Welcome to my movie blog, containing reviews and articles. I've been writing since 2004 - with a short break during 2009.

My IMDB top 250 - part one

It's a long time since I printed out a copy of the top 250 and stuck it on my wall. Three years later (maaaan, this blog is old!), at 121/250, I have seen almost exactly half. Frustratingly, of course, films drop on and off the list - I'm sure both 12 monkeys and Butch Cassidy used to be here - but no matter.

So here's an analysis of the ones I haven't seen -

Initially, just as a prompt to get me writing - but now its more of a mission statement, a review of things to see over the summer. And a confession - yes, I have STILL not seen Kane...

1. The Godfather (1972)
2. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
3. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
4. Buono, il brutto, il cattivo, Il (1966)
5. Pulp Fiction (1994)

6. Schindler's List (1993) - longtime readers will be aware of my pathological dislike of real life tragedy. I like to be troubled, I like to be disturbed - but only in a Tideland-y sort of way. I understand this film is brilliant, and if the chance to see it ever arises maybe I'll give in. But I'm not going out of my way to thoroughly spoil my evening. Selfish attitude? The truth.

7. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) - I didn't realise this was quite this high. In any case, its one I'm really looking forward to still. Insanity floats my boat; so does rebellion against conformity and institutions. Jack Nickleson is one of the "great actors" I still haven't got around to. Plus, my mother thought it was a "distasteful" film, or "very nasty" or something like that - and that's normally a good indication that I'll enjoy.

8. Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
9. Casablanca (1942)
10. Star Wars (1977)
11. 12 Angry Men (1957)
12. Shichinin no samurai (1954)
13. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
14. Goodfellas (1990)

15. Rear Window (1954) - much like Schindler's Ark, I know this film isn't going anywhere. I'm not excited - bad experience with Vertigo and the first half of Psycho has put me off Hitchcock's psyce- dramas. Although 39 Steps and The Lady Vanishes were a lot of fun. One day, it'll be on TV or cheap in Oxfam. Until then, I can wait.

16. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

17. Cidade de Deus (2002) - Hypocracy is the spice of life. Forget anything I ever said about avoiding harrowing real life dramas - this is one I'm looking forward to. I've heard a lot about the atmosphere - y'know, sweaty and raw, untrained actors, the crew almost getting linched by local gangsters. Looking forward to an excuse to see it.

18. C'era una volta il West (1968)
19. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
20. The Usual Suspects (1995)

21. Psycho (1960) - Watched the first half of this in film studies, and boy it was tedious. We got as far as the shower, but I wasn't inspired to watch on. Half a year later, on a school trip, we had just checked into our hotels after the longest day (we'd been up at three AM for a coach to Paris, then a flight over the Atlantic, then another internal flight, then another coach. Eventually, we were up for a full 24 hours) - at this point we had been up for maybe 20 hours straight. So I found the classic movies channel, and put it on as background noise. Turned out it was Psycho, and I suddenly got really fond of it. Hey, I was homesick, I was entertaining visits from others in our group (our hotel room was acutally a five room suite, so people kept coming up to ogle), and besides - I thought Norman Bates was great. Plus, my roomate began her shower at exactly the wrong moment...much like the above, I'm not actively looking for it, but I am now willing to sit it through to the end.

22. Fight Club (1999)

23. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)- did I ever tell you Kubrick was God? He never appears on my favourite directors lists, but he'd be near the top of my top 20 if pressed. This is one of the few I haven't seen - or rather, seen all of. Our history teachers let us watch the first half as a treat after finishing our Cold War studies. I loved it, tho I assume everyone else would have preferred Friends or Finding Nemo. All I need is an oppertunity. In fact, I'll get it out next time I go to the library...

24. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) - I've never been enthusiastic about this. Much like the Third Man, i feel a viewing would be marred by the "join the dots" spoilers. So for The Third Man, once you've got past Vienna-zither-ferriswheel-feet in the door - hands in the grate, you already feel you know it too well. Now actually, that's rubbish - there's so much more to that film, and all the famous bits are in the last ten minutes. But still, they can keep their chianti for now. Jodie Foster doesn't interest me, neither does Anthony Hopkins. Plus, my mother reckons it's still too unpleasant for me. And while I don't stick rigidly to my parents recommendations, I figure there's no harm in this one.

