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.
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?”
“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.
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
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
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.
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
On the Town
A Night at the Opera
I Love Melvin
Dangerous When Wet
Annie Get Your Gun
Bells Are Ringing
The Muppet Movie
Blackfly / The Cat Came Back
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
The Power of Nightmares
Sorrow and the Pity
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)
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)
Listen To Britain
Canal Zone (Wiseman)
High School (Wiseman)
Sisters In Law
The End of Suburbia
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
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
In the City of Sylvia
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 Wild Blue Yonder
The Constant Gardener
Alone in the Dark / Bloodrayne
Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World
Me and You and Everyone We Know
Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
Thank You For Smoking
Don’t Come Knocking
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 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
‘Til We Meet Again
Jesus of Montreal
In Search of a Midnight Kiss
Blackadder’s Christmas Carol
A Tale of Winter
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.
Duel in the Sun
Annie Get Your Gun
The Lusty Men
Man of the West
Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Bend of the River
The Far Country
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:
The Thousand Eyes of Dr. Mabuse
Chaplin: A King In New York
Nick Ray: Lightning Over Water
Demy: Trois places pour le 26 or Varda’s
Corman: Frankenstein Unbound
John Hubley: The Cosmic Eye
Lubitsch: Cluny Brown, That Lady In Ermine
Melville: Un Flic
Satyajit Ray: The Visitor, Branches of the Tree
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
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
Vertov 1926 A Sixth Part of the World 1:14
Man with the Movie Camera
Dura Lex 1:18
Kuleshov 1933 The Great Consoler
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
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
Petrov 1992 The Cow :10
Mikhalkov 1994 Burnt by the Sun 2:15
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
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 Last Winter
Mother of Tears
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
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
The Baby’s Room (2006) 76min
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
Curse of Frankenstein 1957
The Mummy 1959
Season of the Witch
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
Borzage: Nugget Jim /
Free Cinema DVDs
Entr’acte (René Clair)
La Villa Santo-Sospir (by Cocteau)
Paris du par (anthology)
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
The Hat, Moonbird, Whither Weather
Breaktime, The Chorus
Rohmer: Changing Landscapes
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
Bonnie and Clyde (’67)
Doctor Zhivago (1965)
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
Out of the Past
Paths of Glory
Ride the High Country
Some Came Running
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 Maltese Falcon
The Manchurian Candidate
The Merry Widow
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)
Witness for the Prosecution
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.
Young and Innocent
The Asphalt Jungle
Scaramouche (george sidney)
Show Boat (whale)
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
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
City of Hope (sayles)
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
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
A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies
Olympia I and II
Five Corners (tony bill)
Godzilla, King of the Monsters!
Godzilla vs. Mothra
Godzilla vs. Monster Zero
Terror of Mechagodzilla
62% of my web traffic comes from Google image search and 99.9% of my comments are from spammers (much thanks to the Defensio plugin for auto-deleting those). So not a lot of regular readers. But let’s face it, if this wasn’t my own blog I wouldn’t read it either. I guess I will never be a famous film writer, damn it all.
Almost half the movies covered here are from the last decade (that percentage will only increase in the next 11 months, what with my best-of-decade project currently in progress).
Included in the 1690 titles (including shorts):
8 by Takashi Miike, Sam Fuller, Charles Burnett, Pedro Almodovar, Howard Hawks, Peter Watkins
9 by Fritz Lang
10 by Stuart Gordon, Brian De Palma
11 by Luis Bunuel, Werner Herzog
12 by Joe Dante, Eric Rohmer
13 by David Lynch, Guy Maddin
16 by Alain Resnais, Jacques Rivette, Agnes Varda, Buster Keaton
25 by Chris Marker
Taking stock of big movie-list quests:
The IMDB changed their search so I can’t simply list the top-250 films I haven’t seen, and it doesn’t seem worth counting by hand. Wasn’t such an interesting list, anyway. I’m around 427/1000 (up from 380 in 2009) on Rosenbaum’s list (with 65% of his top 100), 554/1000 (up from 500) on the They Shoot Pictures list (helped significantly by a site update which replaced some more obscure titles with popular ones), 266/515 (52%, up from 47%) on the Criterion list and a piddling 10/95 (13%) on the Eclipse list. Those should continue to keep me busy for a good while.
It continues to give me pleasure to watch my little movies, write these little posts, and track them in my fancy, sortable index. Carry on, then.
Wow, I wrote too much last year so I’ll keep this short. How am I doing on my ongoing quest to see every great movie?
– My 2008 goal to watch movies I already had (mainly purchased, never-watched DVDs but also rented/copied DVDs and downloads) was not a complete success, somewhere around a third complete. I’m allowing myself to start buying DVDs again with the condition that I watch at least one off the shelf for each new one I acquire… seems reasonable.
– Filmmaker-oriented goals, to see all the movies by Rivette, Resnais, Marker, Bunuel, were well explored and advanced in 2008, but are on hold now, since I’ve decided to ban all foreign-language films (except theatrically and in certain other cases) until I’m at least halfway through my long-long-delayed French lessons.
– Made my list of movies I definitely have to watch in 2009, but I overdid it as always, so it’s 270 titles long. Still, unrealistic goals are better than no goals at all.
– And of the best-movies-ever lists that I often refer to, I’m up five to 211/250 on the IMDB list (will never hit 100% as long as Crash 2004 is still on there), up fifty to 500/1000 on the They Shoot Pictures list, up forty to 380/1000 on the Rosenbaum list, up a mere five on the 1977 list, and up one percent (242/519 from 205/450) on the Criterion/Eclipse list (the hardest one to keep up with).
There are other new years goals and resolutions and lists and everything, but they ain’t movie-related so they are of no concern here.
So I was playing around on my custom movie database and realized I could pretty easily make an index of all the titles (now over 1,000!) covered on this here blog, and so I have done that. Look over there to your right and you’ll find it.
EDIT: A side-effect of the database: now you can see which movies I’ve recently watched before the journal entry goes live, so you can more effectively anticipate new posts.
You, before: “I wonder what Brandon will watch next!”
You, after: “OMG Brandon just watched Loft! I wonder what he thought about it!”