Well hot damn, folks. Evidently y'all like watching movies. Between the comments on two posts and a (smaller) spate of tweets, I ended up losing count of how many nominations we had, though the final number was somewhere north of 200, across 521 comments and at least 30 tweets.
It was not easy whittling them down to a bracket of 64. Some decisions came swiftly--for example, avoiding The Boondock Saints as though it were a human turd sitting on a white carpet, which it basically is; it is only watchable to college freshmen named Travis or Braylen. Other decisions were more painful, like dropping The Godfather Part II, even though I personally find it a bit more watchable than the first movie. Interestingly, we ended up with more comedy films in the nominations than any other one genre, which came as a surprise to me; I had expected action and adventure to dominate, but those genres were far outnumbered by comedy and drama. Also of note: the Coen brothers were the most dominant creative force, trailed by George Lucas, whose influence on the relevant movies was more diffuse, only having served as solo writer/director on one of four first-round movies on which he had some form of creative input.
In the end, the list was determined using three primary factors: commenter enthusiasm, in the form of both rigorous defense and multiple commenters chiming in to support a nomination; popular and critical appeal, the most minor factor, but employed to eliminate "so-bad-it's-good" considerations and selections like The Goonies plagued by a cloud of nostalgia; and my own judgment. Seeding the bracket was accomplished based on the same criteria.
Ultimately, I established four conferences of 16 movies apiece, united by genre or other considerations. Note that if community consensus finds that there are any glaring omissions that either failed to be nominated or failed to make the cut for round one, there may possibly be opportunities for wild card entries later in the tournament. Without further ado, here are the initial 64 movies in the Most Watchable Movie tournament, ranked by seed:
The Sam Raimi Conference: A Slapdash Mix of Adventure and Horror
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Raiders of the Lost Ark
The Silence of the Lambs
The Empire Strikes Back
The Hunt for Red October
The Princess Bride
The Tony Scott Memorial Conference: Films Containing At Least One Explosion
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
The Fifth Element
The Bourne Identity
The All That Is Required for Joe Dirt to Win Is That Good Men Do Nothing Conference: Comedies Not Starring David Spade
Dumb & Dumber
The Big Lebowski
The Blues Brothers
Back to the Future
A Christmas Story
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
My Cousin Vinny
The None of The Above Conference: Bildungsromans, Picaresques, and Other Story Structures You Learn About in Intro to Western Literature
The Shawshank Redemption
A Few Good Men
Cool Hand Luke
Dazed & Confused
Catch Me If You Can
The Usual Suspects
Resulting in the following bracket (click to expand):
Initial polls to begin determining round one winners will start tomorrow, so watch this space, fill out your bracket if you want to play along at home, and remember to Rap The Vote!