25. Citizen Kane (1941) - ah, dear old Kane - the bane of my life and butt of my every joke. I really need to see this film before I mock it into a corner it can't get out of. But there's nothing worse than watching The Greatest Film Of All Time while trying to watch it with a blank slate and fresh approach. In actual fact, I have seen it - back on a Saturday afternoon, barely recalled from childhood. Tragically, the true identity of Rosebud is all I remember.

26. North by Northwest (1959) - I've already expounded my feelings on Hitchcock. Some classic movies feel as fresh and modern as the day they were made - Some like it Hot, Casablanca, the Third Man. Some should have stayed in the 50s. Until you try it, you never know; but I can't help but feel a weariness when approaching them.

27. Sunset Blvd. (1950) - this film is an entirely unknown quantity. With the exception of "alright, I'm ready for my close up", and a passionate rendition of the musical's title song by John Barrowman, I know nothing. There's a fine line between knowing too much, and knowing enough to whet the enthusiasm.

28. Memento (2000)
29. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
30. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
31. The Matrix (1999)

32. Se7en (1995) - Friend 3 is dead excited about seeing this, and in celebration of her 18th birthday bought it, Usual Suspects, Fight Club, Smoking Aces and a few other things she hadn't been allowed last week. I hope to borrow it off her - I need to lend her History of Violence anyway.

33. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) - much like Citizen Kane, I saw this through the same childhood mist. I remember a motorcycle crash (or was that Dam Busters?), and the attack on the train. It barely counts as having seen it though...

34. Apocalypse Now (1979)
35. Taxi Driver (1976)
36. American Beauty (1999)
37. Léon (1994)
38. Vertigo (1958)

39. American History X (1998) - I caught the middle 20 minutes of this the day my sister broke her thighbone. We were up late, waiting for news from the hospital. It depressed me. Not the leg, that was very upsetting of course; I mean the movie. Ed Norton is always worth a watch, but to be honest racism pisses me off more than it makes me feel sad or sympathetic, and irritable isn't a good way to watch a movie. Plus, it was nasty, but not in a movie-OK way. Despite that, the black-and-white cinematography was very eyecatching - and I did only catch the middle on a day already stressful, so I am willing to give it a fairer trial.

40. Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, Le (2001)

41. Paths of Glory (1957) - more Kubrick. Am I excited? You can blummin bet I am...

42. The Departed (2006) - incidentally, I'm impressed to see this here. Current movies always get onto the list - few stay for long.

43. M (1931) - Boy am I excited about this. As mentioned above, there's nothing more exciting than discovering a movie classic is as raw and terrifying as anything produced by the modern world. I don't know, I haven't seen it. But I have seen Metropolis, and that more than earnt its stature as great. And people say great things.

44. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) - ugh. Well maybe that's unfair - I had that reaction to reading the book, and turns out that's fantastic (who knew?). So maybe I should give this a go. But I feel the same sort of safe tedium about it expressed above about North by Northwest. Plus, after loving Gregory Peck so much as morally grey Mallory in Guns of Navarone, I'm not sure I could go back to seeing him as whiter-than-white Atticus Finch.

45. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

46. Chinatown (1974) - this is now very, very high on my list of must-sees. Partly because I know there is a killer twist, without knowing what it is - a very rare state for me and a high-profile movie. But also because its a gangster classic, and I'm swiftly running out of those.

47. Alien (1979)
48. The Third Man (1949)

49. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) - I recognise the name - but this is the first film on the list I couldn't tell you anything about. Actors? Plot? I kinda assume it's a boys own adventure, but was it a western? Or set in the war? Or was that Maltese Falcon? uncertainty is a wonderful thing.

