Thursday, May 28, 2015

An Early Look at the 2015 Edition of 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Adolytsi gave me a heads up that the latest edition of the 1,001 Movies book has an entry on the U.S. Amazon site.  It will be a hardcover book, so that means it will be published in the U.S.  The release date is October 1, 2015.  I checked Amazon UK, but there is no entry there yet for the softcover version which gets published in that country.

Adolytsi observed that this year instead of having a single image on the cover, they have multiple smaller images of movie posters, all of which seem to be ones in the list.  Assuming this to be the case, he was able to derive from the cover the following movies being added:

Guardians of the Galaxy
The Theory of Everything

In addition, the text of the Amazon page also mentions The Grand Budapest Hotel being in it.

Only one of these is a surprise to me.  Birdman and Ida are givens considering they won the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film.  Winners of these two categories in past years have always been added.

Boyhood was also a given just from the way it was made – filmed for a week or two over a dozen years so that we see the characters age.  The Grand Budapest Hotel was both a fan favorite and a critical darling, so that doesn’t surprise me.  And The Theory of Everything is not unexpected since the main editors of the books are UK-based and have shown a bias towards UK-centric stories when it comes to new additions.  I might have thought The Imitation Game would have been selected over this, but maybe both will be chosen.

That brings me to Guardians of the Galaxy.  First, let me say that I greatly enjoyed this movie and consider it second only to the first Avengers movie among all comic book based films.  It was my number one film of 2014.  (You can read my review here.)

Despite this, I am surprised to see it make the newest edition since the history of the editors picking the new films is to NOT select any movies from this genre.  The only film like this ever added is The Dark Knight.  And that was added to only a single other comic book entry – the earlier Batman (1989).

Not even the first Avengers movie made the list, despite the fact that it became the second or third highest grossing film in movie history (depending on how you count Titanic, which was re-released just to push it back ahead of Avengers).

It seemed like if you weren’t a “creature of the night” like Batman or a vampire then the editors didn’t want you on the list.  (There’s an inexplicable preponderance of vampire films picked for the list – seven of them, five of which are all based on the same Bram Stoker Dracula novel.)

Based on this history, both Adolytsi and I were pretty sure that Guardians would not get added.  Both of us even tried to counsel a Letterboxd 1,001 Movies list commenter to not get his hopes too high because he was sure Guardians would be added because of its greatness.  Assuming the book cover on Amazon indicates Guardians makes it then this marks a rare departure for the editors.  Now if they would only give a little more weight to new animated films, too, since they are similarly underrepresented in each year’s additions.


  1. Surprisingly, I'm in pretty good shape based on the six films you mention here. I've put up reviews for four of them and have had plans to knock out Ida in late June, and have Boyhood on the docket for being nominated.

    Guardians of the Galaxy is a surprise. Then again, I was equally shocked by the inclusion of Cabin in the Woods. Every now and then, the listmakers offer us a pleasant surprise.

    Just based on my own thinking, I think Leviathan is very likely. Selma wouldn't surprise me based on subject matter. Beyond that, I can only hope for the inclusion of Nightcrawler, which I think absolutely deserves to be there.

  2. I was surprised Leviathan didn't win the Oscar, just like The Hunt not winning it last year. I figured The Hunt would make the list, but it didn't so I don't know about Leviathan. I haven't seen it yet. It's in my Netflix queue.

    You could be right about Selma. I'd be happy to see Nightcrawler on there, but I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't make it.

    The Palme d'Or winner usually gets added. That was a film named Winter Sleep from Turkey. They often have at least one Asian film, and while this one would technically qualify, I'm thinking an eastern Asian film will make it. Even though they are animated I could see one of the Studio Ghibli films The Wind Rises or The Tale of the Princess Kaguya making it.

    The documentary Citizenfour is one I expect to make it. Life Itself, the doc about Roger Ebert might make it just because it's about a fellow critic and his life.

    Taking a bit of a flyer, they seem to like both Jim Jarmusch and vampires, so the Jim Jarmusch vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive is one from left field I'll suggest might make it.

  3. I somehow missed this post the first time around. I'm also surprised about the addition of Guardians of the Galaxy. A movie from this genre that I would add that nobody else seems to mention is Watchmen. We'll also see if any of the documentaries from last year like Citizenfour will make it. Our library will be showing Leviathan and Wild Tales in August. One or both of them could make the cut. Thank you for the update!

  4. It's very interesting to read about films that need to be watched, because many of these films show us very important moments and true lives.