Monday, July 20, 2020

Five Movie Genres I Have to Watch No Matter What

by Patrick Bromley
There are some movies I just can't resist.

1. Jimmy Stewart Westerns
From playing Frank Capra's idealistic Everyman to starring in of some of Hitchcock's best films, it's obvious that Jimmy Stewart is one of the all-time great movie actors. I'll happily watch anything just because he's in it, but no movies can get me to press 'play' faster than his westerns. The ones he made with Anthony Mann are my favorites -- movies like Winchester '73, The Naked Spur, Bend of the River, The Far Country, and The Man From Laramie -- but I just recently watched Destry Rides Again and Bandolero! and loved them both. There's something about watching Stewart fight against his aw-shucks decency and leaning into some of his darker tendencies that makes him infinitely compelling. I like all kinds of westerns, but the Jimmy Stewart ones tend to be the ones I like best.

2. Buddy Cop Movies
I like lots of movies about cops, but there's something about two cops working together to solve a case that's irresistible to me. Mismatched cops who have to struggle not to kill each other on their way to taking down the big boss? Bring it. But I'll take two cops who are best friends, too. They don't have to bicker; they just have to be partners. I don't know what's wrong with me.

3. Elvis Movies
Though he was never known for the quality of his cinematic output, there isn't an Elvis movie I won't watch and most likely enjoy. I love his good movies, sure -- stuff like King Creole and Viva Las Vegas and Jailhouse Rock. But I love the shitty ones, too. Give me Girl Crazy and Kissin' Cousins any day of the week. The songs are mostly forgettable (minus the occasional iconic hit) and Elvis seems checked out a lot of the time, but there's such a sense of innocence and goofy fun to the romantic comedies and such a sense of honest, earnest sincerity to his look-ma-I-can-act dramas like Wild in the Country and Flaming Star that I can never help but love them. Good? Not usually. Great? Always.

4. Time Travel Movies
I don't think it's just that Back to the Future is my favorite movie of all time that makes me love time travel movies, just like I don't think the fact that I love time travel movies makes Back to the Future my favorite movie of all time. There are still a ton of classic time travel movies I haven't seen -- like Primer, for example (I know, I know) -- but I'm always willing to give a time travel movie a chance. For every When We First Met, I'll discover a Time After Time or a Trancers.

5. '80s "Raunchy" Comedies
As I said on the podcast last week, there is a type of comedy made between roughly 1980 and 1986 that I will always watch. Characterized by excessive partying, gratuitous nudity, cinematic anarchy, and the "snobs v. slobs" trope, these raunchy comedies are the progeny of National Lampoon and its ilk. Like Elvis movies, there are very few actually "good" entries in this particular genre -- the kind of movie made popular by USA Up All Night. I don't care. I only regret that they are no longer in regular rotation on cable.


  1. We just need a movie where Elvis and Jimmy Stewart are cops who time travel back to the old West and open a fraternity.

  2. Totally with you on Jimmy Stewart westerns. Just the other day at Walmart I picked up a DVD collection of a bunch of them, and I'm so excited about it. Just watched Destry Rides Again and really enjoyed it ("You know I had a friend once...") and Bandolero is also fantastic (even though Stewart and Dean Martin look nothing like brothers).

    Fun list!

  3. One underrated recent buddy-cop comedy: 2017's CHiPs. Does it measure up to the Jump Street films? No. Is it better than fairly decent? Nah. Does it have some regressive humor? It does. Is it heinously hateful, utterly devoid of laughs, and all-around worthy of the critical pummeling it got? Heck, no. It's got Michael Peña, Vincent D'Onofrio, and Rosa Salazar, for Pete's sake. The action is bright, colorful, and coherent. It's fine.

  4. I love Stewart comedies and his Hitchcock films, but somehow I don't think I've seen any of his westerns. I'll have to check those out.

  5. I love this list, and might have to make one of my own. It would change depending on the era (era!) of my life, but there are definitely categories like this for me.

    I realized upon reading this that I have never seen an Elvis movie (I KNOW) or a Jimmy Stewart Western. So sounds like I need to remedy that! Any recommendations of what to start with?

    1. Destry Rides Again is a great pickup during the Criterion sale, but The Man From Laramie might be my favorite one. As for Elvis, I might start with Viva Las Vegas because you also get Ann-Margret.

  6. Turner Classic Movies has shown Viva Las Vegas countless times, and I have not set aside time to watch it once. That will have to change. A few years ago I saw Live A Little, Love A Little, which I was more serious than I expected.

    The darker side of Jimmy Stewart that partly comes out in It's A Wonderful Life shines in his westerns. I also enjoy his westerns more than his other films.

    80s sex comedies are a soft spot for me as well. My favorite recent discovery in that realm is The Party Animal, a clever send-up of the genre. I believe those films have disappeared from cable TV because, like any product of the 1980s, they are receding into the past. They also have a hard time fitting into the current cultural climate.

  7. It's a great idea for a list. And in the last few years James Stewart is becoming one of my favourite actors. Watching him in Winchester 73 was a revalation. No matter what mode he's in his presence is comforting.

  8. I could totally see Jimmy Stewart in Deja Vu. Also, could see Denzel in Vertigo.