Happy New Movie Year! Here is a look back at the previous movie year.

The Lists:

Favorite 2016 Movies
Favorite Recent Movies watched in 2016
Favorite Older Movies watched in 2016
Special Screenings and HD Rewatches, 2016
Favorite Shorts of 2016
2016 Movies To Watch
Previous year lists

Bonus List: The Year in Television

Best shows I watched this year, not counting shows I/we haven’t finished yet, and excluding some miniseries that I am counting as movies:

1. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
2. Master of None
3. Archer
4. Neon Genesis Evangelion
5. Black Mirror
6. Rick and Morty
7. Horace & Pete
8. Veep
9. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
10. BoJack Horseman


I find either top-1000 lists or large collections of annual top-ten lists very appealing, because among all the obligatory auteur favorites and consensus greats there’s plenty of room for unusual selections. And 1000 titles seems like a good canon size, a whole lifetime of film viewing for normal, non-movie-obsessed people, and can cover the entire timeline of film history. A compulsive list-o-phile, I’m always tempted to make my own top-1000 list, but stop myself because I feel like I’ve never caught up with enough of the classics – and also it’d be a lot of work, nobody would ever read it, and as soon as I watch Fanny & Alexander or The Passenger or Paterson it’ll probably change.

As recently discussed in the 10th Blogniversary post, my go-to top-1000 lists have been Jonathan Rosenbaum’s and They Shoot Pictures. I just realized there are massive movie lists online by three more of my favorite critics on their personal sites: Vadim Rizov, Mike D’Angelo and Michael Sicinski. Plus you’ve got your Sight & Sound polls, your Cahiers top-tens, Edgar Wright’s recent list, recommendations from books and magazines and all over. And I’ve started organizing and tagging these.

So, to celebrate my turning A Certain Age this year, instead of listing my favorite movies, I’ve made a composite checklist of the top 1000 unseen movies that I need to watch. Maybe if I get through these, I’ll list my own favorites. No promises.

Almost all are narrative features that I think I might be able to find on video (aiming for HD). Probably half are written and directed by white male Americans, too bad. Mostly excluded are shorts (because I’m tracking them elsewhere) and documentaries (ditto) and avant-garde features (because of availability) and everything from Africa (because we watch those on Katy’s schedule) and movies I’ve already seen and hope to rewatch and anything from the current decade.

Needed a stupid, catchy name for the list, settled on BLIGS (short for “obligatory”, acronym for “Big List I Gotta See”). Sortable list of bligs is here.

Sally Jane Black:
“I haven’t finished watching a movie until I write about it.”

My writing has gotten worse and lazier lately, but it has been a year full of distractions… at least I’m keeping up. Here’s to a better 2017.

I’ve already mentioned (numerous times) my love for film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum‘s writing and his lists of favorite films, including the big top-1000 list published in his “Essential Cinema” book. I hope to watch all of these, but probably never will.

There’s also the top-1000 list at They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They?, compiled from thousands of other lists (including Rosenbaum’s). I hope to watch all of these (except Warhol’s Empire), and maybe someday I will.

There’s also the Criterion Collection, which I’ve been following since the early days of DVD, steadily releasing a series of great-looking films. I hope to watch all of these, but never will, since they keep putting out new ones.

Any movie that appears on all three of these lists is obviously a must-see… and as of Shoah, which I watched over the past few weeks, I think I’ve seen everything in this triple-list intersection. So for today, the tenth anniversary of the movie journal, I’m rounding up the R1K/TSP/CRIT meta-list.

The sixty unlinked ones were last seen in the dark days before the blog started. I probably won’t keep this list updated, since the TSP list changes annually and Criterion releases new stuff all the time. So I’d have to add In a Lonely Place in a few weeks, and Alice in the Cities a month later, and it’s hard to keep track.

This movie blog is months older than (public, non-academic) Facebook and only a few weeks younger than Twitter. But unlike those sites, I don’t think this one has any readers… it’s hard to tell since I disabled comments. So nobody is gonna congratulate me. But I’m pleased with myself! Here’s to another ten years. And if you’re reading: most of these are really good movies. You should check them out.

