Thursday, March 01, 2007

They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?

Warning: Lots of lists

A website called They Shoot Pictures, Don't They? has consolidated "top 10 movies of all time" lists from more than 1,300 critics or filmmakers into a giant master list of 1,000 top movies. It's quite a list, though, as a consolidated list, by its very nature there aren't many surprises. Yes, the inevitable Citizen Kane is #1.

In sort of an act of bloggerly confession, film blogger Andrew Horbal (whose site has some really keen observations) took a look at this list and compiled a list of the top 50 films on the list he hadn't seen. His list goes deeper into the Top 1000 than my own (which you can see below), but it can at least give me a little satisfaction to see that I've seen a few films that a much more dedicated cineaste like Horbal has seen. Here's what's on Horbal's unseen list that I have seen, with the first number indicating its rank of Horbal's list of 50, the second its rank on the TSPDT list of a thousand, and asterisks indicating films I've seen in a theater:
  • 2/46: Intolerance (1916)
  • 3/58: The Conformist (1970)*
  • 12/94: The Decalogue (1989)*
  • 13/95: Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948)
  • 19/122: Umberto D. (1952)*
  • 20/126: Broken Blossoms (1919)
  • 25/149: L'Eclisse (1962)*
  • 28/156: Nights of Cabiria (1957)*
Here are the entries in the top 100 that I haven't seen, A.K.A. The Twenty-Three Best Movies I Haven't Seen:
  • 1/23 La Dolce Vita (1960)
  • 2/24 Children of Paradise (1945)
  • 3/26 Grand Illusion (1937)
  • 4/41 Ordet (1955)
  • 5/42 Pather Panchali (1955)
  • 6/49 Contempt (1963)
  • 7/50 Au Hasard, Balthazar (1966)
  • 8/51 The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
  • 9/60 The Mirror (1976)
  • 10/62 Fanny and Alexander (1982)
  • 11/64 Greed (1924)
  • 12/68 Earrings of Madame de... (1953)
  • 13/69 Sherlock, Jr. (1924)
  • 14/70 Pickpocket (1959)
  • 15/72 L'Age d'Or (1930)
  • 16/73 Ikiru (1952)
  • 17/75 Voyage in Italy (1953)
  • 18/81 Pierrot le fou (1965)
  • 19/85 The Leopard (1963)
  • 20/89 Sansho the Bailiff (1954)
  • 21/91 Last Year at Marienbad (1961)
  • 22/92 My Darling Clementine (1946)
  • 23/97 Amarcord (1973)
The percentage of films on the list that I've seen falls off like so:
  • 86% of #s 1-50,
  • 68% of #s 51-100,
  • 46% of #s 101-150,
  • 42% of #s 151-200,
  • 41% of #s 201-300,
  • 30% of #s 301-400,
  • 29% of #s 401-500,
  • 25% of #s 501-600,
  • 31% of #s 601-700,
  • 29% of #s 701-800,
  • 21% of #s 801-900, and
  • 27% of #s 901-1000.
That's a total of 354 of the 1,000 movies on the list that I've seen. Perusing the list brought back a ton of memories of really great films. Wow, what a wave of images. I thought about posting my own top 10, but man, thinking about so many great movies, it'd be really tough to choose.

You wanna see a really ignominious list? Here are the movies that made the list of 1,000 that I haven't seen even though I own them on DVD!
  • 111. Birth of a Nation (1915)
  • 285. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
  • 566. Dog Star Man (1964)
  • 741. Grease (1978)
  • 849. Patton (1970)
  • 877. Lessons in Darkness (1992)
So there you go.


At Thursday, March 1, 2007 at 7:16:00 PM PST, Blogger Paul C. said...

Looking at your "own but unseen" list, I can't help but remember the "one of these things is not like the other" song from Sesame Street. But then, I was never a Grease fan- in any form, really. Too many substitute teachers playing it for the class, too many theatre cohorts in high school obsessing over it- just never did much for me.

I can totally sympathize with your situation re: Dog Star Man. Hell, I'm in the same boat. Problem is that while Brakhage is endlessly re-watchable in short form, it takes some effort to really get into his work at Dog Star Man's length.

But Night of the Living Dead? What's the hold up? Lessons of Darkness is also great.

At Thursday, March 1, 2007 at 8:42:00 PM PST, Blogger Adam Villani said...

"Grease" is kind of a ringer there, since it's actually my wife's DVD. But it's in the same stacks with my DVDs, so I guess I own it, too.

At Friday, March 2, 2007 at 6:59:00 AM PST, Anonymous Matthew B. said...

I love these kinds of lists. I've made an effort to see anything on the Sight and Sound or BFI lists, so it turns out I've seen 98 out of the TSPDT top 100. (Missing out on AU HASARD BALTHAZAR and THE LEOPARD. I actually have THE LEOPARD on DVD, too, but I'm terrible for buying movies and never watching them. I've actually started watching them at work on my lunch breaks to catch up on my backlog.)

From Horbal's list of 50 I've seen all but four, all ridiculously long and hard to find on video (NAPOLEON, SHOAH, JEANNE DIELMAN, BERLIN ALEXANDERPLATZ). I'll have to spend more time delving into the full list of 1000; I wish the TSPDT people would be a little more explicit about their methodology.

At Friday, March 2, 2007 at 9:31:00 AM PST, Anonymous clynne said...

Adams, how can you *own* NOTLD and not have seen it? It's one of the best goddamn movies ever (as is the fourth movie in the series). I've seen it probably ten times.

The awesome thing about the Romero sequence (there are some unauthorized spinoffs, and Rubenstein's solo remakes suck ass) is that while nominally about gore/horror, they're really about people, and how they react under stress. Even better, while they can all be watched as standalones, when you watch them in series you see there's a subtle, but completely realistic and believable, evolution of both the disease *and* the way the survivors relate to it. It's almost as if each movie were a Kubler-Ross stage.

And that's not to mention the small but well-placed dry humor of the series (another thing Rubenstein totally missed in his remake, the fucker).

At Friday, March 2, 2007 at 10:50:00 AM PST, Blogger Adam Villani said...

Well, I did say it was an ignominious list. I think what happened is that I kinda forgot I had it because it's on a compilation disc. But yeah, I should really watch it. I saw the first five minutes or so once and it looked pretty cool, and yeah, it's got a very good reputation.

At Friday, March 2, 2007 at 3:25:00 PM PST, Anonymous clynne said...

I'd offer to come over and watch it with you, or to have you come over here and watch it, but I'd probably annoy you because I'd keep stopping the film to point out various awesome details.

At Friday, March 2, 2007 at 6:38:00 PM PST, Blogger Ryan said...

DOG STAR MAN rules. See it.

At Friday, March 2, 2007 at 6:42:00 PM PST, Blogger Ryan said...

Oh, and I'm tied with Matthew. 2 of the top 100 missed so far: for me, INTOLERANCE and L'AGE D'OR.

No excuse on BALTHAZAR and THE LEOPARD, both of which are Criterion DVDs.


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