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Great Home Theater Movies 

Home Theater Rating Movie Rating
The Day After Tomorrow. The visual special effects are incredible, and the sound is terrific too. This movie didn't do all that well in the theaters, but I like it. While the story is suspenseful, the suspense doesn't arise from people trying to hurt each other. It arises from people struggling together against a natural disaster. There are also numerous inspiring instances of personal heroics. If you like Dennis Quaid, you'll enjoy his performance in this movie. You might question the underlying science of the movie, but with special effects like this, who cares!
Top Gun. This is one of the best movies to show up both the projector and the sound system of a home theater. The bass when the fighters take off from the carrier deck after the opening credits will shake your house. The visuals of the aircraft carrier at sea and the planes exploding are hard to beat. Of course the story is timeless, and the movie itself takes me back to my first summer after college.
Product image for ASIN: 6304711891 The Rock. I love the summer-blockbuster genre. I like "films," too, but I also like movies with lots of explosions and one liners. This was the first movie I saw when I first got my DLP projector. It looks great on the big screen and sounds great in the home theater. 
Raiders of the Lost Ark. Prior to seeing this movie in a theater for the first time, I'd read an article in Newsweek about an author who was suing George Lucas for stealing his plot. The Newsweek article summarized the plot (searching for the lost ark of the covenant), and so I went to the theater expecting a religious movie. Needless to say, I was surprised, but not disappointed! Raiders is one of my favorite movies of all time. The movie has the potential to be an electrifying home theater experience (think about the big ball in the opening scene), but the quality of the transfer to DVD is only so-so. 
to Lord of the Rings. The Lord of the Rings trilogy seems designed to showcase a home theater's capabilities. They've paid lots of attention to the sound during the DVD transfer, and the big screen really improves your ability to follow what's going on during the battle scenes. I personally love Parts I and III. I found the endless battle scenes in Part II so repetitive that I started asking questions like, "How come these guys can just stand around and not get shot while everyone around them is getting creamed?" I'm sure the same issues would apply to Parts I and III, but those held my attention well enough that I never got around to asking that question.  
Star Wars. There's a reason that many of the advertising pictures you see for home theaters are playing Star Wars. It's because Star Wars is a lot more fun to watch on a big screen than a small one! The sound and special effects are incredible. Of course the acting is what it is--there's a reason that Harrison Ford went on to become famous on his own, while Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill didn't. 
The Shining. On the first-generation DVD of the Shining, the video quality was the worst I'd ever seen--all kinds of artifacts from the poor quality print the DVD was made from. The next generation the quality was remarkably better. The movie itself has lost nothing in the 25 years since it came--Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall are still incredibly creepy, and I still don't like being home alone while I'm watching it. The reason it gets only 3 screens is that the original movie was filmed in a full screen format, i.e., 4:3 aspect ratio, so it isn't doesn't really maximize the home theater experience. 
Last Man Standing. Based on story by Akira Kurusawa, this is one of Catherine Zeta-Jones's first appearances, even though I think her part  is a distraction from the basic shoot 'em up storyline. I love the orange tone throughout the movie. Bruce Willis gives a solid performance, and Christopher Walkin is convincingly deranged as a mob assassin. Other performances are uneven, ranging from very good, to comically melodramatic. The Ry Cooder soundtrack is what keeps bringing me back to watch the movie another time.  
Tin Cup. This is my favorite golf movie, along with Caddyshack. It's a significantly better-looking movie, and the heat and dryness of west Texas are palpable. The overall storyline resonates with me for reasons I've never been able to put my finger on--certainly not because I'm one step away from greatness as a golfer! The storyline is organized as a series of short stories that collectively add up to a cohesive overall story. It wasn't until I watched the movie the 5th or 6th time that I realized how self-contained each of the scenes in the movie is as a story in its own right. The golf photography is beautiful in places, especially at the US Open toward the end of the movie. The soundtrack is also wonderful. 
Patton. Great movie for sprawling battle scenes. Very good cinematography and sound for its day. 
Hunt for Red October. This is one of the few movies that I can watch a little bit of practically any time. In the darkened home theater, you can feel the cold of the north Atlantic and the closeness of life inside the submarine. 
Product image for ASIN: B00000JLWW Titanic. This is such a visually sprawling movie that it needs a big screen. I first saw this movie as in-flight entertainment on a 747 flying across the north Atlantic. Yes, the parallels gave me the creeps! I give it only 4 screens because there aren't any really cool explosions ;-)
To Have and Have Not. When my wife first saw this movie, she said, "Could Lauren Bacall possibly BE any more sultry?" The answer, of course, is, "No!" The chemistry between Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall makes the movie. The reason this is a great home theater movie is that I sometimes have trouble paying attention to old black and white movies on a regular TV. But there's something about watching a B&W movie on the big screen in the dark that makes it more involving. 
Product image for ASIN: B00006DEFA Amadeus. The sound and picture of this movie are incredible. If you haven't seen it in the past 15 years, it's worth dragging it out and watching it again. 
Product image for ASIN: 6305558205 Local Hero. This has long been one of my favorite movies. It takes the main character through a transition from busy, overcommitted urban life to a simpler but more satisfying lifestyle in rural Scotland. The characters are quirky and humorous, and the score by Mark Knopfler perfectly fits the movie. The movie is slow paced, and seen in a busy living room with lots of distractions it can be hard to engage with it. Seen in the dedicated home theater, it's easier to immerse yourself in the ambience of the movie. 
TBD.

 

Email me at stevemcc@construx.com.