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.