Lost in the Movies: Number nine, number nine...

Number nine, number nine...

Not especially wanting to write a full-length post at the moment, but feeling that two posts was a bit scant for the work-week, I was rescued by Piper of Lazy Eye Theatre, who tagged me with a New Years meme, nine resolutions for 2009. You can trace this back to its root at DVD Panache (courtesy of Adam) and also visit there for the full rules. If you're tagged, I suggest you do so. I've already lain out my plans for the new year, so I'll try not to be redundant. My new nine reside after the jump:

1. Keep blogging. Hopefully I'll keep a pretty good pace going here after a slow start to the year.

2. Look forward. Aside from discussing films of the past (which will continue) and films of the present (which will hopefully increase - see below), I'd like to muse on where movies are going, where I think they should go, and what all of you think. I don't want to see the cinema shrivel into a museum artifact, a niche market, a once-central cultural touchstone that used to matter more than it does now (the way Paul Schrader and other aging cineastes seem resigned to see it go).

3. See more movies from the 21st century. I've spent most of the past five or so years getting acquainted with classic Hollywood, postwar European cinema, and assorted Great Movies. All of this is - as the last category suggests - great, but I've also missed a lot of interesting films created in the - more or less - here and now. I would like to make a significant dent in They Shoot Pictures Don't They's top films of the 21st century list. Meaning at least 50-75% of the movies I haven't seen, preferably more, enough to write a respectable top 100 of the decade at the end of the year.

4. Read more novels. This is and isn't movie-related - though it's theoretically a distraction from watching movies and reading about them constantly, I think it will also strengthen my perceptions of the ideas and craft and mood of films.

5. See more classics on the big screen. Precariously teetering at the halfway point on this list, this is one of the least tenable of my resolutions - I don't have the same access to retro houses I once did, and even when I do, it can get to be an expensive habit (though not nearly as expensive as some; I don't know how my foodie and pothead friends do it...) Nonetheless, it's a unique experience, pretty much the highest a cineaste can attain (next to seeing a masterpiece theatrically on its first release), and one I should try to take advantage of once in a while.

6. Investigate more off-the-beaten path movies. I've been treading the annals of the Canon, in which I'm a great believer, for years now. But I would like to explore the flotsam and jetsam of film's mainstream, hopefully digging up some hidden classics along the way. A voyage of discovery, rather than the trek with tour guides I've generally been on, enjoyable as it's been. Though with so many acknowledged classics yet to see, this may also fall by the wayside.

7. Evangelize. Too often I keep movies to myself, with the self-defeating thought that, "oh, my friends won't like this." Which may often be true, but nonetheless I shall try to defy my inner Joe the Plumber and "spread the wealth around."

8. See at least one modern masterpiece on its initial run - preferably an unhyped one that sneaks up on us. Film industry, this is all on you.

9. Make a movie. It may cost nothing, be shot on my old mini-DV camera with a tape permanently lodged in it, use friends as actors (actually, all of this is a near-certainty) and it may not be any good, but it will be feature-length and I can say I "did it" (followed by "no, of course you can't see it...").

I hereby and forthwith tag the following (generally trying to eschew those who, like me, have already set out prospective agendas for the year):

Erich Kuersten, Acidemic-Film
Tony D'Ambra, Film Noir
M. King, Goodnight, Mono
Jeremy Richey, Moon in the Gutter
Graham, Movies et al.

And indeed, anyone else who wants to participate.


T.S. said...

Nice to see someone else working on the They Shoot Pictures list. They have one of the best ones out there.

If you're looking for a novel recommendation, I've been burning my way through "Revolutionary Road" by Richard Yates, which my wife gave me for Christmas and which I'm planning to finish by the time it opens. It's gorgeous, lyrical, wonderful prose.

Joel Bocko said...

I'd be interested to read that, especially since I'm somewhat skeptical going into the adaptation but have heard the book itself is excellent (and that, coming out in the early sixties, it preceeded the point when "the hell of suburbia" was such a rampant cliche).

Oddly enough, I was working on They Shoot Pictures when I started the blog, but I left off at The Incredibles in August, distracted by Twin Peaks, my DVR, and other things. Hopefully once I can return it, I can stick to it - given its methodology it's a pretty useful barometer of what the critics, at least, found interesting from the past 10 years.

Tony D'Ambra said...

I will take up the New Year meme challenge, MM.

You have made an admirable set of resolutions. I am with you on seeing more recent movies, and reading more novels.

With my focus on film noir, I have been in a time warp for many months, and have come to prefer old movies, but I think it is about time I ventured out of the cavern. I have also re-discovered novels after a long hiatus, and have found that after writing reviews of films, I read differently - I am more aware of the novelist's descriptive prose. Conversely, reading good (poetic) prose I think improves one's own writing.

When I was about your age, my brother and I made a movie in an abandoned cluster of pre-war warehouses, railway tracks, and wharves on the Sydney waterfront using a silent std-8 hand-held camera with color film - Kodak took over two weeks to process the 3-minute reels, which had to be edited by hand using a hand-splicer and tape. I came to quickly appreciate how easy it is to zoom, pan, and shoot, and how very very hard it is to conceive a scene, manage continuity, and edit a scene... Great fun and should be attempted at least once by any one who loves movies.

James Hansen said...

Nice list. I have such a problem with setting resolutions I have basically given up. I wish you luck in accomplishing some of these (especially finding those off the beaten path films...fun fun fun!)

Don't know if you've been by the site lately, but we've currently got a David Lynch week going. It was his birthday Tuesday, don'tcha know. I don't remember your specific posts, but I'm sure lots of our readers (if they're not all the same people!) would like to see them as well. I'll try and send them over to the ones I remember, but if you wanna chime in with comments and links to your stuff, that would be awesome.

Joel Bocko said...


I will jump in now that I have the chance...I've been kind of out of the loop for a few days, you will see why in a moment.


That sounds great - I've had a little experience with film & splicers, which are now pretty much extinct - though often challenging, I agree that they probably hone a greater appreciation of the medium than easier-to-shoot video and easier-to-use editing software do. I have done some short films in the past, but I'd like to see what I can do with the feature format, even with no resources - and you're definitely right that whether you're a critic or a filmmaker, any stab at creating your own work gives you an immense (often humbling) appreciation of the process involved. I am hoping to move more in this direction in the future and would love to do a super-8 movie at some point, there's still some equipment sitting around amongst me, family, and friends so it's not improbable. Though I'd consider myself a pragmatist when it comes to film/video, there's just something about film...


I will take a look at your movie.

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