Gettin’ better all the time.

Today over on that pesky site that takes up so much of my time—which you all should be reading every day, or we are not friends anymore—a piece went up that has been bouncing around inside my head for months and months. It’s a part of my weekly series Bird Watching, which talks about movies directed or written by women. (Notice the rare use of pun by me! Also this is obviously why Great Movies by Women is on hiatus over here. Also, in that column, I also talk about movies by women that are bad! Fun stuff. Also.)

Titled In Defense of Marie Antoinette, the article is almost twice as long as a typical Bird Watching post, because I just couldn’t make myself stop writing about what I love about Sofia Coppola’s film. I could’ve written another 1500 words, easy. And I am not prolific. And while it feels a bit weird right now for me to be blogging about blogging, the experience of writing this article was so lovely, making me love the film even more with every thought, and it’s been on the to-do list for so long, I feel okay indulging myself by calling a little more attention to it.

Because of this article, I’ve been thinking a lot about films that I loved more with each subsequent viewing—especially ones that I liked the first time around, but where the brilliance didn’t hit me or I didn’t feel truly moved until revisiting. Not just movies that I like to watch over and over, but ones that really grew for me with a second (or third, or fourth) look. And so: an opportunity to make a list! You know how I love that. This isn’t definitive, but here are a few films that blossomed like that, the ones that pop into my head immediately:

The Bridge on the River Kwai. A solid, adventure-y, William Holden-y film the first time around; a searing character drama that made me ache the second time around. A film that has aged well thematically, and so has more to offer each time. (Maybe hasn’t aged as well with race portrayals/male short-short wearing, but whaddaya gonna do?)
Amelie. Seriously this is better with every viewing. Like magic. And it’s one of the only films that makes me feel like I’m not a cynic, for just a little while. Hmm…maybe it’s just that that particular feeling has become more precious to me as time passes…
Synecdoche, New York. Did you know that there is some funny shit in this film? I did not, until second viewing. It’s one I plan to revisit every few years, for sure. I think it will feel different with each next stage of life.
Wet Hot American Summer. Bizarre the first time. Funny the second time. Purest genius on all viewings after that.
Night of the Living Dead. How rare for a horror film to be better with repeat viewings! But this one does seem all the more deep and impressive each time I see it.
Marie Antoinette. Duh! I already said that! I’ve always liked this film, but it’s poised to spring onto my all-time favorites list, the more time I spend with it. Plus, I wanted an excuse to post THE BEST TRAILER OF ALL TIME (FOR SERIOUS):

Oh, New Order. You are life.

What films fall into this better-every-time category for you?

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2 Responses to “Gettin’ better all the time.”


  1. 1 Jared April 26, 2011 at 11:18 am

    I give a big second to your “Amelie” selection. I think you hit the nail on the head in understanding why this movie gets better the more often it’s viewed: it pulls emotions to the surface that are not felt often enough in everyday life.

    I’ve seen American Beauty maybe 3 or 4 times, and it always seems better than before; more beautiful, more tragic, more real to me.

    I appreciate the humor and characters of Wes Anderson’s films, especially “Rushmore” and “The Royal Tenenbaums”, more and more with repeat views. Maybe it’s the soundtracks.

    • 2 Brandi Sperry April 26, 2011 at 11:39 am

      Oh, Rushmore is a great pick for this. I liked it the first time around, but I LOVED it watching again a few years later. Part getting more used to Anderson’s tone through seeing his later work, part being better able to relate to all of the characters at their different stages of life. It’s another great one to plan on revisiting later in life.


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Other projects:


Downton Gabby: podcasting about Downton Abbey from a funny, foul-mouthed, feminist perspective

Quick Lit: reading one short story a day in 2015

Grand Dames: collecting sundry achievements of admirable women

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