Sunday, March 31, 2013

It Begins

Okay! I'm getting started before I waste any more time.

My list of films for the week starting Tuesday is posted below. The 113-year list as a whole is NOT FINISHED. But I figure it doesn't matter. Or rather, it does matter: "pick any movie I definitely should see" is a harder question to answer than more specific ones like "I need better films from the next 4-7 years I'm about to watch, given what you know I've watched so far." So, please answer any of these questions now. But I will start watching films to make the need for more specific answers both more acute and easier to come by.

So, here's the list of films. None are longer than a few minutes, and most can be watched on youtube or downloaded from The Internet Archive (freely and legally)
Tuesday Apr 2 - 1900 - Sherlock Holmes Baffled and The Enchanted Drawing
Wednesday - 1901 The Man with the Rubber Head and President McKinley Inauguration Footage
Thursday - 1902 A Trip to the Moon
Friday - 1903 The great train robbery
Saturday - 1904The Impossible Voyage
Sunday - 1905 The Misadventure of a French Gentleman without pants at the Zandzvoort Beach

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The List So Far

Okay, I've filled in at least one film for each year from 1900 - 2010. The list is below. My most earnest hope is that you find it appalling that some film is missing from this list, and will contact me to right the problem as soon as possible.

Also, I've decided that I can watch AT MOST two films per year. I didn't want to decide between Nanook of the North and Nosferatu, so when some kind of voting starts, you'll get two votes.

On Steve's suggestion this list may turn into a letterboxd list in around 1922. Letterboxd looks like a pretty sweet way to keep track of what one is watching, and what one thinks of what one is watching. I'd start with letterboxd right away, but for some reason its film list doesn't include "The Misadventure of a French Gentleman Without Pants at the Zandvoort Beach."

.
YearFilm
.
1900Sherlock Holmes BaffledThe Enchanted Drawing
.
1901The man with the rubber headPresident McKinley Inauguration footage
.
1902A trip to the moon
.
1903The Great Train Robbery
.
1904The Impossible Voyage
.
1905The Misadventure of a French Gentleman Without Pants at the Zandvoort Beach
.
1906The Story of the Kelly Gang
.
1907Laughing Gas
.
1908fantasmagorie
.
1909Princess Nicotine; or, The Smoke Fairy
.
1910Thomas Edison Frankenstein
.
1911Little Nemo
.
1912Cardinal Wolsey
.
1913Suspense
.
1914The Merchant of Venice
.
1915Birth of a Nation
.
191620,000 leagues under the seaIntoleranceWhere are My Children?
.
1917The Poor Little Rich GirlA reckless romeo
.
1918The Outlaw and his Wife
.
1919j'accuse!
.
1920Algol
.
1921The Blot
.
1922NosferatuNanook of the North
.
1923The Toll of the Sea
.
1924Greed
.
1925Battleship Potemkin
.
1926Mother A Page of Madness
.
1927The Jazz SingerMetropolis
.
1928October (Ten Days that Shook the World)
.
1929Gold Diggers of Broadway
.
1930All Quiet on the Western Front
.
1931Frankenstein
.
1932Shanghai Express
.
193342nd streetfootlight parade
.
1934IT Happened One Night
.
1935Top HatTriumph of the Will
.
1936Modern Times
.
1937The Life of Emile Zola
.
1938Jezebel
.
1939Dark Victory
.
1940The Great Dictator
.
1941Citizen Kane
.
1942Battle of Midway
.
1943The Ox-Bow Incident
.
1944arsenic and old lace
.
1945Mildred PierceRome, Open CitySpellbound
.
1946The Best Years of Our LivesSong of the South
.
1947Gentleman's AgreementDark Passage
.
1948The Red ShoesThe Treasure of the Sierra Madre
.
1949All The King's MenSands of Iwo Jima
.
1950all about eve
.
1951The Thing From Another World
.
1952the quiet man
.
1953ShaneThe Big Heat
.
1954On the WaterfrontLa Strada
.
1955Kiss me DeadlyRififiEast of Eden
.
1956The Killing
.
1957Paths of Glorynights of cabiria
.
1958Cat on a hot tin roofThe blob
.
1959The 400 BlowsHiroshima Mon Amour
.
1960Spartacusl'avventura
.
1961ViridianaLast year at Marienbad
.
1962Lawrence of ArabiaTo kill a mockingbirdThe Exterminating Angel
.
1963Jason and the argonautsThe Leopard
.
1964I am Cuba
.
1965The Ipcress FileCat Ballou
.
1966Blow Up
.
1967Belle de jourle samourai
.
1968Once upon a time in the westThe Odd CoupleThe Lion in Winter
.
1969KesZ
.
1970The Wild ChildGimme Shelter
.
1971The Last Picture ShowDirty HarryTHX 1138
.
1972CabaretWinter Soldier
.
1973SleeperDay for Night
.
1974Texas Chainsaw Massacre
.
1975Barry LyndonDeep Red
.
1976In the Realm of the Senses
.
1977Killer of SheepOpening nightSuspiria
.
1978The Deer HunterMartin
.
1979All That JazzManhattanBeing ThereThe Jerk
.
1980Raging Bull9 to 5
.
1981Das Boot
.
1982Fanny and Alexander
.
1983Paris, TexasThe King of Comedy
.
1984Repo Man
.
1985My life as a dog
.
1986Mala NocheLittle Shop of Horrors
.
1987The Last Emperor
.
1988They LiveSpoorloos (The Vanishing)
.
1989Driving Miss DaisyRoger and Me
.
1990The GriftersReversal of Fortune
.
1991HookNaked Lunch
.
1992belle epoqueThe PLayer
.
1993The PianoFarewell My Concubine
.
1994Serial MomThe Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
.
1995Dead ManThe City of Lost Children
.
1996Secrets and Lies
.
1997Taste of CherryPrincess MononokeFunny Games
.
1998The CelebrationThe Thin Red Line
.
1999All About My Mother
.
2000George Washington
.
2001EllingLife and Debt
.
2002The Pianist
.
2003The Barbarian Invasions
.
2004The Aviator
.
2005TsotsiThe Constant Gardner
.
2006the last king of scotlandThe lives of othersTen Canoes
.
2007Funny GamesThe Diving Bell and the Butterfly
.
2008man on wire
.
2009coraline
.
2010trollhunter
.
2011
.
2012
.
2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

