I don’t particularly like watching movies more than once. There are just too many good things to see out there that by taking 90 minutes or so out of my life to re-tread ground I’ve already covered seems like a waste of the precious 700,000 hours of time I expect to spend alive. But, there are a rare few that give back enough to make the experience feel fresh every time.
Here is a list of 25 comedy films that I have watched more than twice (and in some cases, probably more than a half dozen times). Since a lot of these are films that have been re-released or re-telecast bunches of times, I know I’m not the only one that enjoys the hilarity. And just to be clear, these aren’t even necessarily my favorite films (although some are).
25. It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
This is one very loooooooooong comedy. In my opinion, comedies aren’t supposed to be long. People love to laugh, but they can’t do it for hours at a time, so it takes a special movie to hold one’s attention for almost three hours and it’s even more satisfying if people want to watch it again and again. My favorite scene is when Sylvester Marcus (played by Dick Shawn) is roaring down the road bawling: “Mama, it’s all right. Everything’s gonna be all right. Your baby’s coming to get ya.” Cracks me up every time.
Cary Grant. The incorrigible rogue. Audrey Hepburn. The elegant yet hilarious darling. Perfectly cast film with enough humor and suspense to make me want to watch it over and over again.
23. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
The 80’s were full of quirky, coming-of-age movies. John Hughes can be thanked for that and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a funny little film that never wears out its welcome.
22. Animal House
College was an awesome time-and-place experience. Animal House brings back fond memories every time (not because I did any of the antics in the film but because I watched the film a lot during that time — vicarious shenaniganary; how pathetic is that?!).
21. Philadelphia Story
James Stewart pulls off the most hilarious drunk scene I’ve ever watched. And for crying out loud — Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant together. Wow. Let’s see that again.
20. The Mask
Jim Carrey is to comedy as Sylvester Stallone is to action films. No one really respects him as an actor but everyone has seen most of his movies more than once (admit it – Ace Ventura is on your rewatched list whether you liked it or not). This one is my favorite Carrey film.
19. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
This movie is so dated that you might think it would stop being relevant. But it doesn’t. Oddly, I haven’t watched it nearly as much as I probably should.
This is an example of a movie that isn’t one of my favorites but that I will watch if it happens to be on TV when I’m clicking through the channels. It’s Michael Keaton at his best.
17. Best in Show
Christopher Guest owns the mockumentary genre.This is his best film. I’ll single out Fred Willard’s performance as the dim-witted reporter who can’t believe anyone actually takes dog shows seriously. Exactly my sentiments.
16. Addams Family
Some actors fit a role so perfectly you can’t imagine anyone else playing it (and before you start screaming, I’m talking films here; John Astin was brilliant in the TV series). Raul Julia as Gomez Addams is one of the most entertaining characters I’ve ever watched. So, I watch him a lot.
15. O Brother, Where Art Thou
The Coen Brothers show up a lot on pretty much all of my movie lists. They just know how to make “characters” work brilliantly with excellent casts. One of my favorite lines is “Damn! We’re in a tight spot,” which was funny the first time Everett says it but making Clooney’s character repeat it several times had me rolling on the floor.
I’m willing to watch pieces of Pixar movies anytime they’re on the Disney channel but this movie is worth watching from beginning to end in repeated showings. The sentimentality might be gooshy to some, but it’s aces for me.
13. The Princess Bride
You would have been shocked if this wasn’t on the list, right?
12. Raising Arizona
Another Coen classic. Again, immensely watchable characters. How do they do it? We’d better watch it again to see if we can figure it out.
11. Napoleon Dynamite
Not everyone’s cup of tea, but it works for me. Favorite character? Kip. Everyone has met a “Kip” at some point in their lives.
10. A Christmas Story
This is a seasonal film, so it has an unfair advantage . Watching holiday movies is almost a required ritual that can’t be avoided. But of all the Christmas movies out there, this film is the one I actually enjoy.
9. Trading Places
Trading Places is just a completely satisfying film. Comeuppance at its best.
8. The Pink Panther Strikes Again
“Does your dug bite?” We talked about perfect casting above. Can you imagine anyone other than Peter Sellers playing Inspector Clouseau? You’d think Hollywood would figure that out.
7. The Return of the Pink Panther
Guy Gadbois had such a short screen time that I watch this film over and over hoping I’ll see him pop up somewhere I missed.
6. Singin’ in the Rain
My favorite musical. It’s got it all.
As hilarious as the main characters are (and they fantastically hilarious), Rick Moranis as Louis Tully will never grow old for me.
4. Office Space
This is a movie I love to hate. I have lived through cubicle hell, so why would I want to watch it again? Because it makes me laugh while I cry.
3. Toy Story
One of my sons watched this movie every day for a straight month (plus a few days). I get it. All 3-D animated movies in the last 15 years owe this film tribute.
2. Galaxy Quest
If there are any geeks out there that do not rank this movie high on their Favorites list, they have no sense of humor and should be reprogrammed.
1. Groundhog Day
This film isn’t even the one I’ve watched the most repeatedly. But Groundhog Day is the comedy I enjoy the most every time I watch it. Sure, Bill Murray is at his very best in this film. Sure, Andy McDowell is cute as a button. Sure, the other quirky characters are wonderful additions to the cast. But it’s the premise, and how it unfolds, that hits a park-clearing home run. In fact, it’s about time to watch it again.
What about the movie that I have watched more than any other in bits and pieces but have never watched completely in one sitting? National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Whenever it’s on TV around the holidays, I’ll pause and watch a few scenes before I get bored and move on. And yet, I keep watching it (piecemeal) every year …
How about you? Any films you like to watch over and over that aren’t on my list?