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1976, Chantal Akerman)
Kiss Me Deadly (1955, Robert Aldrich)
Rushmore (1998, Wes Anderson)
L’Avventura (1960, Michelangelo Antonioni)
L’Eclisse (1962, Michelangelo Antonioni)
Red Desert (1964, Michelangelo Antonioni)
Sawdust and Tinsel (1953, Ingmar Bergman)
Persona (1966, Ingmar Bergman)
The Last Emperor (1987, Bernardo Bertolucci)
The Act of Seeing With One’s Own Eyes (1971, Stan Brakhage)
Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945, Robert Bresson)
A Man Escaped (1956, Robert Bresson)
Pickpocket (1959, Robert Bresson)
Au Hasard Balthazar (1966, Robert Bresson)
Mouchette (1967, Robert Bresson)
Rosetta (1999, Dardenne bros.)
Viridiana (1961, Luis Buñuel)
The Exterminating Angel (1962, Luis Buñuel)
Belle de Jour (1967, Luis Buñuel)
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972, Luis Buñuel)
Phantom of Liberty (1974, Luis Buñuel)
That Obscure Object of Desire (1977, Luis Buñuel)
Children of Paradise (1945, Marcel Carné)
Shadows (1959, John Cassavetes)
Faces (1968, John Cassavetes)
A Woman Under the Influence (1974, John Cassavetes)
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976, John Cassavetes)
Love Streams (1984, John Cassavetes)
The Kid (1921, Charles Chaplin)
The Gold Rush (1925, Charles Chaplin)
City Lights (1931, Charles Chaplin)
Modern Times (1936, Charles Chaplin)
The Great Dictator (1940, Charles Chaplin)
Monsieur Verdoux (1947, Charles Chaplin)
Limelight (1952, Charles Chaplin)
Daisies (1966, Vera Chytilová)
Wages of Fear (1953, Henri-Georges Clouzot)
Beauty and the Beast (1946, Jean Cocteau)
Orpheus (1949, Jean Cocteau)
Videodrome (1983, David Cronenberg)
Y tu mamá también (2001, Alfonso Cuarón)
The Long Day Closes (1992, Terence Davies)
Bicycle Thieves (1948, Vittorio De Sica)
Umberto D. (1952, Vittorio De Sica)
Lola (1961, Jacques Demy)
The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967, Jacques Demy)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928, Carl Theodor Dreyer)
Vampyr (1932, Carl Theodor Dreyer)
Day of Wrath (1943, Carl Theodor Dreyer)
Ordet (1955, Carl Theodor Dreyer)
Gertrud (1964, Carl Theodor Dreyer)
Alexander Nevsky (1938, Sergei Eisenstein)
Ivan the Terrible 1 (1945, Sergei Eisenstein)
Ivan the Terrible 2 (1958, Sergei Eisenstein)
(1963, Federico Fellini)
Nanook of the North (1922, Robert Flaherty)
Young Mr. Lincoln (1939, John Ford)
My Darling Clementine (1946, John Ford)
All That Jazz (1979, Bob Fosse)
Blood of the Beast (1949, Georges Franju)
The Manchurian Candidate (1962, John Frankenheimer)
Pickup on South Street (1953, Samuel Fuller)
Shock Corridor (1963, Samuel Fuller)
Breathless (1960, Jean-Luc Godard)
Contempt (1963, Jean-Luc Godard)
Band of Outsiders (1964, Jean-Luc Godard)
Alphaville (1965, Jean-Luc Godard)
Masculine Feminine (1965, Jean-Luc Godard)
Two or Three Things I Know About Her (1966, Jean-Luc Godard)
Weekend (1967, Jean-Luc Godard)
Only Angels Have Wings (1939, Howard Hawks)
Safe (1995, Todd Haynes)
Two-Lane Blacktop (1971, Monte Hellman)
The 39 Steps (1935, Alfred Hitchcock)
The Lady Vanishes (1938, Alfred Hitchcock)
Rebecca (1940, Alfred Hitchcock)
Notorious (1946, Alfred Hitchcock)
Stranger Than Paradise (1983, Jim Jarmusch)
Down by Law (1986, Jim Jarmusch)
In the Mood for Love (2000, Wong Kar-Wai)
Close Up (1990, Abbas Kiarostami)
Taste of Cherry (1997, Abbas Kiarostami)
Three Colors: Red (1994, Krzysztof Kieslowski)
Killing, The (1956, Stanley Kubrick)
Paths of Glory (1957, Stanley Kubrick)
Spartacus (1960, Stanley Kubrick)
Ikiru (1952, Akira Kurosawa)
M (1931, Fritz Lang)
The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933, Fritz Lang)
Shoah (1985, Claude Lanzmann)
Night of the Hunter (1955, Charles Laughton)
Brief Encounter (1944, David Lean)
Do the Right Thing (1989, Spike Lee)
A Hard Day’s Night (1964, Richard Lester)
Trouble in Paradise (1932, Ernst Lubitsch)
Twelve Angry Men (1957, Sidney Lumet)
Eraserhead (1977, David Lynch)
Mulholland Dr. (2001, David Lynch)
The Sweet Smell of Success (1957, Alexander Mackendrick)
W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism (1971, Dusan Makavejev)
Badlands (1973, Terrence Malick)
The Thin Red Line (1998, Terrence Malick)
Touki Bouki (1973, Djibril Diop Mambety)
La Jetée (1962, Chris Marker)
Sans Soleil (1983, Chris Marker)
Make Way For Tomorrow (1937, Leo McCarey)
Army in the Shadows (1969, Jean-Pierre Melville)
Life of Oharu (1952, Kenji Mizoguchi)
Ugetsu Monogatari (1953, Kenji Mizoguchi)
Sansho the Bailiff (1954, Kenji Mizoguchi)
Madame de… (1952, Max Ophüls)
Lola Montès (1955, Max Ophüls)
In the Realm of the Senses (1976, Nagisa Oshima)
I Was Born, But… (1932, Yasujiro Ozu)
Late Spring (1949, Yasujiro Ozu)
Tokyo Story (1953, Yasujiro Ozu)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968, Roman Polanski)
The Thief of Bagdad (1940, Michael Powell)
Peeping Tom (1960, Michael Powell)
Anatomy of a Murder (1959, Otto Preminger)
A Canterbury Tale (1944, Pressburger & Powell)
I Know Where I’m Going! (1945, Pressburger & Powell)
The Red Shoes (1948, Pressburger & Powell)
Bigger Than Life (1956, Nicholas Ray)
Pather Panchali (1955, Satyajit Ray)
Aparajito (1957, Satyajit Ray)
The World of Apu (1959, Satyajit Ray)
The Third Man (1949, Carol Reed)
Boudu Saved From Drowning (1932, Jean Renoir)
Grand Illusion (1937, Jean Renoir)
La Bete Humaine (1938, Jean Renoir)
Rules of the Game (1939, Jean Renoir)
Golden Coach, The (1953, Jean Renoir)
Night and Fog (1955, Alain Resnais)
Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959, Alain Resnais)
Last Year at Marienbad (1961, Alain Resnais)
Walkabout (1971, Nicolas Roeg)
My Night at Maud’s (1969, Eric Rohmer)
Paisan (1946, Roberto Rossellini)
Germany Year Zero (1948, Roberto Rossellini)
Stromboli (1949, Roberto Rossellini)
Europa 51 (1952, Roberto Rossellini)
The Rise of Louis XIV (1966, Roberto Rossellini)
Chronicle of a Summer (1961, Jean & Edgar Morin Rouch)
Sullivan’s Travels (1941, Preston Sturges)
The Palm Beach Story (1942, Preston Sturges)
Andrei Rublev (1969, Andrei Tarkovsky)
Solaris (1972, Andrei Tarkovsky)
M. Hulot’s Holiday (1953, Jacques Tati)
Mon Oncle (1958, Jacques Tati)
Play Time (1967, Jacques Tati)
The 400 Blows (1959, Francois Truffaut)
Shoot the Piano Player (1960, Francois Truffaut)
My Own Private Idaho (1991, Gus Van Sant)
Cléo from 5 to 7 (1961, Agnès Varda)
Vagabond (1985, Agnès Varda)
Gilda (1946, Charles Vidor)
Zero for Conduct (1933, Jean Vigo)
L’Atalante (1934, Jean Vigo)
Senso (1954, Luchino Visconti)
The Leopard (1963, Luchino Visconti)
Docks of New York (1928, Josef von Sternberg)
The Scarlet Empress (1934, Josef von Sternberg)
Ashes and Diamonds (1958, Andrzej Wajda)
F For Fake (1974, Orson Welles)
Ace in the Hole (1951, Billy Wilder)
A Brighter Summer Day (1991, Edward Yang)
Yi Yi (2000, Edward Yang)
Crumb (1994, Terry Zwigoff)

