Hank the Questionable Cineaste


Hank believes that two movies changed his life.* Or rather, two movies and that Patterson video.

The first is Star Wars. Hank was a mere pup in 1977, and this movie changed everything. Full stop. The second is Jaws. In 1975, Hank was an even merer pup and was not allowed to see it. Nevertheless, it made his relationship to deep water very different from what it might have been otherwise. 

That said, the following movies Hank has seen many times, and he really likes them. You might notice that a great many good movies aren’t on this list. This is because Hank doesn’t need to see them again, whereas some of the arguable stinkers listed he will see over and over and over. Labradors are like that.

National Film Registry(For those great films Hank has passed over, he refers you to the National Film Registry.  By all means, work your way through the list! See THX 1138 and Deliverance and Mildred Pierce and add the great foreign classics Battleship Potemkin, The Seventh Seal, etc….then come back and watch Airplane! again and again and again.)

House of Hank Classics

  • What’s Up, Doc? (True: The Most Perfect Comedy Ever, Steve)
  • Caddyshack (True: Wildly imperfect)
  • Young Frankenstein
  • Blazing Saddles (True: Hank’s ancient great aunts go to see this in theaters when it is first released, thinking it’s a Western. Hank wonders: at which point did they realize their error?)
  • Foul Play
  • Seems Like Old Times (True: Chevy, Goldie, Charles) 
  • The Three Amigos (True: Hank in a dicey fishing bar. A bunch of crab fishermen get up and sing “My Little Buttercup” a capella. Hank nearly falls off his stool, but he’s on the floor already.)
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Stand by Me
  • Silver Streak
  • Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure
  • Escape to Witch Mountain (True: Pure 1970′s Winnebago nostalgia)
  • Heaven Can Wait
  • The Breakfast Club (True)
  • Better off Dead
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • Say Anything
  • All of Me
  • Silverado
  • sex, lies and videotape
  • Moonstruck
  • The Commitments
  • So I Married an Axe Murderer
  • Zoolander
  • Raising Arizona
  • The Life of Brian
  • Airplane!
  • The Princess Bride
  • A Fish Called Wanda
  • 9 to 5
  • Local Hero (True: Hank makes a call home from that phone in “Ferness” and no one answers)
  • Always
  • Night Shift
  • Pink Panther
  • A Christmas Story
  • Room With a View
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind (True: Hank has a story about this but he can’t tell you)
  • Beverly Hills Cop
  • Back to the Future (True: Hank roams Aspen hoping to set off DeLorean flux capacitors)
  • Election
  • Don Juan de Marco
  • Lars and the Real Girl
  • Angel-A
  • Rocknrolla
  • Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
  • Stardust
  • Toy Story 1,2,3
  • Bottle Rocket
  • Crimes of the Heart
  • Rushmore
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Harold and Maude
  • Whale Rider
  • Party Girl
  • Elf
  • The Full Monty
  • Danny Deckchair
  • Strictly Ballroom
  • Office Space
  • To Be or Not to Be
  • Napoleon Dynamite
  • Whiskey Galore
  • Being There
  • Trois Couleurs: Bleu (True: Hank sees premiere in Paris)
  • Waiting for Guffman
  • Saving Grace
  • Gosford Park
  • Henry Poole is Here
  • L’Arnacoeur/ Heartbreaker (True: the only references to Dirty Dancing or George Michael that are OK with Hank)
  • Walk the Line
  • Star Trek (2010)
  • Atonement
  • Ocean’s Eleven
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • Big Trouble
  • Once Were WarriorsThat Lady's a Selkie
  • Henry V
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • The Secret of Roan Inish
  • The Queen
  • Billy Elliott
  • Fried Green Tomatoes
  • Smoke Signals
  • Dance Me Outside (True: the best movie you’ve never seen)
  • Cinema Paradiso
  • Efter brylluppet/After the Wedding
  • Field of Dreams
  • Adams Applen /Adam’s Apples
  • Män som hatar kvinnor/The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (True:  Hollywood remakes are insulting)
  • Valhalla Rising (True: Don’t ask)
  • Bernie


  • The Changeling (True: Most Shivery)
  • El orfanato / The Orphanage
  • Fallen
  • Pan’s Labyrinth
  • Nosferatu
  • Låt den rätte komma in / Let the Right One In


  • Step into Liquid
  • Riding Giants
  • Baraka
  • The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
  • The Eyes of Tammy Faye
  • Coasts [BBC]
  • The Blue Planet / Planet Earth [BBC]
  • Koyaanisqatsi
  • Grey Gardens
  • Butte, America
  • A History of Scotland [BBC]

For Puppies

  • My Neighbor Totoro
  • Up (True: Magic)
  • The Muppet Movie
  • The Black Stallion
  • National Velvet (True: Hank still wants a pony)
  • The Incredibles
  • Flushed Away
  • Ice Age
  • Mary Poppins
  • Finding Nemo
  • Walt Disney’s Robin Hood (True: One of Hank’s Very Favorite People had deeply sincere crush on Robin Hood—yes, the fox—probably still does. May be wrong, but crushes are like that.)

Actual Classics

  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Funny Face
  • Auntie Mame
  • Philadelphia Story
  • Roman Holiday
  • Grand Hotel
  • It Happened One Night
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  • The Quiet Man
  • Rebecca
  • City Lights
  • A Hard Day’s Night
  • Casablanca


  • Strangers With Candy (True: Sick puppy)
  • Pushing Daisies
  • Absolutely Fabulous (True: Hank explaining this show to folks in the U.S. after London in the early 90′s  didn’t work)
  • The Carol Burnett Show
  • WKRP in Cincinnati
  • Reno 911!
  • (True: Hank doesn’t own a TV)



* There is also a movie that Hank thinks changed everyone’s ability to be reasonable: Ishtar.

Fact: There are only five (5) people in the world that have actually seen Ishtar.  Three of them are related to Hank. What do you think this means? Hank thinks it means that all the folks who instinctively grimace and whinge when Ishtar is mentioned NEVER SAW IT. Now, all caps usually implies an author barking at a reader, and Hank usually tries to avoid this indelicacy. But the Ishtar hating must stop, people!

Make no mistake: Ishtar is a silly, silly movie that cost way too much to make. Which apparently can’t be said about everything else Hollywood cranks out. The difference is that Ishtar is so goofy that it will make you smile in spite of yourself. The songs are worth the proverbial price of admission alone, which incidentally isn’t much. (Come on, it’s Paul Williams and Elaine May here.) Plus, there’s Charles Grodin and a blind camel. So just watch it, willya? Oh, Willa.

…Oh right, but good luck with that because all the Ishtar bashing means no one’s bothered to release it on U.S. format DVD. Thanks, haters. No biscuit.

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