Ha ha ha. Ho ho ho. And a couple of tra la las. That’s how we laugh the day away… (photo courtesy Turner Classic Movies).

Whenever anyone asks me to name my favorite movie—a request that comes up fairly often when you write about pop culture—I don’t hesitate and I certainly don’t try to pull off one of those phony responses about how there are too many films to choose from. I’m not the kind of guy who can feign enduring passion for some obscure foreign title. When people ask you about your favorite anything it should say something honest about who you are—and not who you’d like them to think you are.

Oh, sorry, I’ve hesitated: It’s The Wizard of Oz, which is back on the big screen on Wednesday night, September 23, all across the nation in honor of its 70th anniversary and, not coincidentally, its upcoming Blu-ray disc release.

Sure, I love Days of Heaven and The Godfather and Jaws and any James Bond film that doesn’t feature Pierce Brosnan (though I have a weak spot for about half of Tomorrow Never Dies because it features a lean, limber Michelle Yeoh and, more importantly, the death of Teri Hatcher—does that make me a bad person?).

But The Wizard of Oz is the movie that made me love movies. It sent my young mind into many different directions, including the one that eventually got me in this chair writing all these sentences. The Wizard of Oz made me want to know about movies and talk about movies. Its effect was powerful enough to convince me that both were valuable uses of my time.

I know there are many of you out there who haven’t seen the film in a movie theater. It’s an entirely different experience on the big screen. And a valuable use of your time.

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