The Dissolve was my favorite film site, and most important resource for news and opinions. Check it in the morning for today’s reviews (always well written and nearly-always giving a good indication whether I’ll like the film in question) and movie news. Check in the late afternoon for a news update, feature articles (if time to read them), and links to important film writing elsewhere on the internet. All of this was cleanly and appealingly laid-out, and chronologically ordered so I can instantly tell where I left off last time.

There seems to be no single replacement, and I need one – in the aftermath of Dissolve shutting down, I didn’t know a new Tarsem Singh movie had opened, couldn’t tell you whether Minions was any good, and almost missed It’s a Mad Mad Mad Max Fury Road. Until a benevolent billionaire re-funds the site, I’m reading this sprawl of daily sources instead:

Fandor Keyframe Daily for less-frequent links to good articles elsewhere, and the best film festival aggregate coverage.

Letterboxd activity feed (feat. most of the ex-Dissolvers)

Shadowplay for the best film writing in the business.

– Screencrush, but only Matt Singer’s articles (because I cannot bear to see things like “10 Facts you might not know about Ant-Man” in my news).

Criticwire, but not the rest of Indiewire (because they had a series of oscar-prediction articles in August). In case I ever reconsider, here are actual headlines from a recent day’s Indiewire front page: “[some trailer] Will Take Your Breath Away,” “[another trailer] Will Break Your Heart],” “[another trailer] Will Send You Into A Vicious Fit.” They also wrote a review of a banner ad.

Occasionally twitter is useful, and AV Club‘s okay. Still avoiding video content and podcasts because who has time for those? And I’ve got a pile of sites to check weekly, and others to check monthly/occasionally, not worth replicating here since they change often and since nobody is reading this. And there’s always my treasured Cinema Scope paper subscription (thinking about adding Cineaste and/or Film Comment).

What else is going on?

