Monday, April 1, 2013

March Movie Status

I saw 106 movies in the month of March, plus 5 shorts, plus 1 TV series re-watch, plus 1 movie re-watch.  That’s not an April Fool’s Day joke.  After only watching 21 films from the 1,001 Movies list so far in 2013 I decided to refocus on it.  I saw a normal number of movies from the Oscar Best Picture Nominees list, but I was able to bring the number remaining to under 100.  I also watched a bunch of DVDs I’ve had lying around for a few years from when I bought them for a little bit of nothing from a video rental store that was going out of business.

For the 1,001 Movies I’ve never really had any intermediate goals other than the total number itself reaching the next hundred.  A few months back I deliberately finished off all of the films that have been added to the original 2003 list, but that was it.  For my refocus I decided to take a look at what I had left and find some short term goals for the month.  As it turns out I had several that were achievable. 

For the month of March I passed 900 total entries seen (or as Steve at 1001plus likes to look at it, less than 200 entries left.)  I saw the two films I had remaining to finish off the first 100 entries.  I happened to have already completed the final 100.  With 15 films watched I was able to complete the final 200, and then with another 17 the final 300.  Along with this I also completed both the 1990s and the 2000s.  I had one film left that was greater than 3 hours long (not counting The Decalogue which I am leaving for last), and three other movies longer than 2 ½ hours.  I saw all four.  As part of completing the final 300 I saw the only entry I had left that was less than one hour long.

I’m not sure if I’m going to try to knock off more short term goals in April.  I have 24 entries left that are over two hours.  I have 15 entries to complete the first 200 and 17 left to complete the last 400.  If I concentrated on some of these I could achieve them, but at the moment I am feeling more like just floating around the list, like I have in the past.  I am actually thinking of trying to reduce the numbers of all the ones in the middle of the list to kind of balance things out.  I’ve got 15 (101-200), 25 (201-300), 29 (301-400), 29 (401-500), 30 (501-600), 22 (601-700), and 17 (701-800) entries left to see.  Dropping all of them below 20 might be a good goal for the month.

Here are the 106 new movies and 5 shorts I saw in March.  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, as well as the worst films, in the paragraphs below the lists.

1,001 Movies (66): Rosetta (1999), Through the Olive Trees (1994), Safe (1995), Yol (1982), Dawn of the Dead (1978), Zero Kelvin (1995), Kippur (2000), Signs & Wonders (2000), Attack the Gas Station! (1999), Close-Up (1990), Withnail & I (1987), Short Cuts (1993), The Earrings of Madame de… (1953), Lola Montes (1955), Senso (1954), Fast, Cheap & Out of Control (1997), Europa Europa (1990), Sombre (1998), The Pillow Book (1996), Deconstructing Harry (1997), Man Bites Dog (1992), Yeelen (1987), Through a Glass Darkly (1961), Me and My Gal (1932), Love Me Tonight (1932), Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1990), Babes in Arms (1939), Buffalo ’66 (1998), My Own Private Idaho (1991), Kundun (1997), Crumb (1994), The Cow (1969), The Hole (1959), The Unbelievable Truth (1989), Trust (1990), The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964), Woman in the Dunes (1964), Naked Lunch (1991), Animal Farm (1954), Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse (1991), The Blue Kite (1993), Taboo (1999), The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), Fitzcarraldo (1982), The Red and the White (1967), Make Way for Tomorrow (1937), The Rapture (1991), The Big Sky (1952), The Mortal Storm (1940), Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), Cairo Station (1958), Shoot the Piano Player (1960), Ordet (1955), Au Hasard Balthazar (1966), Tongues Untied (1989), Breathless (1960), Viridiana (1961), Pickpocket (1959), The Story of a Cheat (1936), Things to Come (1936), The Quiet Earth (1985), Performance (1970), Fantastic Planet (1973), The Tin Drum (1979), Juliet of the Spirits (1965), High School (1968)

Oscar Nominees (10): Friendly Persuasion (1956), Ivanhoe (1952), Decision Before Dawn (1951), Quo Vadis (1951), Moulin Rouge (1952), America America (1963), King Solomon’s Mines (1950), Twelve O’Clock High (1949), The Bishop’s Wife (1947), The Razor’s Edge (1946)

