Monday, 7 January 2013

FilmQuest 2012: Glass more than half empty...

So... I failed that FilmQuest 2012 thing I started last January, seeing just 13 of the 30 movies I'd promised myself to check out (for those keeping score, I saw 'Blue Velvet' but never found time to write about it). And it all started so well, with over a third of the list seen by early April. So what happened? A lot of things: a long-term relationship ended, I moved house a couple of times, I started a new relationship, and - perhaps most impactful of all - I fell out of love with writing about film in the second half of last year. This was probably apparent to any regular readers, as posts became less frequent and reviews became shorter (though maybe that's a blessing?).

I might do another post talking about why I stopped wanting to be a film journalist - or any type of journalist - gathering my thoughts about the highs and lows of three years in which I considered that my "career". In fact I'm certain I'll do that as a warning to others if nothing else! But this is about my aborted "FilmQuest", so now isn't the time.

Basically the order of business here is to begin some new sort of quest and to try to stick to it. Whilst I didn't come close to finishing last year's quest in the end, I wouldn't personally write it off as a complete failure: it remains the case that I hadn't previously seen 'Chinatown', 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest', 'Goodfellas', 'Unforgiven' or 'Vertigo'. So my life is certainly richer for that experience, I'd say. Yet I still haven't seen 'Rebel Without a Cause' or 'West Side Story' or 'The Sound of Music', to name but a few.

I haven't seen a lot of things, obviously (there are far too many films to see them all), but the point of this list was to address blindspots I felt were particularly uncomfortable: films it seemed everyone else had as cultural reference points but which had somehow never formed part of my upbringing or experience. With that goal in sight I think it's important to complete last year's list over the course of 2013. That means watching:

Blow Up
The Exorcist
Rebel Without a Cause
The Sound of Music
West Side Story
When Harry Met Sally...
Lethal Weapon
Beverly Hills Cop
Mary Poppins
The Passion of the Christ
Dirty Harry
An Officer and a Gentleman
Rain Man
Saturday Night Fever

Those 17 "leftovers" still NEED to be seen, but I should probably add a few more. I won't be so arrogant as to add another 13, but it'd bug me if I didn't at least add three more - rounding this year's quest up to 20. And to get those films I'll simply select the first three I haven't seen off of this list - the all-time US box office 200, as adjusted for inflation (i.e. 'Gone With the Wind' is top and 'Avatar' is 14th). Not including 'The Exorcist', which is already on my list, those films are:

The Ten Commandments
Doctor Zhivago

So there you have it! Let FilmQuest 2013 fare better than its aborted 2012 antecedent!

And speaking of new year's resolutions, I'd also like to:

Write at least one full screenplay
Start a comic book blog/podcast
Update this blog at least 10 times each month

I've written it down now so I have to do it.

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