– The BBC polled “62 international film critics” to make a top-hundred list of American films, which is mostly more of the same so I don’t feel like tracking it too closely. The eight I haven’t (fully) seen: Imitation of Life, Birth of a Nation, Marnie, A Place in the Sun, The Shop Around The Corner, The Right Stuff, The Shanghai Gesture, Heaven’s Gate. Little White Lies list of 100 Great Movies by Female Directors looks more exciting. Also found some best-animation and best-horror and best-chinese lists, and there’s still the Criterion collection, and recommendations from my books and magazines and the Anthology Film Archives list and the Sight & Sound poll and Cahiers lists and all the new movies coming out daily.

– Auteur Completism Update: In October 2005, I finished watching all the Sam Fuller movies I was able to find (later found and watched four more, and rewatched a bunch in improved DVD and bluray copies), then decided to tackle Fritz Lang movies next. In March 2007, I finished watching all the Fritz Lang movies I was able to find (later found and watched four more), and had since added Rivette, Resnais, Marker and Bunuel to the auteur-completism stack.

That was over eight years ago! I’ve continued to add new directors: Bresson, Chaplin, Sternberg, Polanski, Fellini, Bergman, not to mention keeping up with old favorite directors and discovering new ones all the time. Lately I’m always starting film-watching projects and never finishing any, making a hundred must-watch lists (see above) and trying to make gradual progress on them all at once. I miss the sense of accomplishment, saying “there, I’ve seen ALL the Lang movies I can find – here are my faves, here are the ones I need to rewatch on bluray” or whatever. So back to that 2007 list: I’ve averaged one Bunuel per year since then, still missing five (sort of) Resnais, one or two Rivettes (plus the extended Joan the Maid), and it’s hard to tell how many Markers are available these days – they’ve been steadily surfacing on video. Either way, I could reasonably watch the remainder of these by the end of 2015 – and there’s another big list I’m almost through, assuming I can find the energy to watch Shoah sometime.

– I’m building a list of movie write-up traps – here are three:

1. “It’s good, but flawed” (pref. with no elaboration on “flawed”).

2. “This movie from the past/present could never be made in the present/past because these/those days movies are/were like ____.”

3. Any mention of “explosions and car chases” re: a movie that lacks these things.

– An Adrian Martin phrase I liked very much:
“harnessing our hard drives as our outsourced memory banks”

– Since it has become sport to ask me how many movies I watch per year, I’ve accessed my outsourced memory banks to come up with an answer: 238, on average.

Number of movies watched per year:

Before the movie journal, Deeper Into Movies was set up to host movie lists (and some pictures of my birds), tracking all the movies I’ve watched (that I could recall – probably still missing bunches of Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry shorts) and all the ones I’d like to watch. Soon I realized that I was forgetting entire movies I claimed to have seen, partly because I was moving on to the next thing without spending enough time reflecting on the previous one, so the movie blog was born. And sometime between the new year and today, it’s reached a milestone: I’ve written journal entries on more than half the movies I’ve ever seen!

Time for year-end lists! I seem to do this differently every year. This year I wasn’t able to get to the theater as often, but tried to keep up with some movies from the last five years at home, so I put those in their own category.

Favorite New Movies of 2013

Favorite Recent Movies watched on video in 2013

Favorite Older Movies watched on video in 2013

Favorite Shorts watched in 2013

Some 2013 Movies To Watch

I’ve got a new way of tracking various must-see movie lists.
Some of the ones I made (minor) progress on this year:
– They Shoot Pictures: seen 67%
– TSP 21st Century: 81%
– Jonathan Rosenbaum: 55%
– Criterion: 60%
– Time Out Horror: 79%
– Anthology Film Archives: 41%

This is about the 1850th post on the ol’ blog, now covering some 2780 titles (including shorts). Been running a month or two behind lately, hence these lists appearing halfway into January.

Criticwire posted a great roundup of their favorite film criticism of the year. The only one I’d already read was Lili Loofbourow on Brave. I’m missing all the good articles on new films because they’re published when the movie opens then forgotten when I get around to seeing it a month later – need to start bookmarking interesting-looking articles and catching up on weekly sites. Then again, I have a job, and can’t be reading every article on the internet, so maybe the end-of-year roundup is where I’ll leave it.

Sheila O’Malley on Once Upon a Time in Anatolia:
She opens with a phrase I’ve never liked, calling Anatolia “the main character in the film,” but then she actually backs that up with great evidence, giving the film new dimensions.

Glenn Kenny on Cosmopolis: “the story of watching the end of the world from inside your clean room of a limo while you’re also causing that end. … [Cronenberg] examines irrationality with the unflinching precision of a diamond cutter, and the results are as hilarious as they are shocking.”

I liked The Master alright but dismissed its #1 placement on all the year-end lists because its story never seemed to end up anywhere, but now I’m reconsidering its value after reading this in the AV Club: “Phoenix’s performance calls to mind James Dean and the other Method actors who transformed the tone of movies in the ’50s. The era The Master covers, from roughly 1945 to 1952, was a tumultuous one in American culture. It was the age of film noir and psychological realism, but also a time when the suburban placidity for which the ’50s is remembered took root. All of that looms in Anderson’s movie, which deals with human impulses that run counter to the clean, composed America the corporate PR machine was selling.”

