Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): #WatchlistScreenCaps

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

#WatchlistScreenCaps


For one year, I kept track of everything viewed digitally by tweeting/blogging a screen-captured image accompanied by a caption. Here are all the movies I watched in the past year.

With #WatchlistScreenCaps now concluded, it makes sense to round up all the pages in one convenient post. During the past year, I updated my viewing diary with the latest entries appearing at the top. Meanwhile I maintained a chronologically-organized page and several category-pages (feature, documentary, animation, short, music video, miniseries, online videos, Criterion DVDs, and Grail themes). I didn't want to draw attention to these pages until the whole endeavor finished.

So now you can browse eye-catching images from 747 films, laid out from the earliest silent days to the present. While my viewing tended in certain directions, there's still enough breadth and diversity here to offer something for everyone. If you're more interested in specific categories, just skip the big page and visit the relevant subpage. I enjoyed organizing these (for the most part), and I hope you enjoy looking at them.

Finally, one of my initial ideas - which quickly fell by the wayside - was for people to guess films based on the picture I tweeted, hopefully spurring a discussion (which did occasionally emerge). It isn't too late to chime in on any of these movies. Ultimately, I hope an enticing image from something you haven't yet seen will encourage your own cinematic journeys.


Images from all 747 films I watched over twelve months - including music videos, complete series, and stand-alone YouTube clips - are included above. Large images are from features, smaller images from shorts. The journey begins with Lumiere and ends (or continues?) with Vimeo, interspersing black-and-white features with colorful cartoons, genre-based narratives with esoteric experiments, and political documentaries with family entertainment. To my eyes, this the most interesting way to review my year of viewing, but if you prefer a more specific approach...

Feature Films (Fiction)
When most people hear "movies" they immediately think fictional narrative features, shot with actors and running about 2 hours. Most of the titles here fit that bill (although there are some experimental films and animated features interspersed throughout). I included 215 films, spanning all continents and genres, from 1916 to 2013.


Animation
In 2013 I finally tackled cartoon compilation DVDs collected years ago, resulting in 268 screen-caps, spanning from 1908 to 2013. Most are from the golden age of studio cartoons (late 20s - mid 50s) but I've also included wild avant-garde twists and turns. Styles range from cel animation to stop-motion to CGI and features are interspersed with (mostly) shorts. This page features some of my favorite images.

Documentaries
Much as I favor nonfiction reading, I'm often more excited to watch a movie for informative purposes - to find out something new,  explore a new corner of the world, or revisit a favorite subject. I viewed 73 documentaries on many different topics. Shorts and features intermingle freely.


Live-Action Shorts
In 2013 I participated in a weekly poll, nominating short films for the ballot. Unsurprisingly, there were many shorts I had to check out for the first time, particularly from the late seventies to the present - most of these titles were part of that adventure. Images from 90 short films are divided into narrative, documentary, and experimental subcategories. See here for a list of personal favorites.

Music Videos
Often overlooked in cinematic overviews, music videos played a major role in influencing/reflecting film styles and often did a better job than features when it came to echoing (or shaping) the zeitgeist. I went on a video binge near the end of my viewing year, following some recent lists to watch numerous classics. Here are 113 music videos, including a few proto-videos from the pre-rock era.

Miniseries
I don't watch much TV. However, I decided to undertake an exploration of several classic miniseries last year, as well as rewatching a few documentary favorites and checking out one extended web series (and its shorter follow-up). (I also screen-capped a few stray TV episodes for my viewing marathons, but they aren't included here.) All told, I completed 14 series.

Online Videos
This category, seemingly the most trivial, actually had the most purpose behind it. While brainstorming a screenplay about a web-based filmmaker I explored all the viral video memes I'd seen or (mostly) missed since the mid-00s. While much of YouTube is fleeting and fragmentary, I believe the cinema's future will grow from these seeds. After all, in 1904 no one thought novelty one-reelers would lead anywhere...

Grail & Arthur Themes
That same screenplay idea involved the Grail legend too. All spring I researched Grail sources on both page and screen (see here for most of my literary explorations), ranging from operas to kids' cartoons, psychological dramas to televised documentaries. And these are just the 13 films explicitly related to Arthurian myths: subtle Grail themes undoubtedly popped up elsewhere on my watchlist as well.

Criterion Collection
Some of the sharpest, more arresting images I captured came from Criterion DVDs, so I have lined up all 44 selections by spine number. Nothing streamed or viewed in non-DVD formats has been included although I watched several Criterion titles on Hulu too.




Finally, if these images aren't enough, you can scroll through 500 leftovers - screen-caps I took but dropped in favor of others (often they're just as worthy). You can also skim the original posts, including extra pictures at the tops and bottoms of each. Thanks for following along or catching up - I hope it was worthwhile.

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