I often say that my favorite movie is Chinatown. I’ve thought for years—nay, staunchly defended for years against all-comers—that my favorite movie is Chinatown. But actually, my favorite movie is often the original King Kong. (I like the Peter Jackson re-make, but not at that level). And then the next day it might be Chinatown again, but more often now my favorite movie is the Big Ape in the Big Apple epic. When I’m honest about it, which movie would I much rather stick into my DVD player and watch on a Friday night? No contest, King Kong wins over Roman Polanski’s brilliant but very bleak noir classic. So perhaps King Kong truly is my favorite movie.
And then other days, I’m sure that 2001: A Space Odyssey is my #1. But I would rather watch the whole of The Outlaw Josey Wales than 2001, so often the Clint Eastwood Western classic is my favorite movie. But I may watch Duck Soup instead, because that’s my favorite movie. Not Manhattan, which is also my favorite movie.
The point is, I’ve given up on the idea of having a favorite movie. I grew up thinking I needed to have one, and now I realize there’s room at the top. No need to single one out; they all serve their special purposes. Even The Searchers, and it’s my favorite movie.