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'Road House', 'Ghostbusters' and other 'comfort viewing' movies top 'Variety' list of "100 Movies that Saved Cable"

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Columbia Pictures(LOS ANGELES) — If you think you’ve seen a lot of your old favorites like Road Trip and Ghostbusters on cable while you’re quarantined at home, you’re not wrong. 

With so much competition from streaming services — and because they know we all need something familiar in this day and age of face masks and social distancing — cable networks have dusted off some classic movies, and are running them practically nonstop.  

These movies include many classics from the ’80s, ’90s and beyond, which chances are make you drop your remote when you come across them. 

For the record, Patrick Swayze’s bouncer opus Road House is the champ: it aired 83 times across 10 networks in the past year.

Chuck Saftler, president and COO of FX Networks, tells Variety, “With movies, it’s like flypaper. You can get people to join you at any time through the movie and they tend to stay longer than they think they’re going to.” 

For TV execs like Saftler, this lets them squeeze new ad revenue from older movies, and also promote new original series with ads during them.

For us, these movies are like seeing an old friend, in the absence of seeing our actual old friends nowadays. 

Here are Variety‘s 100 Movies That Saved Cable, by genre, all of which have aired dozens of times across various cable networks from July of last year to July of 2020.

Die Hard (1988)
Face/Off (1997)
First Blood (1982)
Four Brothers (2005)
Gladiator (2000)
Iron Man (2008)
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
Mission: Impossible (1996)
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Pale Rider (1985)
The Perfect Storm (2000)
Point Break (1991)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Road House (1989)
Scream (1996)
Seven (1995)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Speed (1994)
Taken (2008)
Top Gun (1986)
Twister (1996)
Walking Tall (2004)
We Were Soldiers (2002)

Ace Ventura (1994)
Caddyshack (1980)
Clueless (1995)
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Dumb and Dumber (1994)
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Forrest Gump (1994)
Friday (1995)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Grumpy Old Men (1993)
Harlem Nights (1989)
Hocus Pocus (1993)
Home Alone (1990)
House Party (1990)
Ice Age (2002)
Joe Dirt (2001)
Legally Blonde (2001)
Liar Liar (1997)
Madea’s Family Reunion (2006)
Miss Congeniality (2000)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
Office Space (1999)
Old School (2003)
Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)
Pineapple Express (2008)
Rush Hour (1998)
Scary Movie (2000)
Shrek (2001)
Soul Plane (2004)
Stripes (1981)
Trading Places (1983)
Tropic Thunder (2008)

Boyz n the Hood (1991)
Catch Me if You Can (2002)
Coyote Ugly (2000)
Drumline (2002)
A Few Good Men (1992)
Footloose (1984)
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Goodfellas (1990)
The Notebook (2004)
Obsessed (2009)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Stand by Me (1986)
Titanic (1997)
Unforgiven (1992)

50 First Dates (2004)
Grease (1978)
Pretty in Pink (1986)
Pretty Woman (1990)
Sex and the City (2008)
Sweet Home Alabama (2002)
Wedding Crashers (2005)
The Wedding Singer (1998)
Knocked Up (2007)
Maid in Manhattan (2002)
Monster-in-Law (2005)

Deep Impact (1998)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
I Am Legend (2007)
Independence Day (1996)
Jumanji (1995)
Jurassic Park (1993)
The Princess Bride (1987)
Spider-Man (2002)
Star Trek (2009)
Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
The Terminator (1984)

Bull Durham (1988)
The Karate Kid (1984)
A League of Their Own (1992)
Major League (1989)
The Sandlot (1993)
Space Jam (1996)

By Stephen Iervolino
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