Getting Second Chances: The 5 Greatest “Re-Do” Movies

Every year Americans get the gift of being allowed to relive one hour of their lives. It only happens once a year, and like most magic it comes at a price: You will lose an hour of your life at the beginning of the next year. Who was the sorcerer that conjured this deal to allow us to re-do sixty minutes of our lives? Benjamin Franklin is actually given some credit for the idea, but the man who proposed this bewitched hour was New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson, and if you haven’t realized it yet, we are actually talking about the practice of Daylight Savings Time. Sunday morning at 2:00 am in North America, the clocks get rotated back to 1:00 am. We’re not saying you’re going to get a second shot at that failed flirting attempt at the bar, but you will be given an extra hour to sleep off your humiliation. Originally implemented by the Germans during World War I to conserve coal, Britain and her allies (that’s us!) followed suit soon after and got us hooked on Daylight Savings Time. To celebrate the continued extra hour of sleep on a cold November Saturday night, here are our five favorite movies that give the hero a chance to relive a critical hour of their life.

#5 – Peggy Sue Got Married – In the 1980s, Grease was still the word and the “Enchantment Under the Sea” dance was the bee’s knees, because America was obsessed with the ’50’s. It was in this era that Francis Ford Coppola made his ode to the decade of innocence in Peggy Sue Got Married. In the film, Kathleen Turner’s Peggy Sue attends her high school reunion with her destined-to-be-ex-husband played by Nicholas Cage (the director’s nephew). At the reunion she passes out and wakes up to find herself reliving her senior year of high school. There’s even a pre-fame performance from Jim Carrey if you’re looking for an unimpeachable excuse to watch it. We’re not sure if being sent back to high school is a second chance or punishment, but both ways of looking at it sound like a prison sentence.

#4 – Superman – The Movie - There’s a lot to love about Richard Donner’s Superman movies, but there is also a lot that just doesn’t hold up over time. One element that definitely doesn’t work when you actually think about it is the ending to Superman – The Movie; for the film’s climax, Clark must decide whether he can create an obstacle to stop the flood surge from a destroyed dam or save the love of his life, Lois Lane. He does the right thing and saves hundreds of innocent civilians and stops the deluge of water, but is unable to save the world’s most famous reporter, who was crushed in her car. But wait, Superman has a plan: he flies around the Earth so fast that he gets time to go backwards (yay physics!, or lack thereof). After he gets time back to a critical point, he is able to save Lois and live happily ever after. Except in this instance they completely ignore the fact that Superman is now letting the flood water rage unfettered, thus causing a much higher body count than a feel good movie like Superman should really allow.

#3 – Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World – If there’s one thing we know how to do well in video games, it’s die. Maybe the “normal” setting is just too much for us and we need to tone it down a bit. But in the final act of Scott Pilgrim, our titular hero doesn’t have the option to dumb it down. So Scott does what the rest of us do when we die against the big bad of the game, he remembered where he made mistakes and got it right the second time. The scenes are worth reliving again just to see the “Hipster Scum” explode upon this Pilgrim’s cutting retorts and sharp blade.

#2 – Run Lola Run – If we were including TV shows in this list Community‘s “Remedial Chaos Theory” would probably be Number One with a bullet… a bullet from the gun in Annie’s purse. But it’s not a movie and not being included, no matter how much I want to talk about it. The movie equivalent of “Chaos Theory” is Tom Tykwer’s Run Lola Run. Franka Potente, in her breakthrough role as Lola, must come up with the money to save her beau in twenty minutes or less. The movie repeats the same twenty-minute period over and over, showing the myriad of ways Lola can save her boyfriend or fail spectacularly. It’s an intense slice of cutting edge cinema that still holds up and manages to feel fresh fourteen years later. We can’t even get a pizza in 20 minutes, much less get it to stay good for 14 years.

#1 – Groundhog Day - “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Harold Ramis’ classic film about a weatherman (Bill Murray) who has to live his day over and over again until he gets it right has been a guiding light for teaching comedy nerds to always try to the right thing since it debuted in 1993. From saving lives to taking piano lessons, the movie is a testament to what you can do with a day, if you have to relive it hundreds of times. But if Daylight Savings Time ever gave us a chance to connect with Andie MacDowell, we’d take it and pray we didn’t hear Sonny and Cher the next morning.

Bonus: Source Code – While the technology is massively improved, Source Code is basically Groundhog Day meets 24 in The Matrix. That little mash-up analogy may oversimplify the film, but if your looking to make a marathon of “re-do” movies, Source Code is a must-have addition. While technically not a “do-over” film because Jake Gyllenhaal is reliving someone else’s life, we’re happy to bend the rules a little to include Young Blue Eyes’ adventure in train-saving that rivals Steven Seagal for most excitement on a locomotive. Unless you count that time we found $5 on the subway. Now that was exciting.

Got a favorite “Do Over” movie? Quemment with the title below. Also, if you like fun lists like this subscribe to Nerdist News and get the latest in interviews, news, and topical discussions every morning in your inbox.

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  • Not a movie, but a great book on the topic is Ken Grimwood’s “Replay”… It’s like Groundhog day on a lifetime scale. One of my favorite books ever, and sadly unfilmed. (It’s been in development for over a decade…)

  • If Superman goes back in time, the previous Superman who stops the flood surge still exists to stop it. The thorny time-traveling issue is what happens once he sees another Superman having just saved Lois Lane??

  • @ Brian Walton, when Superman is flying around the world, he is not doing anything to the world. The camera stays in Superman’s frame of reference. As he speeds up, time slows down and then begins to go backwards. This is visually depicted as the world turning backward. IT is only in the reference frame of the time traveling Superman that the world appears to change it’s rotation.

  • @Brian Wilson. I know it’s been said before, but we’re talking about what makes sense in a Movie where parents put a kid in a spaceship because their not actually real planet is blowing up and send him to Earth, where two farmers just decide to keep him and nobody says anything when suddenly they have a kid. And when he takes his glasses off no one recognises him. Oh, and he FLYS . If you can accept all that, surely backwards turning earth isn’t too much of a stretch.

  • Ooops, meant @Brian Walton. Sorry, dude, was listening to Pet Sounds in the background. And my vote for Re-do movie is Hot Tub Time Machine. Hilariously dumb. Or maybe dumbly hilarious

  • Upon further review, I think Superman doesn’t make the earth spin backwards, but he flies fast enough to go back in time.. to HIM it would look like the earth is spinning in reverse.

    So he goes back and saves Lois, while his past self is saving the people from the flood. Two places at once.

    The earth isn’t reversing, HE is,

  • Not EXACTLY a do-over movie but worked like one was “Next” with Nicholas Cage. While he didn’t physically live through moments twice, his character was able to see the everythign that would happen along a timeline in the future and avaoid traps and mistakes. Not a really good movie, but interesting idea

  • Could somebody explain what is so bad about “The Butterfly Effect”. I loved that movie. It’s one of the few movies that actually stuck and had an emotional effect on me. Is it because Ashton Kitcher is in it?

    • The Butterfly Effect is bad because it tells people, specifically teenagers at which it is aimed, that everyone’s lives around them would be better if they had not lived.

      It glorifies non-existence and suicide.

      A better movie with similar themes is The Jacket.