The next day I read Kent Jones’ The Master review in Film Comment, where he expands on this idea significantly.

With There Will Be Blood, he unveiled a genuine and immersive fascination with American history: every detail and choice resulted from a dogged pursuit of what it felt like to live in a lonely world of earth, stone, wood, and metal. Anderson drops us into times and places with their own rules and social structures, which we are invited to puzzle out, imparted through a careful deployment of settings, physical stances, and vocal timbres. In The Master, we are plummeted into the humming world of mid-century urban America, with its top-down organization of class, its smoothly managed department stores and amateur musicales in turn-of-the century mansions, its intimations of orgiastic abandon behind closed doors, its peculiar notions of the unconventional. It’s a moment at which the lowly sociopath and the genteel society matron are both in search of a liberator, who may or may not have arrived in the form of “theoretical philosopher” desperate to gain a foothold in an increasingly competitive landscape.

Matt Singer wrote an article about film franchises using The Simpsons’ Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie Show as a framework, hilarious.

David Cairns on The Hobbit:
“Maybe Jackson should have shot at 24 and projected at 48, thereby making the film half as long?”

from patheos.com on Holy Motors:
“It makes you wonder if the green-screen work for Avatar might be more compelling than the final animated production.”

Cairns again:
“I’m told that McKellen had to act his scene at the dinner table with a bunch of paper cut-out heads on sticks, with light bulbs that flashed on to signal when each character was speaking so he could look in the right direction. I would, on the whole, far rather see that version of the scene.”

Of course his Shadowplay blog and David Hudson’s Keyframe Daily are currently the only film sites I read daily, following links from within when needed. I’ve come up with a list of ten more to check weekly – we’ll see how long that lasts.

Things I didn’t read: what anyone thought of the new Batman movie or the Sight & Sound list, any conversations on whether movies/film/digital are dead or dying. But despite its “film is dead”-sounding title, I greatly enjoyed Dave Kehr’s book of movie reviews, When Movies Mattered, and I’m currently enjoying J. Hoberman’s slightly more optimistically-titled Film After Film.


Over 1400 features now on the blog, plus a bunch of shorts round-ups, TV shows and miscellaneous. And posts like these, cluttering things up.

I guess I’ve usually tallied my different list-watching goals on past anniversaries, but I just did that in December, so let’s skip it. Currently 7500 titles on the ol’ must-watch list. That’s two decades’ worth of movies if I watch one daily. Something to look forward to!

What’s new? Been watching more television lately (collected here) since finishing The Wire. Also been rewatching The Wire, for that matter. Also working behind the scenes on the database and of course more lists. More on that when it’s finished. I downloaded some “themes” to change the stale look of the blog (not to mention the messed-up next/previous-page links at the bottom) but haven’t gotten around to implementing those yet.

Latest statistics:
I think I account for some 20% of my own traffic. Don’t know why my google image search traffic is way down – maybe it’s something I did last year, since I was almost going over my bandwidth limit from people leeching my horror movie screenshots. Most popular posts at the moment are My Night at Maud’s and Metropolis. Most hits come from Google, where some of the most popular searches include “human centipede” (get over that stupid movie, everybody), “vic morrow death photos” (I don’t have any), “fanny ardant nude” (don’t have any of these either, but if you send some I will post them), “begotten movie” (even though I’ve never posted on it), “lee van cleef finger” (huh?), “girls with sideburns”, and “fucked up freaked out bird”.

Best of the Blog (or at least some posts that I enjoyed writing and/or researching):
Super 8 vs. Contagion
The Turin Horse
Too Early, Too Late
Even Dwarfs Started Small
L’Amour Fou
Tourneur Triple-Feature
People On Sunday
Road to Nowhere (only because I got a comment from the film’s writer)
City of Pirates
Manuel on the Island of Wonders
Class Relations
Deep Red
La Prisonierre
Le Pont du Nord

Another good movie year. Lists to follow.

Progress on my massive must-see lists: I’ve now watched some 61% of the They Shoot Pictures list (up from 55 last year), approx. 50% of Rosenbaum’s list (46 last year), and about 57% of Criterion movies (was 54 and I watched a ton, but they just keep releasing ’em).

Normally I have a long list I’d made myself a year before of specific movies I intended to watch this year, and I can disappointedly point out how few of them I ended up watching, but I didn’t do that this year, so no disappointment!

Movies I only watched in part:
Late Spring – will surely try this again
All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace – we’ll pick this up again, too
Uncle Meat – meant to watch a half hour at a time, but never returned.
The Prisoner – meant to watch on treadmill, but working out is hard
Bells of St. Mary’s – still plotting to finish, but I fell asleep a half hour before Katy turned it off, so our resume-points are out of sync.
A Christmas Carol – The Jim Carrey motion-capture version. Not planning to finish this ever, since its one of the worst movies we’ve ever (half) watched – a mishmash of visual styles, all of them ugly.

Anyway… on with the lists!

