Last weeks’ Top 10 1001 Films I’m Least Looking Forward To didn’t exactly leave me in a positive mood in terms of looking ahead at all the terrible films I’ve got to come, and to be honest your many comments regarding the films I’d missed off didn’t really help the situation either! This could be why I’ve not actually posted or watched anything this week, although I’ve not actually had the time to anyway. So, in an effort to cheer myself up and inspire me to move on with this list thingy, here’s my Top 10 1001 Movies that I’m Most Looking Forward to, and thankfully this was an incredibly difficult list to put together, mainly due to the wide variety of truly excellent-sounding films I’ve got to come.
My criteria for this list was simple, I just had to not have seen the film before, as this made the whole thing a lot easier, by jettisoning a good few hundred films, but still left me with the majority. As with the previous list, I’ve separated out the films into different categories, and only included one from each.
Honourable Mention: Metropolis
Metropolis is a film that I don’t think I’d ever get around to watching were I not going through the 1001 List, which is one of the reasons I’m working my way through it. This is mainly because it’s a silent film – something I’d never indulged in before the List – and also because it’s a German silent film at that. I’ve been introduced to director Fritz Lang’s work, and I must say that I loved M when I saw it a few years ago, so that it definitely one I’m looking forward to revisiting, but Metropolis looks amazing, and it heavily features a robot! The main reason I’m looking forward to it though is because there’s an episode of the Lambcast that’s been entirely devoted to it, and I’m refusing to listen to that episode until I’ve seen the film. The same can be said for Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man, but I’m not looking forward to that one quite as much, mainly because I know practically nothing about it other than it features Johnny Depp.
10. Cinema Paradiso
I’m something of a collector, always have been. When I was younger for some reason I collected badges, then I moved on to books (unfortunately not too many good ones), then posters (which I unfortunately neglected to take very good care of), and now I’m on DVDs, which I think will become a mainstay for a good while. I dabble in t-shirts too, but alas in recent months I’ve outgrown a few of my favourites, whereas all my DVDs still fit me fine. Since starting the List I’ve felt a compulsion to buy any films I find upon it, unless I know I don’t like them, or they’re too expensive. Needless to say, trips to second-hand DVD shops tend to leave me with my arms full. The ridiculous thing is that I have a LoveFilm account which has access to most of the List’s films, and many times I’ve returned from a questionably successful shopping trip with a sudden need to remove anywhere up to twenty films from my queue. Many of these DVDs are ones I’ve had for a long time, and I think the one I’ve owned the longest without ever seeing it is Cinema Paradiso. I look forward to the day I cross this one of the List, if only because I’ll be able to move the DVD from my “Unseen” pile (or piles) to the rest of my collection, the same of which can be said for such films as the Three Colours Trilogy (Red and Blue are on the List), The Night of the Hunter, The Right Stuff, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Adam’s Rib and Mr. Deeds Goes To Town. I’ve probably got about 100 DVDs that I’ve not seen just from the List alone. It’s a disease, I swear.
9. To Kill a Mockingbird
I get the feeling To Kill A Mockingbird would have been fairly highly positioned on my Top 10 Films Adapted from Books I’ve Read list, and indeed I suggested it as a recent movie of the week for the 1001 Club with my intention being to watch it in preparation for that list. Alas, as seems to be happening ever more frequently to me, time got away from me, and I’ve yet to see it. I really liked the book though, and I’m intrigued as to how it has been adapted to the screen. Other films whose source materials I’m a fan of include The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Good, The Bad and The Weird, and elsewhere I rather like the remake of Funny Games, so the original interests me (especially as it’s also by Michael Haneke, who directed his own English-language remake), and I’m intrigues to see if Open Your Eyes is a good film, unlike the Cameron Crowe remake Vanilla Sky.
8. Russian Ark
There are some films I’m looking forward to simply because the idea of them intrigues me, and I’m interested to see how it turns out. A Hard Day’s Night, for example, interests me because I’ve managed to live in England for nearly 26 years without ever really listening to the Beatles, and I feel that film may shine some light onto what I’m missing out on. The Pier, on the other hand, sounds like a novel premise whereby an entire story (about time travel no less) is told entirely through static images. I’m also intrigued by The Kid Brother, simply because I hear a lot about Harold Lloyd, but I’ve yet to see any of his work outside of Hugo. Russian Ark stands out from all of these purely because of its infamous cinematography, in which the entire 99 minute film was shot in a single take. I love extended tracking shots – they’re one of my favourite aspects of films, hence why I love Children of Men and Rope – so seeing an entire film as one long tracking shot is something I’m greatly looking forward to. Doubtlessly the film’s story will let down the technical aspects to produce an unsatisfying whole, but I’m looking forward to it nonetheless.
7. All About Eve
As much as I like to rely upon the opinions of the people I trust when it comes to film recommendations (more on this later), in some cases it’s hard to overlook the achievements of a film in terms of the plaudits ladled upon it. Of the films I haven’t seen, 1958’s Gigi is the most highly regarded in terms of Oscars with nine, yet it is All About Eve that ‘m looking forward to more, which received five out of its eleven nominations. Gigi turns me off a little because it’s a musical, whereas All About Eve is a rarely-disputed classic. Other multiple Oscar winners I’ve got coming my way include My Fair Lady (8 wins, 12 noms), A Place In The Sun (6 wins, 9 nominations), A Man For All Seasons and An American In Paris (both with 6 wins from 8 nominations).
6. Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse
Some films I’m looking forward to simply because the topic they look at greatly interests me. I’ve seen Apocalypse Now and head the many tales of how difficult the shoot was, but I feel I won’t truly grasp how hellish the whole thing was without seeing this documentary first. As a film fan I’m obviously interested in the act of film making, and I hear that there is no greater record of this process than in Hearts of Darkness.
