I was too young to see it when it came out, and I never thought a movie about sharks could actually be scary and gripping until I finally watched it as an adult. The story is perfect, the shark is terrifying, and the movie keeps you on the edge of your seat. Up until now, that seat had to be on my couch at home, but in honor of its 40th anniversary, they’re putting the movie back in theaters for a very limited run beginning June 21.
We love watching movies at home, and you can’t beat the price of the popcorn that comes out of my kitchen instead of a theater, but, like Jaws, some movies really lose something in the TV-to-screen translation.
Other great movies deserve a revival on the big screen—some for me and some for my kids. Leaving out the obvious old-school classics, such as Gone with the Wind, Singin’ in the Rain and The Wizard of Oz, there are still a bunch of ’70s, ’80s and ’90s movies that I’d love to see in the theater. Here are the top 10:
1. The Godfather (I and II)
(We’re going to leave out III, for obvious reasons.)
Forget other movies about gangsters and the mafia: There’s a reason these both won Oscars for Best Picture. New York City in the 1940s, the Italian countryside and Cuba on the verge of revolution are all backdrops for this family saga that makes you understand how a young man who wants to live a decent life can find himself running his family’s empire. There are so many unforgettable scenes in these movies that they both deserve a bigger screen, a dark room and no interruptions. And maybe a double feature.
“Greased Lightning,” “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee,” “You’re the One That I Want” … gotta see those production numbers on the big screen. I still don’t like the moral of the story, which has Sandy giving up her true nature to dress and act just like everyone else to win Danny’s love, but it’s still a movie best seen in a group, where no one can keep their feet from tapping and everyone loves a beauty school dropout.
3. The Princess Bride
People remember this movie for its hilarious dialogue—lines like, “Have fun storming the castle!” and “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die,” but it’s also visually beautiful. Worth it for the Westley (Cary Elwes) and Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin) sword-fight scene alone, but it gets bonus points for the Rodents of Unusual Size, the Pit of Despair, and the way Princess Buttercup (Robin Wright) rolls down a hill.
Here’s why I want this one to hit movie theaters: I’ve never seen it.
I know! It’s embarrassing.
I did see the sequel, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, and really enjoyed it, but I know the first one is a classic, so I’m holding out for a revival. Is it too scary for the kids? Someone will tell me before we go.
5. Planet of the Apes (the original)
Remakes, schmemakes: Nothing really comes close to the power of the original. Sure, it looks a little cheesy sometimes, but when I saw it for the first time as a kid, that ending made me gasp out loud. While it’s true that we can do so much more with special effects now than back then, the makeup was superb in the original, and the story, somehow, was completely believable. I’d love to take my son to see this.
6. The Shining
I’m not into horror movies at all, but this movie is so brilliant, so visual, so moody, so intense that the only reason to see it on television is so you can keep the lights on. Jack Nicholson deserves the full-screen treatment for this one, along with the blood pouring from the elevator, the ax coming through the door as a terrified Shelley Duvall cowers, the twin girls in the hallway and the topiary. Don’t bring the kids.
7. Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
This, you can bring the kids to. All of you need to see this on the big screen for the bright colors, the bike ride through Hollywood soundstages and the incredible breakfast-making scene at the beginning. And don’t forget Large Marge.
Another kid-friendly one. We’ve been meaning to show this to our kids for ages, but I keep thinking how much better that dancing on the piano scene in the soon-to-close FAO Schwarz would be if they could see it on a movie screen. I sound like an old fogey when I say this, but it’s such a lovely movie it deserves to be watched in a place where people turn off their cell phones and just bask in it.
9. Do The Right Thing
People argue about the end of this movie all the time, debating what exactly they think director Spike Lee was trying to say. But it wasn’t just the script and the actors that made it so memorable—it’s also intensely visual. The key to the movie’s look is that it takes place on the hottest day of the summer. You feel the sweat, the building tension, the inescapable heat, and then when it all comes to a boil, you feel every nuance. The small screen doesn’t do it justice.
10. Back to the Future
You were waiting for this one, weren’t you? The question is, do you want this for your kids or for yourself?