We interrupt the regularly scheduled set of movie reviews to bring you the following monthly status post:
The title of this post does not mistakenly have an extra zero in it. I actually saw 108 movies in the month of October, plus another two re-watches. While I have only been keeping detailed track of my movie viewing since the beginning of this year, I am very sure that this is the most movies I have ever seen in a single month.
Several things happened that caused me to reach this number. First, I had a lot of expenses in September, so I wanted to cut back some in October and staying home to watch movies is very cheap entertainment. Second, the 2012 additions to the 1001 Movies list were announced at the beginning of the month. I had already seen 11 of the 14 and this increase in my total viewed meant I had a chance this month of passing 700 total movies seen from the list. I did accomplish that and then some. Third, I also watched quite a few unavailable-on-DVD movies that I had collected over a period of time in order to ensure they were playing correctly before sending them to someone else. Fourth, there were almost no new TV shows this fall that caught my interest, so I didn’t spend much time watching TV. Fifth, I bumped up the number of Netflix DVDs I have out at the same time. Sixth, a bunch of films from my two major lists were expiring from Netflix Instant viewing. Seventh, Steve Honeywell at 1001plus loaned me a bunch of DVDs. (Thanks Steve!) He's watching and reviewing every film in the 1001 Movies list. You should check out his site when you get a chance. And finally, a few days before the end of the month I did a count and found I was in the 90s. I then made a conscious effort to see enough to reach the 100 mark.
I also finished seeing every single film that has been added to the 1,001 Movies list since it was originally published in 2003, and I just passed being two thirds complete with the entire list.
Currently, the two main lists that I am taking movie suggestions from are the 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list and a list I put together of every Oscar Best Picture nominee. You can see those lists by clicking on these titles: 1,001 Movies; Oscar Nominees. I’m also close to completing the Combined AFI Movies list.
So far in 2012 I have seen 418 movies that were new to me. Among those 418 films, 210 were from the 1,001 Movies list and 61 were Best Picture nominees.
Here are the 108 new movies I saw in October. Highlighted movies are ones to which I would give at least three stars out of five. I will single out the four and five star films in the paragraph below the list.
1,001 Movies (89): Bus 174 (2002), Senna (2010), The Kid with a Bike (2011),
Deseret (1995), Too Early, Too Late (1981), Vinyl (1965), Mediterranee (1963), Heaven and Earth Magic (1962), Lucia (1969), The Decline of the American Empire (1986),
The Barbarian Invasions (2003), Le Havre (2011), Drowning by Numbers (1988), Distant (2002), Lantana (2001), Artists and Models (1955), The Phantom Carriage (1921), Napolean (1927), The Big Parade (1925), Greed (1924), The Crowd (1928), La Chienne (1931), The Baker’s Wife (1938), Superfly (1972), Drugstore Cowboy (1989), Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989), The Last Laugh (1924), Little Caesar (1931), Rocco and His Brothers (1960), The Cloud-Capped Star (1960), The Housemaid (1960), Los Olvidados (1950), Mother and Son (1997), Red Psalm (1972), The Given Word (1962), Entranced Earth (1967), Tristana (1970), Turkish Delight (1973), Chronicle of a Summer (1961), Loulou (1980), Guys and Dolls (1955), The Public Enemy (1931), The Man Who Had His Hair Cut Short (1965), No Fear No Die (1990), Farewell My Concubine (1993), Europa ’51 (1952), Voyage in Italy (1953), What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), White Heat (1949), Sabotage (1936), The Nail of Brightness (1975), Black God, White Devil (1962), The Fourth Man (1983), Peking Opera Blues (1986), Mother India (1957), Red Sorghum (1987), A Tale of Winter (1992), Center Stage (1992), The Idiots (1998), Judge Priest (1933), A City of Sadness (1989), Ceddo (1977), Hill 24 Doesn’t Answer (1955), On the Town (1949), Pinocchio (1940), Zero for Conduct (1933), Queen Christina (1933), Once Upon a Time in China (1991), Romper Stomper (1992), Mean Streets (1973), A Star is Born (1954), Broken Blossoms (1919), Nanook of the North (1922), McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971), The Wicker Man (1973), Suspiria (1977), Russian Ark (2002), The Big Red One (1980), King of New York (1990), The Butcher Boy (1997), Poltergeist (1982), Way Down East (1920), Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), Foolish Wives (1922), Night and Fog (1955), Dog Star Man (1962), The House is Black (1963), Camille (1936)
Oscar Nominees (11): Cavalcade (1933) – the last Oscar winning film I had left to see, The Diary of Anne Frank (1959), Funny Girl (1968), Norma Rae (1979), The Guns of Navarone (1961), The Longest Day (1962), Madame Curie (1943), Love Story (1970), Midnight Express (1978), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), Coming Home (1978)
AFI Movies (2) (several others also appear in the two sections above):
The Omen (1976)
Other Movies (6): The Five-Year Engagement (2012), People Like Us (2012), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012), Burke and Hare (2010), A Dirty Shame (2004), Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
Re-watches (2): Stephen Fry in
, The Avengers America
I had no new five star films in October, although one might get bumped up to five when I watch it again. That film is Safety Not Guaranteed (2012). Like last year’s Another Earth, it’s not about the science fiction, but about the people in the film. It’s my favorite movie of the month, and by coincidence, the 100th I saw. I plan to create a “Time Travel on a Budget” category in order to review this film in a week or two, so for now I will just say that I expect it will be in my Top 10 Movies of 2012 list.
My other four star films were The Barbarian Invasions (2003), Napolean (1927), White Heat (1949), Queen Christina (1933), Nanook of the North (1922), Madame Curie (1943), and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958). The Barbarian Invasions is the sort-of sequel to The Decline of the American Empire and I watched them back to back, which I feel increased my appreciation for the second film. Napolean is a white-washed bio of Napolean Bonaparte from childhood to him starting to assume power. At one point this 1927 film is impossibly, gloriously, in widescreen – almost 30 years before anyone else made movies that way. White Heat is one of the best crime dramas I’ve seen. Other than Yankee Doodle Dandy, this is the best performance I’ve seen from James Cagney. I will be reviewing this in a few days. Queen Christina is a largely fictional bio of the title character who controlled the throne of
for a time. Greta Garbo is great as the lead. Nanook of the North is the 1920s documentary of an Eskimo and his family. While some people like to argue over how much is staged, it is still a great look at a way of life that no longer exists. Like all bios of its time, Madame Curie is a somewhat fictional movie of the great scientists Marie and Pierre Curie. Unlike almost every other film, though, it treats science and the scientific process not only seriously, but relatively accurately. Anyone who has a daughter with even the slightest interest in science should show her this movie. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof has a great cast, headed by Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor, both at the peak of their sex appeal. If you have an appreciation for great eyes, this is the movie to see. Sweden
With over 100 movies watched in October, I did see my share of stinkers. I won’t mention all of them, but I will single out Vinyl (1965). This is in the 1001 Movies list and it is just godawful. The only reason anyone would ever put this on a list of movies to watch is that it is from Andy Warhol. It is essentially a home movie being performed by and shot by people strung out on LSD. The 1001 Movies book says it is supposedly a version of A Clockwork Orange. Either the reviewer was also on LSD when he wrote that, or Andy Warhol said that’s what the film is about in order to mess with people. Honestly, you can see videos on Youtube shot by kids doing stupid stuff in their houses that are on par with this movie. Oh, since Edie Sedgwick spends most of the movie sitting on the right of the screen smoking one cigarette after another this movie will probably be loved by smoking fetishists. (You know who you are.)
(We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming, already in progress).