The Wizard of Oz
Everyone's seen it--it must be the most-rerun movie in TV history. But how long has it been since you sat down and watched it--as a film, not as an iconic strip of celluloid Americana? First, check out the art direction--pretty trippy for 1939, eh? And forget the fantastical setting and story for a moment and get a load of the performances. Judy Garland bleeds vulnerability right off the screen as Dorothy, and Ray "Scarecrow" Bolger, Jack "Tin Man" Haley, and Bert "Cowardly Lion" Lahr are even funnier, sweeter, and more skilled under close examination. And while "Over the Rainbow" is the acknowledged classic number, Harold Arlen wasn't wasting his score paper on the likes of "If I Only Had a Heart" either. You can spend 101 minutes contemplating the film as a thoroughgoing allegory for the political situation in late 19th-century America (seriously--type "wizard oz political allegory" into a search engine and see what comes up). Or you can just sit back and take in one of cinema's most beloved and influential works, as it was meant to be seen. And if you know one, take a kid who hasn't seen it before, because he or she won't get many chances to see it like this.