Other Movies (35): The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2012), Dredd (2012), Holy Motors (2012), Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2012), The Intouchables (2011), Cop Out (2010), Red State (2011), Kevin Smith: Burn in Hell (2012), Branded (2012), Stiletto (2008), Layer Cake (2004), The Man in the Moon (1991), Enigma (2001), Georgia Rule (2007), Bob Funk (2009), Tan Lines (2005), The Informers (2008), Spread (2009), Celeste & Jesse Forever (2012), Lola Versus (2012), About Cherry (2012), You and I (2011), Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970), Win Win (2011), Happy, Happy (2011), The Lincoln Lawyer (2011), What’s Your Number? (2011), A Dangerous Method (2011), Mothlight (1963), Arnulf Rainer (1960), Outer Space (1999), A Movie (1958), Unsere Afrikareise (1966), Last Man Standing (2011), Rocket Science (2007)

Re-watches (1): Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

TV Series (1): The Middleman (re-watch)
I did not have any five star films this month.  My four star films were Man Bites Dog (1992), The Story of a Cheat (1936), The Bishop’s Wife (1947), The Intouchables (2011), Kevin Smith: Burn in Hell (2012), and Tora ! Tora ! Tora! (1970).  I just reviewed Tora ! Tora! Tora! as part of my Repeated Movie Titles category. 

What if a documentary crew had been following Alex from A Clockwork Orange around, Spinal Tap style? The answer is Man Bites Dog, an ultra-violent, seriously twisted, dark dark satire on "reality" programming. You'll be saying to yourself, "I shouldn't be laughing at this." Not for the faint of heart. 

The Story of a Cheat is a delightful movie about the life story of, well, a cheat. The roguish lead character regales us with tales of his past exploits. I'd be surprised if you didn't like the character, despite his dishonest moments. A scene regarding a Countess and a pocket watch is comedy gold.

The Bishop’s Wife from 1947 is definitely better than the remake. I'm glad I finally got around to seeing the original version. I'm not religious, so the movie didn't do anything for me that way. I just liked the little bits of humor and the message about focusing on what's really important.

The Intouchables has good humor without being a comedy and good emotions without being maudlin. It also makes great use of existing music, from classical, to Jazz, to R&B.

Kevin Smith: Burn in Hell is, I believe, the fifth of his Q&A sessions that have been released as films and I have liked them all.  They are not stand up comedy.  He is more in the mold of a storyteller who relates things in a humorous manner, then takes questions which he turns into more humor.

The 1,001 Movies list is reliable for providing me with at least one star movie every month.  In March that was Sombre (1998).  The director shot most of the movie in very low light.  Even the outside, day scenes were shot with a day-for-night filter.  The movie is so (literally) dark that you cannot see what is happening on the screen.  Most of the two hours are spent simply listening to the movie and trying to figure out what is going on.  If you are an expert at watching scrambled cable channels then this is the movie for you. 

A number of shorts made the 2013 They Shoot Pictures Don’t They for the first time.  I watched some of them.  Most were a waste of time, but at least the time lost was not much.  Even then, at only seven minutes Arnulf Rainer (1960) just sucks.  Its entire seven minutes consists of occasionally projected completely blank screens, accompanied by white noise.  That’s it.  People subject to seizures should probably avoid it for medical reasons (seriously).  Hell, everyone should avoid it for mental health reasons.  And this is considered to be one of the 1,000 greatest films ever made (#871)?  I’ll never understand critics.

Now that I’ve done my monthly duty (and for the Wreck-It Ralph fans it was a big duty) I’m going to go watch the first episode of Game of Thrones season 3 and then the Red Sox/Yankees game for baseball’s opening day.


  1. The sheer number of movies you get through never ceases to amaze me.
    I'm glad you enjoyed The Intouchables (2011), one of the best new films in my opinion, the soundtrack is pretty good, I agree. Rumour has it remake in English is on the way, I doubt it can recapture the chemistry.