It’s the five-year anniversary of the movie journal! Since that first short post on a Seijun Suzuki movie which Katy so hated, I’ve chalked up over 1100 features and over 800 shorts, many of which Katy has hated. She married me anyway.

In celebration of five years of movies, I’ve rescued a pile of must-see lists from my email archive. After all, the blog was started partly because of my obsession with movie lists, and it has happily coincided with them ever since (via the sortable list of entries and various other must-see lists posted every few months, all collected here). So these are project or theme-month lists left uncompleted, with titles I actually watched removed, and overlaps kept to a minimum.

Musicals Month

In October (and November) 2007, Katy and I watched a bunch of musicals. I even made a musicals-month soundtrack CD. There were some rocky selections – Katy walked out on Pennies From Heaven and declared that Red Garters was not a proper musical, but she got to pick Grease and Fiddler on the Roof. This looks like a list of my own leftover picks, with a few Katy-concession titles and a couple recommended by Joanna.

New York, New York
A Star Is Born
Topsy Turvy
On the Town
Funny Face
42nd Street
Top Hat
A Night at the Opera
I Love Melvin
Dangerous When Wet
Annie Get Your Gun
Bells Are Ringing
High Society
The Muppet Movie
Hello Dolly
Les Girls
Blackfly / The Cat Came Back
Rhapsody Rabbit
Dixieland Droopy

Documentary Month

From June 2008. One of the more successful theme months – we watched nine.

anything by Ross McElwee
The War Room
Lessons of Darkness (Herzog)
White Diamond (Herzog)
The Big One
The House Is Black
Forgotten Silver
The Power of Nightmares
Salesman (Maysles)
Sorrow and the Pity
Darwin’s Nightmare
The Devil and Daniel Johnston
My Kid Could Paint That
Taxi to the Dark Side
Nanook of the North
One Day in September
In the Shadow of the Moon
The Decline of Western Civilization (1981 punk)
The Filth and the Fury
No Direction Home
Thin Blue Line (Morris)
God’s Country (Malle)
Calcutta (Malle)

Documentary Month 2

This January Katy said she wanted to do another doc month, so I made this list of movies I’ve already got which we could watch, but then we ended up doing a political-films month instead, during which we only watched two movies (the three-part The Trap, and Standard Operating Procedure).

Bye Bye Africa
The Living Dead (Adam Curtis)
The Way of All Flesh (Adam Curtis)
Showman (Maysles)
Disgraced Monuments
Listen To Britain
Monitor: Elgar
Canal Zone (Wiseman)
High School (Wiseman)
VHS Kahloucha
Sisters In Law
The End of Suburbia
Kestrel’s Eye
Winged Migration
Antonio Gaudi

2007 Movies

At the end of 2009 I thought I hadn’t seen enough 2009 movies to make any sort of best-of-year list, so I made a best-of-2006 list instead. At the end of 2010 I figured I’d do the same for 2007 movies and make it a tradition, but then decided that was boring and obsessive. This was my must-see list of ’07 movies to watch in ’10.

The Mourning Forest
Silent Light
The Last Mistress
Secret of the Grain
Christopher Columbus, The Enigma
Go Go Tales
You, The Living
Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Gone Baby Gone
Trapped in the Closet
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Movie
Dr. Plonk
In the City of Sylvia

2005 Movies

Apparently I’d had the same idea in 2008, to watch a bunch of movies I’d missed from three years before. Looks like a list of stuff I thought I’d like, stuff I thought I’d hate, and critical favorites.

Piano Tuner of Earthquakes
The Sun
The Wild Blue Yonder
The Bow
The Constant Gardener
Alone in the Dark / Bloodrayne
Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World
La Moustache
Me and You and Everyone We Know
Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
Thank You For Smoking
The Baxter
Don’t Come Knocking
Fearless Freaks

1930’s Month (August 2008)

Between Trouble In Paradise and Rules of the Game, Katy and I watched seven 1930’s movies, and I watched one more when she wasn’t around. These are the others I tried getting her to watch, along with my brief descriptions. I hardly ever give descriptions… must have been trying especially hard that summer.

Enthusiasm (groundbreaking russian experimental drama)
Gabriel Over The White House (angel-as-president drama)
Daybreak (french romantic tragedy, dir. of children of paradise)
Land Without Bread (bunuel’s mountain documentary)
L’Idee (30-min pioneering animated film)
À Nous la liberté (french left-wing satirical comedy)
Movie Crazy (harold lloyd wants to be in the movies)
Man’s Castle (pre-code spencer tracy romance)
The Milky Way (harold lloyd talkie, milkman becomes a boxing star)
Edge of the World (ahead-of-its-time british drama, scenic, tragic)
Grand Illusion (french war drama often voted a top-ten-ever film)
The Blue Angel (the musical that made marlene dietrich a star)
Boudu Saved From Drowning (renoir comedy w one of my fave french actors)
Sylvia Scarlett (cukor/grant/hepburn romantic comedy!)
Story of the Late Chrysanthemums (some kinda japanese masterpiece)
Threepenny Opera (musical from director of pandora’s box)
Scarface (howard hawks’ original gangster drama)

Christmas Movies

Christmas Movie Week comes every December – this is the 2010 list, in descending order by how much I thought Katy would enjoy watching them.

