The 2012 New Year’s Resolutions: Wrapping Up, Looking Ahead

It all started at the end of 2011, when I saw An American Werewolf in London (1981) and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) on the big screen. It ignited the idea that I should see as many classic films as possible on the big screen in 2012. To sweeten the pot, I added multiple other resolutions, and tackled them with fervor in 2012. With only two weeks left in the year, it’s time to wrap everything up, see how far I’ve come, and start looking ahead to 2013.

angel face

Mitchum in Preminger’s Angel Face was a highlight.

American Classics (including films directed by Otto Preminger and Ernst Lubitsch)
Of all the resolutions I made, this is the one where I failed the most. Or at least, I failed the most in the second half of the resolution. I squeezed in seven Preminger films and four Lubitsch films. Those aren’t bad tallies, except both directors have expansive catalogues. I barely scratched the surface. As for watching more American classics, I did reasonably well, thanks mostly to another resolution.
Grade: C- 

Wrapping up Steven Spielberg’s Films
This was one of the easier resolutions because Spielberg’s films are accessible and easy to find, and I didn’t have far to go to finish everything off. I finished this resolution off by the end of July, and then saw Lincoln in December to stay current.
Grade: A

A double dose of Eastwood made for a great night in a theater.

A double dose of Eastwood made for a great night in a theater.

Watching more classic or non-new release films at theatres
More work went into this resolution than any other simply because I had to dig to find these films showing in theaters, and then choose the ones I wanted to watch most. The goal was at least 15, with a pie-in-the sky goal of 25. The good news is that I was done by early September. I watched my 25th classic or non-new release film on the big screen around Labor Day. The bad news is that it was the last time I saw a classic film on the big screen this year. I had a chance to blow my goal out of the water, and instead settled for the bare minimum. All the same, I’m pleased with how it played out.
Grade: A-

Attack the AFI 100 Years, 100 Laughs list
I was stuck on 98 in May, and then stuck on 99 since early September… until today, when I FINALLY found a copy of The Heartbreak Kid (1972). Mission accomplished. The best part about this resolution was how much I enjoyed so many of these films, films that I wouldn’t have bothered with otherwise. And as I mentioned earlier, the overwhelming majority of American classics that I had promised to watch in the first resolution came from this list. Comedy is a lovable genre and if you want to know more about it, you’d do well to check out the 100 Laughs list.
Grade: A


This looks like the last thing I’d actually enjoy… but I did. Somehow.

Challenge myself more
There were some brief forays outside of my comfort zone, with a good 15 to 20 films I wouldn’t have dreamed of watching without this resolution. The results were hit-or-miss but I’m glad I watched what I did. Auntie Mame and Phantom of the Paradise were the champions of the resolution. To be blatantly honest, I feel like I failed on this resolution to at least some degree. 15 to 20 is a nice number but there could have been so many more.
Grade: D

Overall Grade for the Project: B+

CALL FOR RECOMMENDATIONS: And that brings me to 2013. Laying out these resolutions for 2012 was tremendously helpful because it allowed me to stay focused during parts of the year when I otherwise would have been rudderless. That means I’ll be doing it again next year. I have a few rock-solid resolutions in place but I want more than I currently have in my head. So I ask you, gentle readers, do you have any recommendations? I’m looking for lists, genres, theater goals, specific films or directors… I can’t promise anything but I’ll gladly listen to what you have to say.


Filed under Movies

13 responses to “The 2012 New Year’s Resolutions: Wrapping Up, Looking Ahead

  1. The guy who met Kevin Meany

    365 days of “Don’t Watch It, John” starting with Drive Angry starring Nicholas Cage.

    • That’s almost a dare. 30 days alone would kill me.

      I laugh every time I see Drive Angry on my OnDemand feature because I know how much you want me to see it. Soon.

  2. Hi John! Your year in films wasn’t that bad! Sometimes it’s hard to challenge ourselves because we have to be disposed to enjoy a viewing. On my side I want to discover a long list of directors I haven’t seen a film yet. I also want to watch more films from a list of 1000 Greatest Films by They Shoot Pictures Don’t They? I guess one of my recurring goal is to watch more foreign films from different countries. Those might give you a hint on your next goals.

    • The country idea is a really great one, whether I choose one specific country or multiple countries. I can’t think of a single African film that I’ve seen, and I haven’t seen all that much from South America either. Even Canada would be a good starting place.

  3. Phil

    I would grade your year with an A. You are being too hard on yourself.
    So many films, so many lists… Like Michael says, TSPDT list is excellent and endless. See if you can fill in the gaps in the new Sight and Sound lists, which the TSPDT list is mostly based on. Durango Unchained will make a bunch of people want to see more Spaghetti Westerns. But you know all of this…

    • I like that Sight and Sound idea lot, especially if you drill down to the director lists of their top 10. There were a lot of movies that my favorite directors cited that I haven’t seen.

      Funny you should say that about Django… I’ve seen a few of the Terrence Hill Django films in preparation. It’s easy to see why QT would go bananas for them. They’re right up his alley.

  4. Vladdy

    To help with Lubitsch and to go outside the box, you should try the Eclipse set of Lubitsch musicals. I’m sure it sounds horrible to you, but they are really, really entertaining in a way the vast majority of movie musicals never are. They are also from the very early sound era, so they’re educational as well. I really think you’ll be surprised by them. Anyway, you did a perfectly good job of your resolutions, better than I did, at least!

  5. Man, you reminded me that Lubitsch is one of my blind spots. I’ve only seen a handful of his movies.

    • My favorite Lubitsch by far was The Shop Around the Corner. Although I can never get the name right because I always try to say the Czech film’s name instead- The Shop on Main Street.

  6. I’d say you did a pretty damn good job with your resolutions overall. One thing I would like to do next year is work my way through the AV Club’s New Cult Canon series. I have been slowly doing that already, and while there have been a few duds, every film has been enjoyable in some regard. Maybe that’s something you could look into as well…? Or maybe there are some lists on that you might want to tackle more. I have found that website to be very useful in my movie-watching goals.

    • iCheck is so much fun. It started as an interesting toy and now I’m neurotic about it. If I watch something, I have to check it off. It’s usually the first thing I do after I finish a movie.

      The Cult Canon list is really cool. I’m going to keep an eye on it.

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