The New Year’s Resolutions: Update #7


It’s that time again- time to keep myself honest with the various movie-related resolutions I set for myself back in January. One resolution has been completed, and another should be all finished in a matter of weeks. But there are many other resolutions that could use some work.

A fine film, but a piss-poor showing as the only American classic on my list

American Classics (including films directed by Otto Preminger and Ernst Lubitsch)
I have completely failed on the Preminger/Lubitsch promise. The last time I saw a film from either was March or April. I should probably get moving on this one soon because once September hits, I guarantee I’ll feel the call of horror films in preparation for Halloween.

As for American classics, the best I could conjure in the last month was The Long Goodbye (1973), which really doesn’t count as a “classic” in the normally accepted definition of the term. There was a British horror classic- The Village of the Damned (1960), which I’d somehow never seen. And there were a ton of French classics. But no American classics.

Wrapping up Steven Spielberg’s Films
This resolution is now complete.

Watching more classic or non-new release films at theatres
After faltering so much in that first category, it’s a good thing I made a ton of headway in the Big Screen Project. In fact, it was my most prolific month of the year, as I knocked out a whopping eight films in July on the big screen, most as part of the Cinema St. Louis Classic French Film Festival. That brings my grand total for the year up to 23, just two shy of my goal for the year.

Celine and Julie Go Boating was awesome with a capital A.

The complete list in July includes MASH (1970); Children of Paradise (1945); The Italian Straw Hat (1928); Ghostbusters (1984); A Trip to the Moon (1902); Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974); L’Atlante (1934); and Zero for Conduct (1933). Additionally, there was a series of shorts from Georges Méliès the same night as A Trip to the Moon. I’m counting that night as one film. I’d say that particular night was the second best theater experience I’ve ever had, just a tick below The Godfather earlier this year. All of those films that I saw were special in their own way and I had a blast each time. I have to once again praise the Rats and People Motion Picture Orchestra for adding greatly to the Méliès shorts, and The Poor People of Paris for The Italian Straw Hat. Each punctuated their respective evenings with a flawless live accompaniment to the silent films.

Attack the AFI 100 Years, 100 Laughs list
I’m still stuck at 98 of 100 films, waiting on  The Heartbreak Kid and To Be or Not To Be.

Challenge myself more
There were really only two films that were mildly challenging this month. I finally tackled Alien: Resurrection (1997), despite hearing a lot of mixed reviews about it. I thought it was pretty awful. The other film that was even mildly challenging was Demonlover (2002). I chose that one because it made the Times’ 100 Best French Films list. And that was the film that made me stop actively trying to check movies off of that list. It was horrible, and was barely even French, featuring several segments in Japanese and English. I’ve been very disappointed with that list. Time and again, they placed mediocre or downright bad movies in their top 100.

Basically, like June, my month of July was dominated by French film. While it was a blast, I’m ready to take a breather from it all. Now that the smoke has cleared, I can claim 31 French films in the last two months (plus all of the Méliès shorts). It’s slightly less than I thought I might have but that’s still an absurd total.

Up next in August- possibly Jaws and Ferris Bueller on the big screen.


Filed under Movies

14 responses to “The New Year’s Resolutions: Update #7

  1. I guess, technically, The Long Gooodbye isn’t a classic, but it’s one of my five favorite Altman movies, which for me, makes it one of the best movies of all time. Of course, I love all things Altman.

    • MASH has inspired me to either revisit a lot of Altman, or see a lot of Altman for the first time. I’m not sure I’ve seen anything from his last 10-15 years making movies.

  2. So glad you saw Celine and Julie Go Boating. In a theatre must’ve been even more awesome than on dumb old DVD. I think I prefer La Belle Noiseuse to Celine and Julie, but both are great Jacques Rivette movies. Celine and Julie is certainly one of the most fun movies I’ve ever watched. Here’s a fun factoid: did you know that the French title “Celine et Julie vont en bateau,” literally translates to the English title we know and love, but “vont en bateau” is actually based on a French proverb meaning “to go crazy.” Celine and Julie Go Crazy… much more accurate title, doncha think?

    • Yep- the pre-film discussion went into the naming convention a little bit.

      Celine and Julie was amazing. The symmetry in that movie is tremendous. I found myself trying to pace out the movie, track it along with the plot based on all the boomerang moments from earlier in the film. And the similarities to Daisies makes it great fun- sort of a playful surrealist twist on feminism. Rivette even cited Daisies as an influence.

  3. Wow! Jaws and my childhood/teen favorite Ferris Bueller at the theaters!!!
    The Times’ lists are so disappointing that they felt the need to include too much popular films and less films of great quality…

    • That’s a great observation, Michael. They dumped the important stuff in the interest of naming a few movies that might be familiar to readers. And that basically makes the list useless.

  4. Phil

    Interesting comment about Demonlover. It pops up in a couple of lists I follow and have been curious about it. I know it is in Scott Tobias’ New Cult Canon which is a great list, but not necessarily great movies.

    • I would imagine that it earns points for dealing with freaky kinks (it features a company that makes snuff films), and for the message about globalization that became so popular throughout the 2000-2010 decade. But I found the execution so clumsy that it lost me pretty quick. As much as anything, I was really annoyed that I had gotten it under the preconception that it would be a French film, when a huge part of it is in English and Japanese, featuring American and Japanese actors.

  5. Seeing A Trip to the Moon and the other shorts on the big screen must’ve been awesome. I’ve been meaning to check some of Melies’ work out.

    Also I just passed the Liebster blog award on to you. If you want to continue it you can check it out here:

    • Thanks! Dan over at Public Transporation Snob did the same, so now I owe everyone some answers. I’ll have them up soon enough.

      The Melies thing was tremendous. A lot of those shorts can be found on youtube. It’s not a perfect viewing experience but it’s worth it all the same.

  6. I hope thats the 1972 Heartbreak Kid and not the Farrelly brothers remake. I recently realized that Seattle has some great theater that runs older movies (its playing The Wild Bunch and Woody Allen in the 1970’s later this year) so I am trying to go to more of those. It seems like your really close to achieving many of your resolutions. Just curious are all your new years resolutions film related?

    • You’re correct- it’s the 1972 version.

      The Wild Bunch would be spectacular on a theater screen. The oddly bright red blood, the violence, the nudity… I can only imagine how fun Peckinpah would be on a theater screen.

      You know… I didn’t really plan it that way, but as it turns out, my resolutions are all indeed movie-related. It started last October when I saw An American Werewolf in London on the big screen and decided that most movies were meant to be seen in that format. So when January rolled around, I gave myself a goal, and jotted down a few other movie-related things that I knew I’d been meaning to do.

  7. Demonlover isn’t that great, but what I love about Assayas is that his films almost always have multiple languages and locations. I have a bit of a fetish for that.

    • Ah… I have to confess, I’m the opposite. I don’t necessarily mind a lot of locations but I’m generally not a fan of the multiple language film, at least not in the 2000-2010 context.

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