The Bells of St. Mary’s
Comfort and Joy
I’ll Be Seeing You
Nestor, The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey
A Midwinter’s Tale
Christmas Holiday
‘Til We Meet Again
Bad Santa
Jesus of Montreal
In Search of a Midnight Kiss
Blackadder’s Christmas Carol
A Tale of Winter
The Ref
Frozen River
‘R Xmas
A Midnight Clear

Westerns Month (Dec. 2010)

A very enjoyable six-movie theme month with Katy. And eighteen left on the list I made, so we only got to a quarter of it, which still seems an unusually high ratio. Other lists I make (things to fix around the house, albums to buy, restaurants to try) are just as unrealistic and unrealized as my way-too-long movie lists. Westerns are tough because all their titles sound the same to me.

Big Sky
Duel in the Sun
Annie Get Your Gun
The Gunfighter
Wagon Master
The Lusty Men
Silver Lode
Man of the West
Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Fort Apache
Red River
Bend of the River
The Far Country
The Misfits
Ride the High Country

Late Films (Dec. 2010)

For the Shadowplay Late Films Blogathon I watched a week’s worth of final or near-final films by writers, directors and in one case, actors. These are others that I considered:

Lang: The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse
Franju: Shadowman
Chaplin: A King In New York
Nick Ray: Lightning Over Water
Walerian Borowczyk
Demy: Trois places pour le 26 or Varda’s Demy double-feature
Corman: Frankenstein Unbound
Jarman: Blue
John Hubley: The Cosmic Eye
Lubitsch: Cluny Brown, That Lady In Ermine
Melville: Un Flic
Oshima: Taboo
Satyajit Ray: The Visitor, Branches of the Tree
Sturges: Beautiful Blonde From Bashful Bend, The French are a Funny Race
Borzage: The Big Fisherman
Borzage/Ulmer: Journey Beneath the Desert/Siren of Atlantis
Jerry Lewis: Hardly Working, Cracking Up

Russian Movies

Just last month I decided I need to see all the silent Russian masterpieces, and a bunch more Russian movies for that matter. I only watched one feature and a short. Anyway, I’ll get to it later.

Starewicz 1912 Cameraman’s Revenge :13
Bauer 1914 Child of the Big City :37
Bauer 1915 After Death :46
Protazanov 1924 Aelita 1:51
Eisenstein 1925 Potemkin
Vertov 1926 A Sixth Part of the World 1:14
Vertov 1926 Man with the Movie Camera
Kuleshov 1926 Dura Lex 1:18
Eisenstein 1927 October
Dovzhenko 1929 Arsenal
Dovzhenko 1930 Earth
Vertov 1931 Enthusiasm
Dovzhenko 1932 Ivan
Kuleshov 1933 The Great Consoler
Pudovkin 1933 Deserter
Medvedkin 1938 New Moscow 1:16
Eisenstein 1945 Ivan the Terrible
Kalatozov 1959 Letter Never Sent 1:32
1967 Viy, Spirit of Evil 1:12
Protazanov 1969 The Queen of Spades 1:03
Tarkovsky 1975 Mirror 1:48
Sokurov 1979 Sonata For Hitler :43
Parajanov 1984 Legend of Suram Fortress 1:28
Klimov 1985 Come and See 1:13
Sokurov 1988 Days of Eclipse 1:06
Muratova 1990 Asthenic Syndrome
Petrov 1992 The Cow :10
Mikhalkov 1994 Burnt by the Sun 2:15
Sokurov 1994 Whispering Pages 1:17
Petrov 1999 Old Man and the Sea :20
Iosseliani 1999 Adieu Plancher 1:52
Fokin 2002 Metamorphosis 1:24
Muratova 2004 The Tuner 2:35
Sokurov 2007 Aleksandra 1:31
Zvyagintsev 2007 The Banishment 2:30

SHOCKtober 2010

Going along with my plan to watch some of the “best films of the decade“, I thought for SHOCKtober last year I’d confine myself to horror movies from 2000-2010. But I didn’t end up doing that at all. So here’s the list I’d planned to use:

Fear(s) of the Dark
In My Skin
The Orphanage
The Last Winter
Mother of Tears
Mysterious Skin
The End of Suburbia / Darwin’s Nightmare
Demons (Mario O’Hara)
Memories of Murder (bong)
Anatomy of Hell
They Came Back
K Kurosawa: Seance, Bright Future, Doppelganger
The Devil’s Backbone
Twentynine Palms
13 Tzamedi
Demon Pond

SHOCKtober 2009

Told myself I’d watch stuff that I’d bought and rented, but of course that never happens – I just rent new ones. I think this is a mash of lists from 2007-2009.

