As a general rule, I don’t like watching movies on TV because of endless commercial breaks and editing, but these are an automatic exception.
The other day I was talking with a friend of mine about the “old days” of TV when there were three main channels to choose from and always something to watch. These days, there are 100+ channels and rarely something worth watching a good percentage of the time.
Watching movies isn’t my first choice because there is generally too much editing and too many commercial breaks to make the movie worthwhile. A perfect example was the Lethal Weapon franchise which aired last weekend and featured entirely too much editing for language. I actually put in a DVD of Lethal Weapon 3 and started it after the broadcast version had begun on cable; I was able to enjoy the full version of the movie and it wrapped up before the broadcast version did, thanks to the commercials!
That said, there are some movies I’ll stop and watch on television whenever I see them. Some of these aren’t shown all that often anymore, but if I happen to be flipping through and see them, chances are, I’ll put the remote down and watch.
Here’s my list in alphabetical order:
1. ‘A Christmas Story’
Granted this one is only on in December, and particularly all day long on Christmas Day itself, but I’ll watch it at least once on the big day. Chances are if I see it before that while I’m flipping channels, I’ll watch then, too.
There were so many great lines in this movie, not to mention Madeline Khan’s strange little “I hated her so much” ad lib that this has always been a favorite of mine. It’s hard to find this one on these days, but the rare time it does air, I’ll watch.
3. ‘Driving Miss Daisy’
This was such a well-done film about a very unlikely friendship between two people who couldn’t have been more different from each other. It’s poignant, it’s funny, it’s sad, it’s sweet.
4. ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’
I think there’s something in us that wishes we could get away with whatever it is we want to get away with as easy as Ferris does. This is one of those films that’s almost cartoonish in its comedy, but all of the ingredients just work together so well here that it’s worth a watch whenever it’s on.
5. ‘The Fugitive’
I have this movie on DVD, but to be honest, it’s a tedious film to get through unless you’re in the right mood. So I almost never watch it intentionally, even though it’s a really good movie. But if I stumble across it on television, I’ll stop and watch.
This might be the strangest title on my list because I hate Mafia movies. I’ve never watched any of the Godfather movies. I know, I know, they’re great films, but Mafia pictures just don’t interest me. In fact, I’ve never watched GoodFella all the way through in a single sitting. Oddly enough, though, if I see the movie on, I’ll stop and watch until it’s over.
7. ‘The Green Mile’
I’m not a fan of prison pictures, either, but this one, and one other prison picture you’ll see a bit further down, are the rare exceptions. This is, in fact, one of my all-time favorite movies. I do have it on DVD and watch it every now and then, but if I stumble across a playing on TV, it’s a cinch that I’ll stop and watch.
8. ‘On Golden Pond’
I don’t see this one on the air very often at all anymore, but when I do pass by and see it, I’m in, no matter how far into the film we’re in. It’s a great flick about love and age and it’s timeless.
If you’ve read me for a while, you probably know by now that I’m a fan of Alfred Hitchcock. This one in particular is probably the one most likely to be shown outside of a Hitchcock marathon, which I’d make a point to tune in for anyway, so this one’s definitely on my list. (And I mean the original one, not that ridiculously unnecessary color remake.)
10. ‘The Shawshank Redemption’
Like The Green Mile, this is the only other prison picture I’ll stop and watch. Also like The Green Mile, it’s based on the work of Stephen King.
11. ‘Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan’
This is still my all-time favorite of the Star Trek movies, and the one I’ll always watch through if I run across it. Some of the others — featuring both the original and “next generation” casts are dependent on my mood. But Kirk and Company’s fight against Ricardo Montalban’s Khan is a winner.
Like The Fugitive, this can be a tedious film to watch from the beginning because it’s so long. But if I find it in progress, chances are I’ll stop and watch.
That’s my list. I’m sure there are others, but these are the ones I could think of off the top of my head.