It’s that time of year–giant falling disco balls, champagne corks popping, Auld Lang Syne and so forth. And that means that it’s time for fat people and smokers everywhere to start resigning themselves to changing their lifestyles via resolutions. Similarly, fans of cinema are laying out their own resolutions, including yours truly. Some have even beaten me to the punch. I’d better get busy. Here are my movie-watcher resolutions for 2012:
This is a category where I’ve started to scratch the surface, but I have a long way to go. In 2011, I made headway with directors like Billy Wilder and Preston Sturges. But there are still a ton of unwatched films starring legendary actors. There are five that instantly come to mind, and I’d like to really dive into their catalogues. Specifically, I still have a lot of unfinished business with films starring Jimmy Stewart, Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and (to a lesser degree) James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson. I’ve hit most of the highest points of classic American cinema but there’s a lot of area directly behind it that I’m still missing. I pledge to clear up this situation using the actors and actresses that I enjoy the most from the era.
Wrapping up Steven Spielberg’s Films
I have seen the overwhelming majority of Spielberg’s movies, including a few that were subpar. But there are a few notable holes. I’ve never seen The Color Purple (1985), Always (1989), the Jurassic Park sequel from 1997, or his debut–Sugarland Express (1974). I could probably clean all of that up in a span of three days, but I have 365 to get it done. And I will get it done. I may even give A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) another shot, and that’s no small feat. I loathed it the first time I saw it.
Watching more classic or non-new release films at theatres
I initially mentioned this a few weeks back, and this is really the biggest resolution of all. I’m fortunate enough to live in a city that possesses several theatres that show non-new release films on the big screen. And that’s really the way directors and producers and studios intend for movies to be seen. I’ve even recently discovered a theater about a half hour away from me that’s dedicated solely to showing classic films, and a local university has a classic film series. Between those two options and the regular run of theatres that I visit, I should be able to meet a very specific goal. I’m going to say that I’d like to see at least 15 non-new release films on the big screen in 2012, with a pie-in-the-sky hope that I can get to 25 non-new releases. I’ve even started putting together a road map for this. In January, I’ll be able to see Fight Club (1999), as well as a Hitchcock double feature of Psycho (1960) and The Trouble With Harry (1955).
Ernst Lubitsch and Otto Preminger
This is something of a corollary to the American Classics resolution. I’ve had my eye on these two very specific directors for years, and yet I’ve never really taken the plunge. There’s no reason for it. There’s no great story. I just haven’t seen much from either director. There are literally two- TWO!- movies that I’ve seen that were directed by either Lubitsch or Preminger. Technically, they were both Preminger films–Laura (1944) and Anatomy of a Murder (1959). It’s time to figure out what these guys were all about, and to figure out just what the hell exactly the “Lubitsch Touch” really is.
Attack the AFI 100 Years, 100 Laughs list
I really love comedy films. It’s my first true love. My formative movie-watching years were spent watching vehicles for SNL stars, Mel Brooks movies, and just about about any crappy comedy you could name from the 1980s. That’s why it’s surprising when, every time I peruse the American Film Institute’s 100 Years, 100 Laughs list , I discover just how much great comedy I haven’t seen. I’ve got 56 that I have seen, leaving 44 holes in my comedy essentials experience. In 2012, I resolve to fill several of those, if not all of them.
Challenge myself more
In February last year, I wrote an article about movie secrets that I keep. It was about some relatively unpopular opinions that I have about certain films, actors, and directors. It drew Film Crit HULK out into my comment section (what the hell is the A.P. style for writing that guy’s name, anyway?), and what he said really stuck with me. I mean it in all sincerity when I say that his comments changed the way I look at film. Sure enough, he took up a writing gig with Badass Digest and wrote an article expressing what he said in my comments, but in far greater detail. You can find it here. If you glean nothing else from today’s article, please follow that link. The gist of it is that you should never hate a movie, a director, or genre because it closes you off to so many opportunities to expand your knowledge of cinema. There’s a great deal of glee that can come from firing off snarky one-liners about crappy movies, and I’m as guilty of it as anyone. But I’d like to keep that to a minimum moving forward. I’d prefer to challenge myself, see a lot of the movies and directors and genres I’ve been avoiding, and educate myself a little bit. There is a tremendous world of mediocre and bad films, or films that don’t interest me, and they still manage to show one acting performance, one scene, one tracking shot, one jump cut, one editorial decision, that manages to transcend the ordinary. I want to discover a lot more of that world.
That’s it. Admittedly, that’s a lot of stuff. I’d be lying if I said I’ll successfully tackle all of those resolutions. But there are 365 days to knock it out. And it’s a much nobler goal than last year’s resolution–to eat 500 apples in 2011. For the record, I got to 312. But I digress. Happy New Year, everyone!