50. Leben der Anderen, Das (2006)
51. Forrest Gump (1994)
52. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

53. The Shining (1980) - are all Kubrick's films on the list? Well, sans Eyes Wide Shut (probably). In any case, I am actively avoiding this. I just can't do scary movies, any scary movies; scary movies that scare even hardened horror fans are one place I refuse to go. Kubrick or no.

54. Double Indemnity (1944) - oooooh, noir! Fun fun fun...

55. The Pianist (2002)
56. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
57. Laberinto del fauno, El (2006)
58. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
59. Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001)

60. L.A. Confidential (1997) - I almost got my sister to see this yesterday. She is (guffaw) attempting the top 1001 film list, which is hilarious to me personally. Her plan to watch one a day is even more failed than mine - she's watching Wimbledon instead. The list is covered with films which she's refused to watch over the last two years. I came over with a craving to watch this, she agreed - because it was on the list. But I bottled out - she said "shall we watch it?" with such a sense of tedium I knew she wouldn't take in a word. It's about enjoying them, not ticking them off a list. Right?

61. Requiem for a Dream (2000) - my interest in this was first triggered by the theme's use in the LOTR: Two Towers trailer. Even though it has been overused in trailers since, I advise you to check it out because its a very exciting piece of work. I actually thought we had this recorded off the TV - apparently not. I'm still looking out for it though.

62. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
63. Aliens (1986)
64. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
65. Boot, Das (1981)

66. The Maltese Falcon (1941) - no, this is the boys-own WWII adventure, which makes Sierra Madre the western, right? Right? It hurts being unfamiliar with great films - and a trip to IMDB points out it is actually a film noir (oops...) Where Eagles Dare was the one I had in mind. At least I got one right...

67. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) - its funny that the sequal always gets the honours - it doesn't happen with many films. Even the Alien, Godfather and Star Wars franchises have the decency to praise both parts one and two. I'm not desperately excited about this.

68. Untergang, Der (2004)

69. There Will Be Blood (2007) - ugh, sounds a bit worthy for me. Plus, despite the attractive promise in the title, I can't help but recall it was also the tagline for Saw II.

70. No Country for Old Men (2007) - on the other hand, the Coens are always worth a watch, and I couldn't be more excited about this. Plus, Friend 3 got it for her birthday...

71. Raging Bull (1980) - Scorcese is one of the greats, I get it. I don't get him, though - I recognised Goodfellas was great, but didn't feel it; I did love The Departed; again, Taxi Driver bounced off without changing my life. I refused to see The Aviator and, just like my mother, Age of Innocence may still be his greatest achievement. I am still excited about Casino, and particularly Mean Streets. But Raging Bull sounds so unpleasantly downbeat. Plus, I am still confused as to the absolute godhead of de Niro. He was impressive in the end of Heat, but I'm missing the point somewhere.

72. Rashômon (1950) - I'm definitely willing to give this a spin. My contact with Seven Samuri was...completely underwhelming, in two words. I didn't even, as with Taxi Driver, recognise why it was great without feeling it on an emotional level. So I'm keen to give Kurosawa a second chance; and the multiple viewpoint device interests me.

73. Metropolis (1927)
74. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

75. Modern Times (1936) - watching Chaplin is just one of those things I'll get around to in time.

76. Rebecca (1940) - no. Nonononononono. I read this recently as part of my deluded quest to finish the "1001 books to read before you die", and adored it. Particularly Max, and particularly the central deed of the novel. Now while I'm sure Mr Master of Suspense does a great job of presenting the claustrophobia and "haunting" of a dead woman, that doesn't change the fact that someone has changed the facts within the novel. This central deed has been made accidental instead of horribly deliberate, removing one of the major things I loved. Plus, who could make Rebecca in black and white? Granted they had no other option, but when I remake it (and I hope you will buy a ticket, for all the critics will compare it unfavourably with the original) it will make full use of colour schemes. It's one of the most coloured books I have ever read...rant over.

77. Sin City (2005) - I wanted to see this when it came out for the style, and I'm still keen to. I haven't quite worked out how yet - it won't come on TV, I don't want to buy it and I can't get my parents involved - dad thought it was terrible (not enough intelligent plot), and I can guess my mum's reaction. Plus, I'm keen to get going on the graphic novel too - I'm devouring the local library's collection at a terrific rate.

