There’s something so comforting about turning on a familiar movie, one that you can just put on in the background, dipping in and out of it as the day allows to recite a quote and laugh or shudder at.
And with much of the entertainment industry having been shut down in the past few months due to striking writers, whose guild went back to work last week after 148 days, and actors, both of whom were calling for better wages and other conditions, the flow of new content slowed. Older movies became more important than ever.
It should be said that these picks are not at all the same as “favorite movies,” even though these flicks all rank high in the ones that I’ve seen the most frequently. But I do obviously enjoy them — again and again, thanks to incessant reruns — and they’re just too easy to turn (and leave) on.
While this isn’t my preferred genre, I watched this 1985 movie repeatedly as a child, often with my dad, so it’s engrained. The musical scenes, like Apollo’s (Carl Weathers’s) boxing entrance to James Brown’s “Living in America” and the montage of Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky training to “Hearts on Fire” are both just pure ’80s perfection, even if the Cold War references went over my head at the time. If you’ve watched it and didn’t like it, well, you can change (the channel). Everybody can change! If you liked it, check out these Yahoo Picks for Stallone movies.
Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds are just slightly less charming than usual at the beginning of this 2009 movie about a book editor who forces her assistant to marry her in order to save her job. (As a Canadian working in America, she needs a visa.) Like many (most?) romantic comedies, it has an implausible story, but in this case it really does work. For that, we can thank Bullock’s physical comedy and everything that the late, great Betty White does. It all comes together in the scene of the two dancing to Lil Jon.
Coming to America
This Eddie Murphy classic continues to make me laugh, which means a lot when you think about the fact that the fish-out-of-water story is more than 35 years old. Murphy’s so earnest as Akeem, the prince of the fictional country of Zamunda who’s looking for love — “I have recently been placed in charge of garbage!” — and, at the same time, funny as an array of other characters, foreshadowing the multiple roles he would later play in The Nutty Professor and other films. Not to mention that he and Arsenio Hall have great chemistry.
Tommy. Lee. Jones. He’s so incredible in what’s somehow his only Oscar-winning role, playing U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard — that alone makes the movie riveting. But there’s so much more. Harrison Ford is almost as impressive as Dr. Richard Kimble, the innocent man who’s been accused of murdering his wife (played by Sela Ward). Kimble’s been imprisoned, but he goes on the run to track down the real killer, making this an exciting entry in a list of early ’90s crime thrillers in the vein of The Firm, The Pelican Brief and A Few Good Men.
13 Going on 30
This 2004 comedy never gets old — pun totally intended. It’s super nostalgic, too, with a soundtrack featuring songs such as Pat Benatar’s “Love Is a Battlefield,” “Head Over Heels” by the Go-Gos and “Vienna” by Billy Joel. As Jenna, a 13-year-old who’s transported via a magical dollhouse to a world where she’s 30, Garner is both believable and funny, and she has rapport with the adult version of her childhood friend Matty, played by an affable Mark Ruffalo. (It goes without saying that Judy Greer is as wonderful as always.) It’s the kind of movie that makes you think about what your younger self would think of you now, but in a sweet versus depressing way.
What are your favorite movies to watch when they’re on TV?