Dr. Caligari 80min
Organ 104min
Vampyres 88min
The Baby’s Room (2006) 76min
Crawlspace 80min
To Sir With Love (2006) 93min
The Old Dark House 72min
Death Bed (1977) 78min
2000 Maniacs 84min
Mansion of Madness
Midori 49min anime
Atrocity Exhibition 102min
Haxan Witchcraft 76min
Rubber’s Lover 91min
Fear Itself episodes
Possession by zulawski
The Woods (2006)
Wizard of Gore
The Hunger
Necronomicon (1993)
Curse of Frankenstein 1957
The Mummy 1959
Strange Circus
Season of the Witch

Shorts Month

November 2009 was Shorts Month, when I watched so many shorts that I’m still kind of sick of them. Here are some (not counting the ones that ended up on the auteur list) I’d intended to watch that month before I took a less focused approach and just devoured all the ones on my laptop.

Philips-Radio (Joris Ivens)
Un Chant D’Amour
more Chaplin
Borzage: Nugget Jim / Pilgrim
Free Cinema DVDs
Entr’acte (René Clair)
La Villa Santo-Sospir (by Cocteau)
Paris du par (anthology)
Godard/Mieville DVD
Greenaway: 26 Bathrooms, Fear of Drowning, Writing on Water
Herzog: Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner, Unprecedented Defence of Deutschkreuz, Nobody Wants to Play with Me, Handicapped Future
Hubleys: The Hat, Moonbird, Whither Weather
Kiarostami: Breaktime, The Chorus
Rohmer: Changing Landscapes
Ken Russell: From Spain to Streatham, London Moods, Shelagh Delaney’s Salford, Prokofiev, Variations on a Mechanical Theme, Antonio Gaudí
various by Terayama Shuji

TCM Essentials Month (Feb. 2011)

This was short-lived because Katy didn’t have much time to waste on movies, but we’ll come back to it. She missed having cable, so I looked up lists of Turner Classic’s “essentials”, then after each movie we’d read their online article explaining why it was so essential.

A Face in the Crowd
A Place in the Sun
A Star is Born (’54)
An Affair to Remember
An American in Paris
Black Orpheus
Bonnie and Clyde (’67)
Brief Encounter
Doctor Zhivago (1965)
Duck Soup
Fort Apache
Grand Illusion
Gunga Din
I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang
Imitation of Life
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Kind Hearts and Coronets
Lawrence of Arabia (’67)
Leave Her to Heaven (’46)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Now, Voyager
Out of the Past
Paper Moon
Paths of Glory
Ride the High Country
Seven Samurai
Some Came Running
Stalag 17
Strangers on a Train (’51)
Sweet Smell of Success
The Bad and the Beautiful
The Big Sleep
The Four Feathers
The Grapes of Wrath
The Great Escape
The Hustler
The Letter
The Maltese Falcon
The Manchurian Candidate
The Merry Widow
The Misfits
The Mouse that Roared
The Quiet Man
The Sea Hawk (’40)
The Snake Pit (’48)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
They Were Expendable
To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
Tom Jones
Tootsie (1982)
White Heat
Winchester ’73
Witness for the Prosecution
Wuthering Heights

Bonus List: Criterion Laserdiscs

I found a list of movies Criterion released before the DVD era, made note of the 80-ish I’ve never seen. I have an ongoing urge to watch everything the company puts out (as do many cinephile/collectors, I’m sure), but between their main label and Eclipse, I’ll never actually catch up to the point that I need to worry myself over these. It’s still an interesting group of films, though.

High Noon
Secret Agent
Young and Innocent
The Asphalt Jungle
Scaramouche (george sidney)
Show Boat (whale)
Forbidden Planet
Darling (john schlesinger)
West Side Story
Miracle in Milan (de sica)
Burn! (gillo pontecorvo)
The Lacemaker (claude goretta)
King of Hearts (philippe de broca)
Last Tango in Paris
Dr. No
From Russia with Love
Bad Day at Black Rock
Lady for a Day (capra)
Carnal Knowledge (mike nichols)
The Prince of Tides
Jason and the Argonauts
A River Runs Through It
Damage (malle)
City of Hope (sayles)
Confidentially Yours
Edward II (jarman)
The Bridge on the River Kwai
Get Out Your Handkerchiefs (bertrand blier)
Evergreen (victor saville)
Salt of the Earth (berbert biberman)
Bodies, Rest & Motion (michael steinberg)
Menace II Society
Two English Girls
The Prince of Tides
Woman Next Door
Dersu Uzala
Three Cases of Murder (david eady)
Once Were Warriors (lee tamahori)
The Atomic Cafe
Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?
Waltz of the Torreadors (john guillermin)
El Cid (anthony mann)
The Entertainer (tony richardson)
Swept Away (lina wertmuller)
The Return of Martin Guerre (daniel vigne)
Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song
Montenegro (makavejev)
A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies
Olympia I and II
Pink Flamingos
Five Corners (tony bill)
Godzilla, King of the Monsters!
Godzilla vs. Mothra
Godzilla vs. Monster Zero
Godzilla’s Revenge
Terror of Mechagodzilla
Switchblade Sisters