Last night, it was The Fellowship of the Ring; tonight, The Two Towers.
Sometimes, I need absolute silence in order to write, but sometimes there's something about the distraction of a movie or a CD playing in the background to set the imagination leaping to new connections (and I definitely need to look at the current manuscript with fresh eyes). Whenever I need help with a fantasy story, it's often the LOTR DVDs or the soundtrack CDs that are called into service.
When I'm feeling science fiction-y, Equilibrium or Dark City, Farscape or Firefly might occupy the DVD player. The first couple Spider-man movies also work.
For action or adventure, I might choose Empire (the miniseries about Tyrannus the gladiator), The Last of the Mohicans, Rob Roy, Braveheart, The Ghost and the Darkness, the Bourne series.
For a bit of romance or drama, perhaps Daniel Deronda or Ladyhawke or The Ghost and Mrs. Muir will provide the necessary ambiance. Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights--bless those Brontes--are for the darker moods.
Mystery or suspense? The Bourne movies again, or Hitchcock, or maybe the first or third installment in the Mission:Impossible series. The Illusionist is still fun, and Collateral can still make me tense.
Westerns or history: Open Range, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, either season of the Lonesome Dove television series, maybe Luther or The Four Feathers.
Humor might come from The Importance of Being Earnest, Strictly Ballroom, Much Ado About Nothing.
Notice how many of these films actually cross genres? They don't necessarily fit one hundred percent in an particular category, and that is part of their appeal. They reach wider audiences because many of them have a little something for everyone. That's what I want for my own stories: guys, girls, adventure, mystery, romance, action, humor, and more.
Now, back to work.