Like my local movie theater, the weekly movie thread is under new management. While I have no clue as of yet what changes that new ownership will bring (or when it will reopen and frankly, I’m shocked anyone would want to buy it considering how few people go other than me), I can at least tell you that little will change here about the thread. It will still go up on Tuesday afternoons as per tradition. What time… that’s far from finalized. Tuesdays for me are prime movie going day so usually these go up while I have my phone off and I am busy taking notes for a review (or driving to the theater or doing whatever random task that needs to get done before running off to the movie if it’s a bit later in the afternoon). Obviously, I’d like to occasionally make it to my own thread so for now they will be scheduled to go up at 12:30 PM EST each week, but that may change for my own convenience.
I also can’t promise that I’ll use this space for anything more than as a glorified open thread (especially as I have plenty of writing to do here already), but I will try to add content when I can. I do want to thank Nancy Drew both for starting and running this thread for so long, and for passing the thread along to myself. I’ll try not to be too big a disappointment.
To that end, today’s topic is perhaps a belated one since everyone, their dog, and even a few of their cats has done a discussion asking, “What is/are your moviegoing goal(s) for this year?” but I think it is an important one. I have been open here in the past about the number of movies I see yearly (and that’s not even counting the number of short films and TV shows I watch…), a number that is probably larger than some people see in a lifetime. It allows me to see quite the variety of films in era (I saw titles from the 1800s to the present day), genre, tone, quality (both intentionally and unintentionally), and language. It naturally eliminates the kind of generic goals all these sites trot out.
I also made a lot of intentional headway on my list of shame, a constantly updating list of the films I’m most ashamed to have not seen for various reasons. I’m going to include the list and working on it below, but I can’t say it’s something I’m anywhere near as ashamed of as I had been when the list first started or even a year ago today. With all that out of the way, here are a list of my goals for this year. I’d like to keep my goals simple since there’s a far better chance I actually stick to them that way.
5. Draw More Attention to Documentaries on the Site
The last thing I need to do is write more here, but the one area of modern film that I’ve lacked coverage of in comparison to the amount I actually spend watching it is documentaries. Largely that is because those docs primarily premiere on cable and I have avoided reviewing TV and streaming (thankfully someone stepped up to take on that latter task) titles, something I don’t plan on adding to my plate. I do want to spotlight them though as there are so many worth seeing and considering the general lack of them on end of the year lists (something I was not wholly innocent of), I think there’s an opportunity for me to do my part to filter through the countless ones being released and pick out the ones the rise above (maybe here).
10) This is Congo
9) The Two Bills
8) King in the Wilderness
7) The Price of Everything
6) Andre the Giant
5) The Sentence
4) Minding the Gap
3) Momentum Generation
2) Crime + Punishment
1) Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
4. Keep Working on the List of Shame
Some of the titles below are more obvious than others, being classic films that any film buff should see (such as Come and See and Shoah) while others fall into categories such as my three remaining Best Picture winners (Amadeus, The Last Emperor, The Greatest Show on Earth), the last titles from certain directors (Kundun, 4 Rooms, Filming Othello) even if in first case I still have a bunch of docs to go, or just genre standouts (Angels with Dirty Faces, A Better Tomorrow, Zombie). The ordering is probably off, but I have a rule that no film can be removed until seen and the order is never shifted.
1) Angels with Dirty Faces
2) Kiss of the Spider Woman
3) They Shoot Horses Don’t They?
4) Come and See
6) A Better Tomorrow
7) Swimming to Cambodia
9) The Mirror
11) The Last Emperor
13) Sansho the Bailiff
14) Spirited Away
15) The Greatest Show on Earth
16) The Day the Earth Caught Fire
17) 4 Rooms
18) Filming Othello
21) Heavenly Creatures
22) Sophie’s Choice
23) Dersu Uzala
25) Shaolin and Wu Tang
3. Keep at the Sight and Sound 250 List
There’s never going to be a definitive list of the greatest films of all time, but the Sight and Sound 250 Critics list is about as definitive a list as you can get in terms of essential films for a film fan. It’s why I’ve considered it a goal of mine to complete it as I can then say, “I have a good base line knowledge of classic film”. Having a poll be ten years apart gives a lot of time to complete it but, it also creates a feeling that you have forever, a feeling about to be broken by the reminder that it is 2019 and the next one is only three years away. I’m currently at 204 titles after knocking off quite a few at the tail end of last year, and while I’m unlikely to complete the list by 2022 due to some being hard to get (namely Chelsea Girls) it’s a reminder that if I want to actually complete the list, it’s something I actually have to try and work towards instead of just keep hoping TCM will actually play some of the damn missing titles (thanks for Two or Three Things I Know About Her though!).
2. Watch The DVD/Blu-Rays I Own
With all the new stuff I watch, I don’t have any real time to rewatch things. Yet, I have a very extensive collection of movies, some of which I’ve never even seen once let alone rewatched. At the very least, I’d like to knock off most of the stuff I’ve never seen in my collection this year, though getting use out of other parts of it would also be nice. There’s stuff in giant collections/TV sets that I probably won’t get to, but chipping away at them would not only make my (and other’s) money feel better spent, but also just give me a chance to appreciate these things I’ve been putting off forever.
1. Worry Less About Having to See Movies in Theaters
I love seeing movies in the theaters. It is a fantastic experience and despite people complaining about how often it is often ruined by others, I rarely run into issues and mostly have great experiences. I’d say that it’s a benefit of going to movies at weird times, but senior citizens are worse moviegoers than teenagers by a considerable margin and responsible for most of my issues. Moviepass afforded me the opportunity to see me a movie a day in the movie theater and I was one of those awful people using it multiple times every week. It was wonderful and opened up a set of freedom to see whatever, redefining what I was willing to see, but also creating a subtle obligation in myself to see all films reaching a certain (not especially high) standard.
When that went away as a viable option, even with alternatives, moviegoing has gotten both far more expensive and that initial rush of “Wow, look how many films I can see!” has faded to “Wow, look how many films I have to see and then write about”. My primary goal this year is to unlearn that and to become more selective again about what I see at the theater. Yes, it is unfair to the countless good films being released. Yes, there are going to be less variety and surprises at the theater this year. But moviegoing should never feel like an obligation and I don’t want to burn myself out on it.
The Week in Movie Reviews
1/9 – If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)
1/9 – WTF ASIA 38: God of Gamblers (1989)
1/10 – Millennial Malaise 01: Strange Days
1/12 – Replicas (2019)
1/14 – Vice (2018)
1/14 – LGBT Media: Sibling Rivalry
1/15 – Building Entertainment: The Animated Films of the Walt Disney Studio. Pixar Edition. Coco. (as we finally catch up to our site’s launch)
Most importantly though,
What have you been watching and what did you think of it?