i’ve watched this film over forty times and it’s always been one of my favorites of all-time, but watching it this time was a unique experience. i’m in a very different mindset these days so i can’t help but interpret everything in a different way. the dynamic between willis and bedelia was more vibrant and resonant than ever before. willis’ bathroom soliloquy was more poignant, the laughs were more hearty, and the music was more stirring. in short, this time around may well have been the best viewing ever of this particular film. it’s a film that begs to be watched repeatedly and earns it every time. it’s a film that defines the very limit of the action/adventure genre, and maybe even cinema altogether. it’s pretty difficult for me to overstate the place in my heart that this film holds. everything within the film is so seamless – the music (kamen is amazing, but so are mctiernan’s choices – using the “aliens” piece at the very end, the incorporation of xmas music to help the setting, the bach, the beethoven, the run d.m.c.! just brilliant), the images (jan de bont’s inspired camera movement and mctiernan’s lively and unique (for the time) editing style), the performances (break out role for willis, yes, but also notable performances from bedelia, rickman, veljohnson, gleason and white) all come together in a perfect synthesis. and with al disarrio as the sfx supervisor you know that things on that front are going to be solid as well. there are some scenes where you can tell a process shot was used, but when you’re not scrutinizing the film these effects are seamless and that’s pretty remarkable considering it’s a film from the 80s. i think that if you watch this film without having heard any hype about it (because hype always hinders a film) then you must like it. for me it’s a film that i really can watch any time. many of my other top films (paths of glory, the graduate, the killing, koyaanisqatsi, boogie nights, etc.) require a particular mood, but this film doesn’t. no matter what mood i’m in i can watch this film, and since i’ve seen it so many times it’s like visiting an old friend. one of the best pieces of art of all-time.