OK, there's a meme going around ... and I'm a loner and a rebel, no one ever tags me, so I have to just do the suckers on my own ... this meme varies, but essentially it's "twelve movies you haven't seen that you should have seen and are embarrassed to admit you have missed." I had no idea how to approach this, so I decided to go to the invaluable web site They Shoot Pictures, Don't They? Among other things, this site is the home of the 1000 Greatest Films list ("as voted by 1,604 critics, filmmakers, reviewers, scholars and other likely film types"). I opted for taking their list, starting at the top, and working my way down until I had 12 movies I hadn't seen. So here goes, with the TSPDT ranking:
9) Tokyo Story. I'm really lacking in my Ozu watching, as in, I'm not sure I've ever seen one of his movies. OK, I suck, but that's kinda the point of this list, isn't it?
10) Sunrise. If it wasn't for Nosferatu, I'd draw a Murnau blank, as well.
14) L'Atalante. Vigo didn't make it to his 30th birthday, and so only directed a few films, of which I've seen one. Which doesn't sound as bad as missing out on Ozu.
25) Children of Paradise. I wonder why I refer to some foreign movies by their original titles, and others by their English version? I actually started watching this once and got distracted, which is a commentary on me, not the movie.
32) Persona. I've seen a lot of Bergman movies. I love Performance, which was accused of being a Persona rip-off. So why have I never seen Persona?
37) Ordet. I've always found Dreyer to be a "good for you" director rather than one I looked forward to, which may be why I missed this. Because of Jeanne d'Arc, I forgive him everything.
45) Contempt. I'm a big fan of Godard's first decade or so, but this never sounded interesting to me. I didn't see Alphaville, either.
48) Andrei Rublev. When I was a film major back in the early/mid-70s, I got a hardcore traditionalist education in the classics. I often describe that period by noting that at one point, we watched six weeks of silent Russian movies (Ukrainian is probably more accurate). I've mostly avoided Russian cinema ever since, like a fan of ice cream who ate one too many sundaes.
54) La Strada. I'm not a big fan of Fellini.
57) Pather Panchali. For my experience with Ray, see Ozu or Murnau above. I'm embarrassed at how few I've seen.
60) Au hasard Balthazar. See Ray, Ozu, Murnau, add Bresson to the list.
63) The Mirror. See #48.
I suppose I could pat myself on the back for having seen 51 of the top 63 movies of all time (actually 57 of 69 if I keep moving down the list). But I feel I should do better. And there's the most obvious thing about the above list: there isn't an American film on it. So, to finish, here are the 12 best American movies I haven't seen:
Letter from an Unknown Woman, Sherlock Jr., To Be or Not to Be, A Woman Under the Influence, The Crowd, Once Upon a Time in America, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Schindler's List, A Star Is Born, Meshes of the Afternoon, The Kid, The Wind.
Feel free to make fun of me in the comments ... why else would I post this? But here's a rule if you like to follow them: for every one of the above movies that inspires your derision, you must list one of your own. And if you want to consider this a case of me tagging you, go play with this meme on your blog, as well!