Let's fatten the list

I'm working on adding films to the list, but I'm doing it more through RottenTomatoes ranking / personal whim than through any understanding of what films are pivotal or unmissable. So please, add films to any year you'd like. If the year has fewer than 10 films listed, that means I've probably missed something important, and you should tell me so by adding your films to the list.

This means that there will be a winnowing process that anyone who cares to should take part in. My current plan is to pick the film that the fewest people have seen. As a tie-breaker, we can choose the film that the most people actually want to see. (Or rather, want to force -me- to see.)

Another note on my selections: There are some artists whose films I definitely want to include. Bob Fosse, Busby Berkeley, Antonioni, Truffaut, Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffiths, Kiarostami... and you pick your own. But until I know the makeup of the list, I can't choose which of these artists' films to include. So, Cabaret and All That Jazz are both on the list, for example, but I only expect to include at most one of them in the final list.

In other words, something like half of the films that I select are ones that I don't expect to watch at all. Let this be a sign of encouragement: You can basically ignore my selections when you're adding your own. Because that's what I do.

And finally, if you have no idea what the hell list I'm talking about, send me an email and I will show it to you.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A longer post about why I'm doing this

I started the ChronoOrder project for about three reasons:

First, I had some films I wanted to watch but kept putting off - in particular, Un Chien Andalou (b/c Dali made a film!?!?!) The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (b/c Portlandia) and that 1954 movie where Charlton Heston plays Indiana Jones (b/c obviously. HT: Cracked). Watching the films in order meant that when the year came, I'd -have- to watch those movies.

Second, When Warner Brothers turned 75, the Princess Cinema in Waterloo showed a week of their best films, one decade per day, and I loved it. I loved it so hard. It added a new type of context to the films, and it made some film tropes that are commonplace now seem brand new. This is why I chose chronological order rather than, say, alphabetical order, or by-director, or the like.

And third, I had spent the last three weeks almost never leaving my house, spending all of my time watching TV or movies. This was obviously a problem. So I set a limit: I got to watch a film first thing in the morning, but then I couldn't watch anything more until I left the house to do something else.

The project worked. I saw great films, and I rejoined society. The selection of films was haphazard, mostly based on what I had around at the time, with large gaps between years and as many as 4 or 5 films in some years. But still, I enjoyed it, and I had made it from Un Chien Andalou in 1920 all the way to 1959. Then, while I was in the middle of watching The 400 Blows, my motherboard disintegrated.

So I thought, well, maybe I should do this for real. And tell other people about it so they can join in. And plan the films more carefully. And here we are.

All this means that you shouldn't feel like you have to participate. I don't want anyone to do any homework. I'll get something out of this project even if I'm the only one involved. But if you do get involved, you will surely double the radness.

-Phil

The List Begins

I've created a google doc where we can build the list of films for the ChronoOrder project. If you'd like to get in on it, contact me and I'll invite you to edit it.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Phil's life in Moving Pictures

Hello whoever still reads this. I'm going to repurpose this blog for a while, and I hope you'll join me in the new project.

The project is for me to watch a film a day in chronological order. Believe it or not, I started this as a way to _increase_ my productivity. Mental Health problems sometimes have wacky workarounds.

The project has two phases:

1) create a list of films, one per release year, from the beginning of film until the present day. There are two criteria for inclusion: First, (you and) I haven't seen the film yet. Second, since it's only one film per year, it should probably be one worth watching. The goodness of the film is ABSOLUTELY NOT a criterion. But if it's bad, it should be spectacularly so-bad-it's-the-best-film-choice-of-the-year bad.

2) Each week, I post the list of films selected for the upcoming week. After I watch them, I'll post a brief comment about them here. I'll also tweet snide remarks with the hashtag #chronoorder, probably.

If you want to take part, that's awesome. If you -can- take part, that's awesome too. Here's how you can:

Phase 1: Help me build the list of films. Suggest any film you haven't seen but wish you had, or think you should. Or films you've seen but think I should definitely see.

Phase 2: Watch any films that your whims and circumstances recommend. If you want to watch a film with me (in Edmonton), let me know a day in advance and I'll come to you. If you want to discuss the film, we can have a slow-mo discussion in the comments here.

I do discourage anyone without my particular circumstances from watching -all- of the films. That would be pathological. But so am I. In fact, feel free to watch -none- of the films, and just watch vicariously through me.

Feel free to contact me about this using any medium through which we are connected - twitter, facebook, comments here, text messages, seeing me around, etc. I will start building the list soon.

Let's do this!