I was thinking today about movies that when, once we start them, we cannot stop watching. We always have to finish. Not everyone has movies like these. Some people are easily distracted by any number of things, but a lot of film fans do have those movies they have to watch the whole way through once they’ve started.
For me, there are a small handful of films like this. Films that never bore me. Films that suit whatever the mood is. Films that I find enthralling for every second, that don’t have a single weak moment that sees me looking anxiously at the clock. Films that make me think the moment I start watching them from whatever point: “Right, this is it, hell yes.” Here are five of those films for me:
Stranger than Paradise (1984): It’s almost as if the lyrics of the song used prominently in this movie are describing my reaction to it: “I put a spell on you… because you’re mine!” Screamin’ Jay Hawkins unforgettable voice that opens this indie gem puts a spell on me, and once Jim Jarmusch’s characters are introduced, that’s it… I’m staying for the whole thing. Willie, Eddie and Eva… I love you guys.
Delicatessen (1991): I have an Australian friend who has not seen this movie, and every time I see him I feel like saying “This is a job for the Australian!”, a direct quote from this movie. Delicatessen, one of the most consistently hilarious movies ever made, is a cult classic in my house and I watch it once a month most months, sometimes with my girlfriend, sometimes alone, generally with alcohol and always with a smile on my face.
Three Colours: Red (1994): Maybe it’s the wonderful, mindbogglingly sexy Irene Jacob, or the serene but embittered Jean-Louis Trintignant. Maybe it’s the film’s rich colours and dark tone. Maybe it’s Krzysztof Kieslowski. All I know is that I have to sit this masterpiece through to its revelatory end.
Werckmeister Harmonies (2000): Keep me away from my DVD of my favourite film if it’s early in the day. Because if I start watching even a second of it in the morning, then all bets are off. I will cancel all appointments, skip work, shut everything and everyone out for the remaining 139 minutes. From its opening moments it grabs me like a magnet, and holds me in its grasp.
Glengarry Glen Ross (1992): Every single moment of this is perfect. All the actors are insanely brilliant. The script is mindblowingly holy-f**king-shit good. There’s not a single flawed aspect of this 90s classic, and once started, it can never be stopped.
What are some of your once started, always finished (or OSAF) movies? Let me know in the comments, and explain why it is these movies glue your eyes to the screen.