Saturday, 4 February 2017

The Saturday List #116 - Ten films that are better on a second viewing

Last night I went to see Trainspotting T2. I was actually pleasantly surprised. The reviews I'd heard had been negative and dsmissive. I thought it was actually quite good. Prior to the film, we had drinks and a meal with some friends. The subject of the original came up. I made the bold statetment that "It was better on the second viewing". On the first viewing, there were elements of shock that were taken away with it. On second viewing, many of the subtlties that got missed on the first viewing came to the fore. So the inevitable question that always comes up in my company when such discussions are made came up. What are the top ten films that are better the second time you watch them? Here is my list.

1. 2001 - A Space Odyssey.
The first time I saw this I couldn't make head nor tale of it. The second time, it actually made sense and I realised it is a masterpiece. I suspect that the scene below may well be an allegorical view of how the apocalypse will play out for humanity. I wonder whether Arthur C. Clarke knew that when he wrote it.
2. Tommy.
The story of a deaf, dumb and blind boy, put to music by The Who. The first time I saw it I enjoyed it as a musical vehicle for the music of The Who and found the story to be secondary. On the second watch (many years later on TV), I realised just how powerful it was. I discussed it with a mate who said the same. He said it looks better on TV and I have to agree.

3. Black Hawk Down.
First time I saw it, I just saw a great action film with a thinnish plot. On second watching I got what it was about properly.

4. High Noon.
On first watch, a great Western. On second watch, a great and very clever bit of cinematography, set in real time. Very claustrophobic and powerful.
5. The Life of Brian.
On first watch, I thought it was hilarious. The comedic elements alone are great. But on second view I realised that it is also a very clever film. Many aspects of what is shown sum up just what a silly species we really are.
6. Trainspotting (the original film).
On second viewing, I got a few of the subtleties I'd missed on first view and some of the deeper interelationships between the characters. I rather changed my opinion of some of them.

7. Ben Hur.
Charlton Heston at his finest. A truly spectacular watch. But as with many high budget, spectacular films, rather overwhelming on first view. On second watch, I realised why they'd spent so much money on the story.

8.  Harold and Kumar get the munchies.
When my middle daughter was about six, her elder sister was away at a swimming gala. As a treat I took her to Blockbuster video and said she could pick a film. This was what she picked. She liked the cover and thought it looked funny. As a terrible parent, I didn't even bother checking and didn't realise that it had a rather more grown up theme. We settled down to watch it. Fortunately she was so young and innocent that the more adult themes passed her by and she thought it was hilarious, I gave a running commentary that explained some of the more extreme elements in a sort of "alternative truth" manner (Donald would be proud). When my wife returned, I watched it again with her. It was even more funny, but she was furious that I'd let a six year old watch it. My daughter has turned out to be quite sensible so I am not too ashamed.

9. Woodstock.
The documentary film of the epochal sixties music festival. On first watch as a teenager, I liked the celebration of 1960's counter culture. When I watched it again, I realised that there were some awesome peformances by artists who you wouldn't really classify immediately as 1960's stoners. It is worth watching for Santana, Sly and The Family Stone, Ritchie Havens and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's performances - these are awesome.

10.Brief Encounter.
When I saw it the first time I was bored stiff and hated it. I was  a teenager and wanted to impress a rather bookish young lady by pretending I was into cinema.  A few years ago, we watched it again at hpome, when nothing else was on telly. I realised that it is a brilliant film, but I suspect you have to be a grown up to really enjoy it.

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