Saturday afternoon matinee.

Some movies make us laugh, others make us cry, and still others can scare us into freezing in our seats or hurrying into the lobby. We have names for them: dramas, comedies, science fiction, horror, action, mysteries and westerns. And then, the best movies of them all — for me at least — are the ones that defy categorization.

What makes a great movie? Is it the plot? Is it the characters? Maybe it is a combination of the two. One aspect of our favorite movies is that our preferences are up to us and no one else; we give out our own “Academy Awards.” It doesn’t matter what the critics say. What counts is our own appetite for our favorites.

The time is long gone when sliding our coins through a window was the only way to view a movie. We can now sit at home and watch movies on TV and look at movies that we have recorded on our DVRs.

Recently, I ordered a number of British mysteries that my wife and I are enjoying. I slid the disc into my Blu-Ray and pushed a few buttons. I don’t have Netflix but my daughter does — yet another avenue for viewing movies.

There is something intangible about the movies that are so good that I don’t think about what type they are. These movies grab something deep down in my soul. Band of Brothers and Roots are two of these. Dr. Zhivago is another.

It all started for me in Ayden at the Myers Theater on Saturday afternoons … way back when.

Harrington’s column is published monthly.

Contact Donna Marie Williams at dwilliams@ncweeklies.com.