78. Singin' in the Rain (1952)
79. Amadeus (1984)

80. Hotel Rwanda (2004) - you know my feelings on this I'm sure. My favourite Africa movies are Zulu and Out of Africa - buddy adventure and sweeping romantic triumph. Genocide? Oh wonderful. However good it is, you'll have a trick pursuading me to watch it.

81. Some Like It Hot (1959)

82. All About Eve (1950) - my entire knowledge of this film comes from my co-blogger Catherine, who blogged it for the Film that Changed my Life blogathon. Even though I'm always lazy with recommendations, nevertheless I intend to jump at it the first chance I get. I'm assured by her enthusiasm that it won't be a tedious classic, and that its bite will have survived into the 21st C.

83. Vita è bella, La (1997) - English class - and five people were late. 15 minutes late. When they fell in through the door (and falling is the only word to describe it) they were all clutching kleenexes, red eyed and snuffling miserably. They had been studying Holocaust movies in Drama, and this was my introduction to Life is Beautiful. Yes, I'll watch it, OK? Are you happy now?

84. The Prestige (2006)
85. The Great Escape (1963)

86. The Elephant Man (1980) - not even a film I've ever thought about. I know its good, but apart from that I neither know nor care about it.

87. City Lights (1931) - more Chaplin. I remember being recommended this film a lot in a circle from a few years back. Much like Modern Times, I'm not going to run out and go looking, but I'm willing to watch.

88. Sjunde inseglet, Det (1957)
89. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
90. Jaws (1975)
91. On the Waterfront (1954)

92. Touch of Evil (1958) - this is another one which sends me scurrying to IMDb to confirm it's the Orson Welles noir. Now I'm looking forward to this - because its noir, and I want to enjoy something Welles-y which isn't on the same pedestal as Kane.

93. The Sting (1973)

94. Once Upon a Time in America (1984) - Sergio Leone, oh yeah! Gangsters! New York! 3 hours...nah, its definitely worth it. Even though de Niro again makes me feel slightly less enthusiastic.

95. Blade Runner (1982)

96. The Apartment (1960) - um Jack Lemmon and Billy Wilder? Well, Some Like it Hot was awesome - and Billy Wilder was on Empire's top 20 directors list (two years ago it was my mission to see one by every director - I'm still missing Sam Peckinpah and Orson Welles. I've got Woody Allen completely covered now...) So just give me the oppertunity.

97. Nuovo cinema Paradiso (1988) - I know exactly what to expect from this film - which is nice. And on a day when I feel like unashamed sepia nostalga, I'll go running for it. I love the music in any case.

98. Braveheart (1995) - there's a flipside to "knowing what to expect" of a film. I know exactly what's coming from this film, and I'm already bored. Still, it'll be fun to see Patrick McGoohan stretch his hammy-evil muscles as King Ed.

99. The Great Dictator (1940) - look, more Chaplin! Gee, I hope I enjoy the first one I watch, cos otherwise I'll be stumped for the others...

100. Strangers on a Train (1951) - Friend...actually, she doesn't have a number. In any case, a good friend with excellent taste recommended this to me. I enjoyed Hitchcock's other train film (The Lady Vanishes), and I'm definitely ready for this.

OK, running out of time for Easy Rider. It's a sad state when you would rather write about film than watch film. But I can't help myself - watching classics depresses me. Catch you later.


Will said...

Hey Emily, It's been awhile since I checked in. I hope you give some of these films that you aren't really excited about a chance. I have seen them all (currently I am at 249/250). It is an experience. In general they are all good films and I know you have a definite idea of what kind of movies you like and what kind you don't. You will probably not like a few, but you will be surprised a lot more often then you think. I look forward to seeing what you think of them after you see them.

Copyright 2009 Cinecism. All rights reserved.
Free WordPress Themes Presented by EZwpthemes.
Bloggerized by Miss Dothy