don't forget starbuck, the teeny weeny beauty queenie
friday random ten, 1965 edition

no, i haven't seen these

Last Sunday, Mick LaSalle wrote a piece about watching five classic movies he had never seen. This article has caused a ripple of sorts (meaning, I have no idea how big a ripple, but at least two bloggers have responded), not necessarily because of the movies he'd missed until finally catching up to them (they were To Kill a Mockingbird, Young Frankenstein, An Affair to Remember, Blade Runner, and 2001: A Space Odyssey), but because he admitted to not seeing five classic movies. All film critics are supposed to pretend they've seen 'em all. I'm reminded of my orals exams in grad school, which were apparently designed to give me practice in bullshitting my way past students who asked me about books I hadn't read.

I figured I should fess up to five classics I haven't seen, too. I can't promise that I'll follow LaSalle's lead and actually watch these, but I will try. The question is, how to pick the five? I decided to start with the website They Shoot Pictures, Don't They? This site has an ongoing list ranking the top 1000 films of all time. The five highest-ranking films I haven't seen are Tokyo Story, Sunrise, L'Atalante, Children of Paradise, and Persona. A very arty list! Perhaps I should also include something a little more recent. TSPDT also has a list of most acclaimed films of the 21st century. The highest-ranking ones there I haven't seen? A History of Violence, Punch-Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men, and Zodiac.

Hmmm ... maybe I need a more populist approach. Here are the highest-ranking movies I haven't seen from the IMDB Users: Schindler's List, There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men, The Lives of Others, Pan's Labyrinth.

Now, before you make fun of me for outing myself in this way, admitting I haven't seen these "classics," I'll ask how many of you have ever seen The Wire?

So ... There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men are on two of the lists. I suppose I should watch those. Children of Paradise is at the top of my Netflix queue, so that's a third. For the other two? I don't know ... anyone want to vote, do it in comments. And tell me a few classic movies YOU have never seen.



I loved Pan's Labyrinth a lot and still do, so I would recommend it. Punch Drunk Love is also a favourite of mine, though I always get the feeling that it's a fairly divisive movie of the love or hate it variety, but I could be wrong. I liked No Country for Old Men, saw the craftsmanship and the skill in acting and film making, but it didn't really stir anything up inside of me like Pan's Labyrinth and PDL.

As for classic movies I haven't seen...looking at the lists it would be much, MUCH easier to list the ones I HAVE seen.

From the top 20 of TSPDT: Parts of Citizen Kane, parts of 2001: A Space Odyssey, parts of The Godfather, parts of Rashoman.

From the top 20 of TSPDT 21st Century: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Sideways, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Punch Drunk Love and the two LotR movies.

From IMDB top 20: Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas, and the LotR movies.


My problem with Punch-Drunk Love is that it has Adam Sandler. I think I've only seen two of his movies ... the first one I saw put me off seeing him again for eleven years.

It's hardly fair, given the point of this little exercise is to allow us the room to confess to missed classics, but, as I say every time someone admits it: YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE GODFATHER 1/2?

But they are my favorite movie of all time, so I get a little crazy :-).


The Lives of Others remains one of the best films Karen and I watched last year. (And no, I haven't seen The Wire but I have seen The Godfather 1/2) :)


A second for Pan's Labyrinth (my students will watch it next week), and Sunrise is a pretty wonderful movie. I remember liking L'Atalante, but it was too long ago to recommend it with any confidence (Zero de conduit is pretty great, though--the "If"/"Warriors" of its era). I also liked A History of Violence and Zodiac. Fooey on Bergman. Ozu has not aged well, except with David Bordwell and Paul Schrader.


Just looked at that They Shoot Pictures, Don't They list, and it's the same old tired Eurocentric fossilized litany, isn't it? Plus a few pre-approved Hollywood and Japanese auteurs. It would seem that they haven't revised this thing since about 1985; it certainly doesn't represent a world any of us can pretend to live in anymore.


My vote's for Pan's Labyrinth followed closely by The Lives of Others. I'm pretty sure that I've seen all of the Godfather I/II by now. Most of it in order. Does it count that I read the book first?


I started to watch The Lives of Others today. Something was v.annoying right from the start ... half or more of the German dialogue was lacking subtitles, so I had little idea what anyone was saying. I stopped for a bit and checked online ... apparently the Starz HD version is indeed sparing with the titles. I figured I'd wait until I could see it under more optimal conditions. So we watched Little Caesar instead.

No, the book doesn't count.

Bobby P.

Of the titles you list above, I'd definitely suggest putting "Pan's Labyrinth" and "The Lives of Others" at the top of your Netflix queue and going out to see "There Will Be Blood."

Some generally accepted classics that I sheepishly haven't seen would include "The Searchers," "Double Indemnity," "Dr. Strangelove," "Lawrence of Arabia," etc. etc. Embarrassing!

And, oh, I watch "The Wire."



Looking at your blog, it would seem we have a lot in common: soccer, Bruce, The Wire, and a list of recommended blogs that include Tim Goodman, Alan Sepinwall, and the Undercover Black Man. So I apologize if we already know each other and I'm just having a brain fart ... do we know each other? (Speaking of nice goals today, the only match I ended up watching was Bremen-Dortmund ... Markus Rosenberg got off two lovely ones, even if he was offside for the first.)

Of the movies you haven't seen, I'd watch Lawrence of Arabia last.


Of the 5 movies you haven't seen, I have seen: Schindler's List, There Will Be Blood, and Pan's Labyrinth. You haven't seen Schindler's List, really? Who cares about the other movies when Schindler's List is in your list.

And Godfather book doesn't count? I know the movies are classics, but will you still love me if I admit to liking the book better? I have rewatched the movies though and I haven't reread the book, so maybe I didn't like it better.

A quick scan of IMDB Top 250(, only looking at the top 50, here are my top 5 that jumped out at me that I haven't seen: North by Northwest, Lawrence of Arabia, Se7en, Apocalypse Now, and No Country for Old Men. Even though I haven't seen it, Se7en probably doesn't fall under classics.

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