Right On The Verge…

02Jun10

I’m right on the verge of accomplishing something I’m proud of.

I’m just about finished going through the movies listed in Roget Ebert’s “The Great Movies.” This is the second list of great movies I’ve gone through.

In 1998, the American Film Institute (http://www.afi.com) published its list of the 100 greatest American films of all time. At the time, I was working very hard on trying to broaden my horizons – trying to get out of the rut I had fallen into. Part of that effort was watching movies I had never seen instead of the same old favorites over and over again. I checked off the films on the list that I had already seen and remembered fairly well and started watching the rest – something like 60 movies.

It took me five years, but I eventually saw every single one of those 100 films. Along the way I saw some wonderful movies that I would have avoided like the plague –  Amadeus, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Philadelphia Story, Bringing Up Baby, and Lawrence of Arabia to name a few pleasant surprises.

Some of my least favorites – just one really  – No one should ever be subjected to Birth of a Nation more than once – a three hour silent movie that lauds the KKK  – it’s a tough movie to get through.

Once I finished the AFI list, I dove into Ebert’s “The Great Movies.” His is not a list of the best movies of all time, it’s simply a list of great movies in alphabetical order. He includes his review of each. This list includes about 40 foreign films – opening up a whole new world (literally) to me. If you can’t deal with subtitles, this list isn’t for you. But, I’ve found some real gems in the foreign pictures.

Some of my favorites:
The Up series (English) – a group of 7 documentaries covering 14 people from age 7 on – the director has revisited these people every 7 years since 1964. I saw 49 Up with a dear friend, Michelle, and we had the exact same reaction “Our friends are back.” I can’t wait for 56 Up to see what all these folks have been up too. Michelle, we have a date for that screening, right?

Aguirre The Wrath of God (West German) –  about a Spanish soldier who leads a group of conquistadors down the Amazon in search of El Diorado. Supposedly the production was so difficult, that the directory actually pulled a gun on the cast and crew to get them to finish the filming.

Wings of Desire (German) – about an angel who gives up immortality for color, taste, smell and touch. Peter Falk makes a cameo. My favorite movie of all time. The sequel is fun, but not so much a sequel as a totally different kind movie with the same characters.

Woman in the Dunes (Japanese) – trapped in a sand pit – do they dig to survive or survive to dig?

The Decalogue (Polish) – ten one hour movies all set in the same apartment complex. The series looks at moral uncertainly with respect to the ten commandments. It’s not a commandment-by-commandment list…some of the films deal with more then one commandant at a time. Some of the characters overlap but none are the principals subject in more than one film. Ten hours of movies in polish – it was well worth my time.

Next up for me?

“The Great Movies II” of course.

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One Response to “Right On The Verge…”

  1. 1 michelle

    Damn Skippy, we do! I just need to put in for that night off NOW!


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