    1. I'd figured there would be a remake, too. The thing is, several American critics belittled the film by comparing it to Driving Miss Daisy, so you know they are already going to give the remake a bad review. Other than it being two people - one black, one white - forming a friendship, it's a tenuous connection at best.

      In regards to the number of movies, I go in bursts. The number of films I saw in January and February combined is less than what I saw in March. I watch little TV, other than some sporting events. Baseball season is starting today, so that will cut into some of my movie watching time. In my part of the world we are coming into spring, too, so that will also start getting me outside more. I try to turn my Netflix disks around as quickly as possible to maximize the benefit of the membership. And I am still taking time off of working, so that adds hours each day I have available for activities, including movies.

  2. I love that you and I evidently approach the list in similar ways. How similarly? Here's what I have left:
    200-299: 12
    300-399: 18
    400-499: 16
    500-599: 22
    600-699: 20
    700-799: 20
    800-899: 18
    900-999: 23
    1000+: 10

    (These numbers assume that I will finish and review Rain Man tonight). So, my numbers are lower, but I have more groups to finish than you do.

    1. You're a lot more balanced in your blocks of 100. That's what I'm thinking right now I should get to over the next month.

      The fact that I even think about them in sets of a hundred is completely stolen from you. (Your check's in the mail. Wait, you didn't copyright the concept? Scratch that bit about the check.) I remember you writing in your monthly statuses about completing the first hundred. Until then I had never thought about approaching the list that way. I added the totals for each hundred at the bottom of my tracking sheet on my Lists from Chip site specifically for anyone else who also wanted to approach things this way. I wanted to do it by decade, too (which was more the way I was thinking of it), but the fact that so many movies are out of chronological order in the book meant I would have had to write more complex formulas to total them properly, so I didn't bother.

      As it was, I had only two left to complete the first 100 for around 3-4 months, but I never concentrated on them until March when I was looking for the "low hanging fruit".

      The fact that I even started tracking down the hard to find entries is also directly attributable to you. In one of your monthly statuses just as I was starting to actively pursue the list you wrote out the entries you couldn't find copies of. Until then I didn't realize that any of them were unavailable. Someone responded to you with links for two of them, which I watched because I didn't know how long the links might last. That led to me trying Netflix for all 500+ entries I still had left to see at the time and finding more than 100 that were not available. I then starting searching for them periodically and when I found them I saved them so that I could watch them when I had the time. This led to the discussions of you, me, and Adolytsi about having a central location for helping others to find the hard to find entries, which led to Adolytsi starting the wiki with me adding and maintaining the links, which led to me being able to share the ones you couldn't find with you via the "magic flashdrive". (You should be humming The Circle of Life from The Lion King right about now.)

      On a related note, I was a little disappointed you didn't comment on my prior post. I had been hoping you would share links to your posts where you had discussed changes you would like to see to the book.

    2. I may well have missed that post--I'll go take a look. We were out of town for a couple of days this past week (we all had spring break at the same time), and came home to a dead router and no internet. You miss a lot when you're unable to go online for half a week!

    3. Wow, still going on spring break at your age? I suppose the peer pressure from all those college students can be quite tough to ignore. :-)

    4. Teachers get spring break, too...

    5. Yes, but do their spring breaks involve teenie weenie bikini contests and waking up on a beach incredibly hungover?

    6. No and no, which is fine. Since my kids are 14 and 10, their spring breaks don't involve that, either.

  3. Hey, fun fact - you can see me in the audience in "An Evening with Kevin Smith" (2002). I was attending Cornell at the time and Smith came to speak (actually on my birthday!) and the camera was literally right in front of me pretty much the whole night. I know it's taken from several college campus shows, and it's been awhile since I've seen it so I can't tell you when I'm onscreen, but I've rented the DVD, paused it, and seen myself. So hey, that's cool!

    1. I own this on DVD. I was getting all ready to pop it in and see you on camera then you say you can't tell me where you are. Hmmmm, sounds just a *little* suspicious to me.

      (I kid. I believe you. I am disappointed by not being able to see the coed version of Siobhan, though.)

    2. Maybe I'll have to figure where I am again... I used to know... it's just been awhile... a project for tonight, perhaps?