Sometime around the beginning of last year, I decided to keep track of the movies I watched throughout the year. I probably missed a few in the those first months of the year, but I went back and added what I saw in my film history class starting in January. As the year rolls over, I thought it would be fun to look back over what I’ve seen this past year.
By my count, I watched 129 films for the first time this year, along with 23 re-watches of others for a total of 152 movies. If we average about 2 hours a movie, that’s 304 hours of my life that went to movie watching this year…probably best not to think of it that way.
Twenty-two of those films were new releases, a few were from the last decade, but the rest fall in the pre-1980s category, with most dating pre-1960s. From my estimation looking at the list, I went on spurts of watching Preston Sturges and all the 1930s Warner Brothers musicals that had Dick Powell in them I could get my hands on. In fact, I might have watched just as many Dick Powell musicals and noirs as Jimmy Stewart films this year…
Because of the film history class, I got a pretty broad sweep of international cinema as well. While some of those films weren’t really to my liking, Antonioni’s L’avventura, Fassbinder’s Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, Ozu’s Tokyo Story and De Sica’s Umberto D. were standouts for me in being landmark films that I hadn’t seen before. But it was François Truffaut’s beautiful film The 400 Blows that really captured my love and attention, and peaked my interest in the career of the French master director. I added viewings of Day for Night, Jules and Jim, Shoot the Piano Player, Stolen Kisses, and Antoine and Colette this year, and hope to continue exploring Truffaut’s work in the coming year.
Out of the new releases I went out to see, the two that stood out most to me were The Artist and The Tree of Life. The Artist is a delightful film that harkens back to a simpler time of filmmaking, while Terrence Malick’s stunning portrait of the beginning of time and 1950s suburban life was probably the most beautiful film I’ve ever seen. It is one of those films that I couldn’t really describe to anyone who asks, but I definately had an experience watching it that I haven’t really ever had watching a movie. It showed to me what the art form can be taken to beyond regular narrative or visual constructs.
As far as the Jimmy Stewart Project goes, I added 14 films to the total. Most of these were early period Stewart, small supporting roles he played while under contract at MGM. A handful covered the 8-film collaboration Stewart had with director Anthony Mann. There are five fantastic westerns and three other films, two being pairings with June Allyson. I believe I am only missing Thunder Bay from the eight at this point. As I am now over 50 total films viewed in Stewart’s filmography, I figure 2012 will bring about the conclusion of this project, as long as major issues with securing out-of-print titles do not arise.
I think the thing that stands out the most this year though is how much fun it has been to build this blog, and start to connect with other classic film fans. I loved participating in the Great Kane Debate that was hosted by True Classics, reading lots of fantastic blog entries all year and tweeting with these wonderful bloggers. I hope in the future I might have the chance to meet some of you in person.
So in movie speak, I say that’s a wrap for 2011. Happy New Year to everyone, and best wishes for the coming year!