At the end of 2012, I made a lot of movie-related New Year’s resolutions for 2013. Adding them all up, my goal comes out to 109 (mostly) specific films to watch this year. I’m a third of the way done. April was fruitful, and the list continues to dwindle. What kind of progress has been made this month?
Watch Martin Scorsese’s Documentaries
Although I only checked off one film from this category in April, it was a doozy, and it was perfectly timed. I’m referring to George Harrison: Living in the Material World, the Scorsese-directed documentary about “the silent Beatle.” First and foremost, the film illustrates nearly every single way in which George Harrison won at living life. And it’s extremely thorough, covering so many of the major aspects that made George Harrison who he was. Second, I’d been in a real funk. And I hadn’t listened to anything from the Beatles (or even Harrison’s solo work) in quite some time. Sometimes you need that little reminder that the Beatles are amazing and should be enjoyed frequently.
AFI’s 100 Years of Musicals
As I mentioned last month, this category has hit a wall. It may be another month or two before further progress is made.
Watch every film on the BFI Greatest Films Ballots for Edgar Wright, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Francis Coppola, Gaspar Noé, and Lukas Moodysson
Somehow, Lukas Moodysson ended up in the spotlight a bit this month, as I watched three of the films off of his list- The Mirror (1975), Das Boot (1982) and 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (2007). The star of the three for me was Tarkovsky’s The Mirror, a tremendous piece of cinema- one of the best films ever made if you’re into the whole art house thing. Tarantino’s list also decreased by one as I watched 1977’s Sorcerer, a re-make of the French The Wages of Fear. Having already seen Wages may have detracted a little from my enjoyment of Sorcerer, but it was still a perfectly Tarantinoey addition to my month.
Finish the AFI Top 100
I saw two films from this category- Sophie’s Choice (1982) and All About Eve (1950). Both were fine films. What I found fascinating about All About Eve is how much it served as a rival, or mirror image piece, for another film from that era (maybe even the same year)- Sunset Blvd. They both had such similar themes- a dying form of artifice and an aging starlet unable to deal with her loss of fame. I have a strong preference for Sunset Blvd., but that’s no knock on All About Eve, which was tremendous. The final shot with the infinite mirrors reflecting the next potential starlet is as classic as Hollywood gets. There’s a good chance I’ll officially finish this category in May.
At Least Three films Each from Pédro Almodovar, Yasujiru Ozu, Satyajit Ray, and Busby Berkeley
I’ve checked off Berkeley and I’m almost done with Almodovar. And while I didn’t make any progress in this category in April…
… and At Least Ten Non-Satyajit Ray Films from India
I finally started in on this category with Sholay (1975). It’s an almost impossible task to define what Sholay was. It managed to feature elements of Westerns, Musicals, Comedy, Action/Adventure, and it was all part of a revenge film. Oh… and also, there was a character who kind of looked like Hitler. I’m not sure if that was on purpose or not.
While that sounds like it’d be distracting or obnoxious to defy a genre classification, I liked it quite a bit. It was unlike anything else I’ve ever seen and the film has stuck with me for several days. One scene in particular blew me away. There’s a song and dance sequence at a carnival where ink pigments of jewel-toned colors fly through the air for a good five or six minutes, all while the scene goes on. It’s something else to see such a well-choreographed flurry of magenta, yellow, and cyan clouds bursting into the air and floating through the scene. I’m excited to dive deeper into this category in May.
Ten Classic or Non-New Release Films in the Theater
I didn’t make any trips to the theater for older films in April.
The AV Club 50 Best Films of the 90s
Somehow, I missed this category completely in April despite watching a lot of movies from the 90s and a lot more high quality indie films from the era. By the time I do this next month, I’ll have The Limey and Naked both checked off of the list.
At Least Five Ray Harryhausen Films
My second jaunt into the world of Ray Harryhausen came thanks to The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953). With apologies to Mr. Harryhausen, the one scene that stuck with me had nothing to do with Harryhausen’s effects. There’s a very early scene that takes place in the Arctic. One of the crew members is lost, and another crew member is out searching for him, all while a giant monster is on the loose. And the guy that’s out searching sports a winter coat that looks just like the one that Han Solo wore in the Hoth scene of Empire Strikes Back. I can’t say with any certainty that Lucas borrowed from that sequence in The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms but it sure was hard to miss.
Through a third of the year, I’m at 41 of the required 109 films. That’s 38%, just a few percentage points ahead of the pace needed.