all three over a weekend. I've sat in with her a few times.
Quote I occasionally use in real life: Hello? Hello? Anybody home? Huh? Think, McFly. Think!
Movie I could have put here in its place: Teen Wolf
Love & Basketball
(2000)There are only handful of movies that my wife and I love equally. This sits just one spot off the top of that list. We both felt that way the moment we left the theater the first time we saw it. Sanaa Lathan delivers a dynamic performance in the lead. It hits a lot of the conventional romance movie notes, but it hits them so perfectly we couldn't help but be enthralled by it. We've watched it many times together, either with just each other or with the kids, and a few times apart. Over the decade and a half since it was released, it's just always been with us.
Quote I occasionally use in real life: All's fair in love and basketball.
Movie I could have put here in its place: Love Jones
(1990)It's the classic party where some kids throw a huge party because mom and dad are out of town. It's just one of those movies you can't help but have a blast while watching. I won't say anything more on this one because it will be the subject of its own post this week.
Quote I occasionally use in real life: Follow the drip, follow the drip.
Movie I could have put here in its place: Roll Bounce
Friday the 13th
(1980)I know that Halloween came out a couple years earlier. I didn't see it until later. Therefore, my first trip to Camp Crystal Lake also served as my introduction to slasher flicks. I've been hooked ever since. I've watched a ton of them over the years, but this is the one I return to most often. Usually, I use it to kick off a marathon of the entire franchise. Sometimes I make it all the way through, sometimes not. Either way, I always get this one in.
Quote I occasionally use in real life: Chuh-chuh-chuh-chuh.
Movie I could have put here in its place: Scream
Do the Right Thing
(1989)If this were a list of the 20 films I think are the best of all-time, this is the only one that would make the cut. The fact is, this is a movie I can relate to on every possible level. It feels like the place I grew up in and involves the people I grew up around. It really is that simple. This is one of two movies I wouldn't recommend watching with me, though. I've been known to recite way too many of the movies lines as its playing.
Quote I occasionally use in real life: If Mike Tyson even dream about whoopin' my ass, he better wake up and apologize! (I usually sub in someone else's name)
Movie I could have put here in its place: Boyz N the Hood
The Wizard of Oz & The Wiz
(1939, 1978)Yes, I'm counting these two as one movie. They tell the same story and I have no idea how many times I've seen either one of them. I used to catch the 1939 classic every year during its annual TV showing. As an adult, I've returned to it a number of times with my kids. As a kid, myself, I was taken to the theater to see the 1978 remake. I fell in love with that, too. I returned to that one countless times, as well, throughout my youth. Once my kids got a hold of it, we wound up watching it a whole bunch more. They actually prefer this version. Me? I just couldn't separate them.
Quote I occasionally use in real life: I'm melting! I'm melting!
Movie I could have put here in its place: The Lion King
(1983)The perversion of the American Dream, the complete irreverence, the over-the-top approach to everything, Al Pacino's larger than life performance, the garish 80s color pallette, the blood and guts, and well over 200 f-bombs were all magnetic for me as a teenager. There was a stretch where I watched it at least once a week for a stretch that probably lasted five or six months. Ever since, I've returned to it a couple times a year for quite a long time. Over the last year or so, my son has discovered it and shares my affinity for it. At least he was 17 when he got turned onto it. I first saw it at 12.
Quote I occasionally use in real life: Say hello to my li'l friend!
Movie I could have put here in its place: GoodFellas
(1979)I've written a post explaining my love for this movie, here. The short version of it is that it's goofy fun taken to the extreme. I simply can't get enough of this movie. I make sure to watch it several times a year. Unlike most of the films here, this is usually a solo adventure. My youngest daughter joins me every once in a while, but complains about it. The rest just roll their eyes when they see me grab the DVD and walk toward the TV.
Quote I occasionally use in real life: CAN YOU DIG IIIIITTTTT!!!
Movie I could have put here in its place: Menace II Society
Coming to America
(1988)In case you were wondering, this is the other movie I wouldn't recommend watching with me. I can literally quote it verbatim as I'm watching it. Restraining myself from doing so has proven quite difficult. I mean, why would you pass up a chance to say "The royal penis is clean, your Highness." And yes, I sing along with the "Soul Glo" song. My family puts up with it because they all love the movie as much as I do. Click here for my full post on Coming to America.
Quote I occasionally use in real life: This is beautiful! What is this, velvet?
Movie I could have put here in its place: Harlem Nights
Enter the Dragon
(1973)This is the only movie that could have possibly topped this list. I saw it before I even entered kindegarten forty years ago. I've watched it practically every year since. During a good number of those years, I watched it five or six times. I simply love this movie. If this doesn't get that point across, this post, the one I devoted to it should.
Quote I occasionally use in real life: I said emotional content, not anger!
Movie I could have put here in its place: The Last Dragon