On “Sleepless in Seattle” and Being a Movie Watching Creature of Habit

In today’s guest post, Bill Dunphy discusses his love for the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan romcom favorite Sleepless in Seattle, and shares some musings on films that he can’t turn off once they’re on.

I got home tonight after meeting friends for drinks, turned on the TV, and started watching Sleepless in Seattle. Once again I was hooked! Why is that, certain movies, regardless of how many times you have seen them, hook you, and you have to watch them then and there?
I have many films that are on my favorites list, and I watch them annually at the appropriate time of the year, every year. Then there are other films — the ones you don’t consciously think of — that, if they’re on and you see them, you’re hooked! This is one of those movies I don’t readily think of, yet, if it’s on when I turn the TV on, I watch.

The Quiet Man is my number one favorite movie. But if it’s on, I can, and often do, change the channel, because I feel its not the right time to watch it. Or, it’s in the middle of the film, and I have my own copy that I can watch whenever. But there are movies I apparently love, but on a more subconscious level than my longtime go-to favorites. Maybe it’s a feel good thing for me, but I cannot think of any horror films that this would apply to, save maybe the 1933 version King Kong.

I am a creature of habit. I watch certain films at certain times annually. Not only that, but my Christmas films have a pecking order in which I watch them, culminating with Scrooge (the Albert Finney version) on Christmas day while I cook my turkey. Now, I love that movie, yet if it was on any other time than Christmas day, I wouldn’t watch it. I could easily change the channel.

Maybe it’s because Sleepless doesn’t fit into one of “my” seasonal or holiday genres that I can watch it whenever its on. Another movie that if it’s on I am hooked is The Caine Mutiny. I love that film, but it obviously doesn’t fall into one of my genres, so I watch it when I come across it. Mr. Roberts is another, as is 12 Angry Men (the Fonda version), Nobody’s Fool, Silverado, Somebody Up There Likes Me, and dozens more that don’t generate thoughts of a time of the year, or a specific holiday. Now, I have copies of all the movies I just mentioned, yet I don’t think to watch them at any given specific time. I think, from now on, I will randomly reach into a shelf of my DVDs and watch that movie at that time. I know I must like whatever I pick, or I wouldn’t have a copy of it!

Sometimes I will be talking movies with friends and they might mention a movie that I haven’t seen in a long time, which I will then go home and watch. Many times friends will ask if I have a copy of a film they want to borrow, which I will watch prior to loaning it. Many times I will turn the TV on, just for the sound since I live alone, and a movie will be on that I don’t have time to watch then. I will then get my copy out, and put it on top of my DVD player to watch the next time I am free.

I guess what it boils down to is, “so many films, so little time”, or, perhaps, and more aptly in my case, don’t be so rigid, such a creature of habit — watch a movie that doesn’t fit into one of my seasonal/holiday niches, and shake my world up!

Bill Dunphy enjoys photography, cooking, reading, and, of course, movies–of which he has about 350 in his library.