5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
As I discussed in another recent Top 10, there’s a lot of directors out there that I like, but there’s others out there who I haven’t yet gotten around to watching their entire filmography yet, hence why I’m currently (slowly) making my way through all of Hitchcock’s work, for example. Hitchcock has many films on the list, and as yet I’ve never seen the likes of Frenzy, Notorious, Rebecca and Shadow of a Doubt, so I’m looking forward to seeing all of those and finding out how well they stack up against the rest of the great director’s work. Other notable directors I’ve previously enjoyed and will be experiencing again soon within the List are Woody Allen (Crimes and Misdemeanors, The Purple Rose of Cairo), Stanley Kubrick (Lolita, Barry Lyndon), Akira Kurosawa (Ran, Throne of Blood), Pedro Almodovar (Talk to Her) and Robert Altman (McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Nashville, The Long Goodbye). However, the director I like the most who has a film I’ve not yet seen on the List is probably David Fincher, whose most recent film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, was added on last year. I’ve owned the DVD since just before last Christmas, but as yet I’ve not sat down to see it. Even though I’ve seen them before, I’m also really looking forward to re-watching Fincher’s Fight Club and The Social Network, as they seem to get more and more loved by others the longer I go without seeing them.
4. His Girl Friday/Bringing Up Baby
The main reason I’m doing this List is simply because there’s a heck of a lot of ‘great’ films out there that I just haven’t seen. Regardless of their awards recognition, there are a lot of films on the List that have a reputation for being classics or unmissable, but that don’t get discussed a lot simply because they’re from a bygone era, which makes the films either harder to obtain, or harder to simply connect to, hence why I’ve not yet seen them. Films like The African Queen, Bonnie and Clyde, Double Indemnity and Gone With the Wind, or foreign fare such as 8 ½, Persona or Suspiria. These are all legendary in terms of their greatness, but I’d have to pick the Howard Hawks/Cary Grant double bill of His Girl Friday and Bringing Up Baby as two that I’m particularly looking forward to, given how much I enjoyed Grant in North By Northwest, and the rat-a-tat, screwball comedy nature of these films.
Many people within the film-watching world pile more praise onto the director than the star when it comes to a film’s quality, and indeed for the most part this is true. However, there are some actors that I’ve connected with on screen in some way or another, and I enjoy seeking out their films. Gene Hackman is one such example, whose The Conversation I’m greatly anticipated, as I am with Paul Newman in Hud, James Woods in Salvador, Tim Robbins in Jacob’s Ladder, Jeremy Irons in Reversal of Fortune and Jeff Bridges in The Last Picture Show. There’s also Jimmy Stewart in a handful of films, of which Anatomy of a Murder appeals to be the most. If I had to pick one film that I’m looking forward to the most due to its star though, it would have to be Marty, starring Ernest Borgnine, an actor I’ve loved ever since I first saw him in The Poseidon Adventure. Granted, I’ve not seen too many of his films – The Dirty Dozen, The Wild Bunch, Escape from New York, Convoy, R.E.D. and the remake of All Quiet on the Western Front – and I’ve certainly never seen anything he’s starred in as the main character, so I’m looking forward to this one immensely.
2. Harold and Maude
As I mentioned earlier, I put a lot of stead in what other people think of films, and sometimes I even attempt to alter my own opinions base on theirs, as I often assume other people are right and I am wrong if a differing thought to my own is expressed. So when someone recommends a film to me, by jingo I’ll go see it, and wouldn’t you know it but there’s some films on the list that I’ve been recommended before! There’s even some that are enjoyed by my family, which is a rarity in itself, not to mention ones that are generally acclaimed elsewhere. My Dad is a fan of Out of Africa and A Star is Born, and my grandmother has kindly lent me her copy of Marlon Brando’s One-Eyed Jacks, all of which I look forward to, but it is Harold and Maude that I’ve heard the most about from a good friend of mine.
1. Singin’ in the Rain
Yes, the main reason I’m watching all these films is to catch up on them, but it’s also so I can actually talk about them. On more occasions than I could count the topic of conversation has swung to a film I’m unfamiliar with, and that’s a circumstance I truly detest being put in, but it’s inevitable when the world’s pop culture has expanded to bursting point. There are so many films that it seems everyone has seen, that to have not seen them and yet call myself a film fan seems incongruous. I think if a television show makes a passing reference to one – as has happened on Mad Men with The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance – or a popular podcast constantly refers to lines from to one – as the MILFcast does with Poltergeist – then surely I should have seen it? The Lambcast even ran a game about a year ago where the contestants had to name as many of the cast members from JFK as they could. Fortunately I wasn’t on that show, as I’d have been stuck after Kevin Costner, seeing as I still have yet to see the film! Elsewhere the likes of From Here To Eternity’s kiss, Planet of the Apes’ climax, The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s cult insanity, Saturday Night Fever’s dance moves and The Seventh Seal’s iconic chess game have all permeated society far more than any film I’ve never seen should, giving me no choice but to watch these films if I’ve any hope of successfully making my way through any conversation unscathed. Or so it seems in my head. Anyway, of all these, my most heinous omission is Singin’ in the Rain, which I’ve heard discussed countless times, I’ve seen it parodied in a film a friend of mine made at university, and I’ve even listened on the Universal Studios tour as to how the effects were created in the film – but I’ve still yet to see it.
I’ve left a lot of films out, I know, but that’s mainly because I just haven’t heard of them, and looking into all of the films was far more research than I was willing to do. If it’s a more obscure film and I haven’t reviewed it yet, chances are I know nothing about it, so feel free to let me know what other gems I’ve got to look forward to!