10 Movies You MUST Watch More Than Once

I am a heavy believer in the power of ‘rewatching’ movies. I do it all the time, and with most of the good movies I’ve ever seen. Sometimes it changes nothing, but more often than not you are looking at the film from a different angle and you can pull things out of it that completely flew over your head the first time. Here are ten examples of films that completely changed for me when I watched them a second (or 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc.) time:

The Brown Bunny

I thought I’d start out with this one first because it was really the inspiration for this post. Back in December when I first watched this, I gave it 4/10. Now it’s 7/10, edging on 8. Knowing the final end twist, the atmosphere of the film is completely different and scarily dark the second time round. Read my review here.

Inland Empire

Of all the films I’ve rewatched, I’ve never gained so much from each respective viewing as I have from David Lynch’s Inland Empire. If you can make it through the whole three hours, it’s definitely worth it. One of the greatest acting performances of the decade, as well as sweeping direction and a scary mood that is unbeatable. First Viewing Rating: 7/10. Second Viewing Rating: 10/10

Caché

Just like David Lynch, all of Michael Haneke’s movies deserved to be seen more than once, but none moreso than this Cannes smash-hit, which is one of the creepiest and most shocking movies I’ve ever seen. You will not believe how good Haneke is with a camera. He does it to the point where you’re unsure whether what you’re watching is an actual scene or taped footage. First Time Rating: 9/10. Second Time Rating: 10/10

Eyes Wide Shut

The problem most people face with this film is the same as The Brown Bunny issue. They find it boring, the sex gratuitous and unneccessary, and the plot going nowhere. It’s very prejudicial and insulting to bring it down to those levels. This is a highly intelligent, scarily accurate and shockingly referential film. First Time Rating: 8/10. Second Time Rating: 10/10

2001: A Space Odyssey

Like Lynch and Haneke, all of Kubrick’s films deserve a good rewatch, but none moreso than the above one and this, a stunningly beautiful, futuristically accurate (well, almost) and unbelievably brilliant motion picture. This is one of the lucky few pictures where everything is perfect, but of course that comes at a price: its complete inaccessibility to the average moviegoer. However, that’s nothing a rewatch can’t fix! First Time Rating: 9/10. Second Time: 10/10

A Serious Man

I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of this movie at the theatre when it came out, and I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. Then a friend told me I needed to see it again, so I bought the DVD and rewatched it and wow, just like with The Brown Bunny, that second watch has made all the difference. A spectacular film on a level of greatness halfway between insanity and truth. First Time Rating: 6/10. Second Time Rating: 9/10

This was the scene in A Serious Man when I finally realized, whilst watching it a second time, that I had completely underestimated it the first time:

The Godfather: Part II

This is a personal one for me, because when I first saw it, the night after watching its predecessor, I thought it was very good, but nowhere near Part I. I bought the DVD and chucked it on the shelf, knowing one day I’d have to rewatch it. The second time round, something happened. Something clicked, and it’s now one of my favourite motion pictures ever. Have you ever felt the click? It’s a marvellous thing. First Time Rating: 8/10. Second Time Rating: 10/10

Dr. Strangelove

(Spoiler Alert) The great thing about rewatching this movie is that, when you see it the first time, you’re not as focused on the humour but more on how they’re going to stop their planes from bombing Russia. The second time, you know they’re going to fail so you focus more on them, rather than their situation. It makes the subtle humour much more visible and highly enhances the laugh factor. First Time Rating: 8/10. Second Time: 10/10

Memento

Like with the above, knowing the end twist beforehand makes it easier to focus on the filming and the style, which is something very well done, indeed. Mind you, this is a film you don’t really have any other choice but to rewatch as it’s so goddamn confusing. First Time Rating: 8/10. Second Time: 9/10

Any of the films of Edgar Wright

It’s hard just to pick one, so I’m going to class his entire filmography as one big movie, just this once. There is so much humour happening so quickly that it’s easy to miss some of the tiny jokes and even some of the great movie tributes that inspired them. SOTD View Count: 5. Hot Fuzz View Count: 6 Scott Pilgrim View Count: 3

So… what films changed for you the second time round? What films do you want to watch a second time? What did you think of my choices? Leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading.

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About Tyler

Patient observer of all things film and music, from Béla Tarr to Boards of Canada. Foul mouthed and clinging to the edge of sanity.

Posted on May 13, 2011, in Lists, Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. When I had more time, I used to watch movies I love over and over again. I always manage to see something new in them during re-viewings. These days, I wind up rewatching alot of comedies or kid movies. Not very highbrow, but still fun.

    • Yeah… my rewatching pattern is pretty sporadic. Sometimes I watch a film for a second time as soon as I’ve finished it the first time, whereas other times I wait months or years before I see it again.

      • And then there’s the HBO effect where I watch a movie numerous times. Not always in it’s entirety, but definitely in bits and pieces.

  2. I agree, most of Stanely Kubrick’s films should be watched twice, since there’s so much to appreciate in them. Especially Dr.Strangelove, which I have watched many times and still find it interesting. I must even admit that the first time I saw it I didn’t even notice Pete Sellers was doing his multi-role thing until almost at the end of the movie.
    But even though it’s a good thing you can watch them again and find new things, it’s also a bad thing when you can’t watch a movie for what it is the first time around (like the case of Memento, which like you said, you HAVE to watch it again).
    Also for the list: Fight Club, Oldboy.
    PS. I wonder if watching Godfather 3 for a second time will make me like it?

  3. I hate to admit that a good chuck of these I have not seen. But the ones I have, I agree with you on. Especially Momento and anything by Edgar Wright. Momento I actually did a presentation on for my story structure class in college. As for Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, that movie clicked with me instantly. I just loved it, even if I can’t exactly explain why.

  4. The Brown Bunny is lucky if it gets 1 viewing. 😉

    • I know, and that’s the sadness with People’s treatment of the movie. They underestimate it and loathe it the first time round and don’t pay proper attention to what it’s trying to say. That is NOT how you watch a movie, and it makes me really angry.

      • I usually always love a movie more the second time around. If I don’t care for a film the first time around I may force myself to watch it again if I think I’ve missed something, especially if it’s had critical acclaim and/or I respect the cast/crew involved. This happens mostly with the Coen Brothers for me. The Coen duo who of course made No Country for Old Men which I dare describe as a ‘perfect’ film and the iconic Fargo. Throw in a honourable mention of True Grit and their first film Blood Simple and you have some truely great dramas. Coen drama is one thing but Coen comedy is another. Apart from their least acclaimed comedy The Hudsucker Proxy I personally don’t care much for their sense of humour at all. They have amusing moments and witty dialogue in all of their films but their supposed true ‘comedies’ are lost on me. I have tried watching their follies several times, Burn After Reading, A Serious Man, O Brother Where Art Thou, The Big Lebowski and dare I mention the bottom of the barrel, Intolerable Cruelty and The Ladykillers. What nonsense. Is this the angle I’m missing? Methodical nonsense? I love dry humour but these guys leave me dehydrated. As I say, all these films have some truly great moments but ‘moments’ are not enough to save a whole film.

        That’s my rant. I had a point but I forgot it as I became more befuddled by how such great minds can create such frivolous bolderdash.

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