It’s that time of year again, and the new edition of the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book has been released. However, instead of the usual 10-15 films from the past year being added, the book has been subjected to a much-needed overhaul, and in fact closer to fifty new entries have been added. I’ll update my master List page in due course, but for now here’s the new films that have been added, and my thoughts on them so far (if any):
1924 The Great White Silence – I’d heard of this film on a podcast recently, as being one of the earliest examples of a documentary. I made a mental note there and then that it was odd not to have been included on the List, so it’s good to see this one rectified.
1925 The Eagle – A Rudolph Valentino silent film.
1926 The Adventures of Prince Achmed – A silent animated film. Could be interesting.
1929 A Throw of Dice – An early Indian film.
1931 Limite – A film set in a boat, with characters recollecting their lives. They don’t have names. I’ll probably hate this film.
1934 The Goddess – A Chinese drama film. On the surface it doesn’t sound all that special, to be honest.
1935 Peter Ibbetson – Gary Cooper plays an architect who dreams of a romance, or something.
1938 The Lady Vanishes – This Hitchcock film was already on my Empire Top 500 List, and my Alfred Hitchcock List, so it’s inclusion here makes little difference to me.
1942 Mrs. Miniver – The first few months of World War 2, from the perspective of a British family. I like WW2 films, and this one could be informative and interesting.
1953 Summer with Monika – I’ve yet to see an Ingmar Bergman film I’ve really appreciated. Maybe this will change that. I live in hope.
1955 The Man with the Golden Arm – I actually bought this Frank Sinatra film on DVD recently, as I thought it was already on the List. I was wrong, but now I’m right, huzzah!
1955 Oklahoma! – A classic musical, featuring a song that I only know as it was used in Twister. My knowledge of this film ends there.
1957 Some Came Running – A Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin film. Martin is hit or miss in my opinion, but I like Sinatra as an actor.
1961 The Exiles – The kind of aimless film that follows everyday of lives of a small group of pople – in this case Native Americans in Los Angeles – that I generally don’t get on with.
1962 The Exterminating Angel – I don’t like the films of Luis Bunuel, so adding a new one will never please me. That being said, I have seen The Exterminating Angel before and I didn’t hate it as much as some of his other films, so there’s that.
1964 Mary Poppins – Yes. Hell yes. Why was this not on there before?
1971 The Devils – Featuring Detective Inspector Witty from Z-Cars! Don’t ask.
1971 The Hired Hand – A Peter Fonda western. I’ve loved the few Fonda films I’ve seen, so I hope to add this to that list.
1971 Wake in Fright – Sounds like Walkabout meets Straw Dogs via Black Swan. I’m in.
1973 F for Fake – Orson Welles is an actor/director I should know more about, I feel, so this gives me a chance to fill in another gap.
1974 The Towering Inferno – Hells yes. Love me some Towering Inferno. Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Robert Vaughn, I am all over this. Plus, it’s on my Steve McQueen list.
1977 Sleeping Dogs – Unfortunately not the Bobcat Goldthwaite bestiality story, this instead sees Sam Neill get drawn into a political struggle.
1979 Christ Stopped at Eboli – Two and a half hours of an Italian painter learning to appreciate things. Sigh.
1981 Diva – A stylish French thriller that sounds intriguing.
1982 The Draughtsman’s Contract – It’s high praise indeed for IMDb to say that if you like this story of an artist given to a new contract, then you’ll also like Citizen Kane. It’s a fair comment though, everyone should like Citizen Kane.
1983 Local Hero – I watched and reviewed this a couple of years ago as it appears on both the Empire Top 500 and the Empire 5-Star 500 Lists, but that time around I didn’t really rate the film too highly. My boss raves about it, though, so I think it’s due a second chance.
1987 RoboCop – Also on a different list, and also a film I’ve been meaning to give a second viewing for a long time now, especially with the upcoming release of the remake.
1987 Wall Street – Again I’ve seen it, but not for a really long time. Looking forward to catching it again.
1988 Dead Ringers – I do like some Jeremy Irons, and here you get two for the price of one. Looking forward to watching it, been meaning to for some time.
1988 Distant Voices, Still Lives – It’s already on the Empire Top 500, but I don’t know much about it. It stars Pete Postlethwaite though, which is only ever a good thing.
1989 Field of Dreams – I’ve seen it before and wasn’t blown away (it’s a sports movie, that could be why), but maybe I’ll see more to it this time.
1997 Fireworks – A Japanese crime drama.
1999 Toy Story 2 – I was pleasantly surprised to see the entire Toy Story trilogy gaining a place this time around. I love all the films dearly, particularly number 3, but I can’t really see the justification of including them all. That being said, I cannot recommend these films enough to those who haven’t seen them.
2002 Bowling for Columbine – I’ve somehow never seen a Michael Moore documentary. Now I can change that.
2003 Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer – Seriously? There’s now two documentaries on this subject in the list? Yes, I’m aware that The Selling of a Serial Killer was removed to make way for this one, but that doesn’t exactly help those of us who are watching them all, does it?
2003 Elephant – I’ve been looking for an excuse to watch this film again for a while. I don’t remember much about it, but it seems a good fit for the List.
2003 Osama – A young girl in Afghanistan pulls a Mulan and pretends to be a boy, so she can provide for her family.
2004 The Consequences of Love – Sounds like a coming-of-age story about a shy man falling in love with a barmaid.
2004 Moolaade – The description involves the phrase “female genital mutilation,” so I’m guessing this won’t be an easy watch.
2010 Cave of Forgotten Dreams – I’ve heard a fair amount about this Werner Herzog documentary, but I can’t say I’m overly excited about anything other than his narration.
2010 Toy Story 3 – See Toy Story 2. Love it.
2012 Amour – I had hoped against hope that Amour wouldn’t be included this year, but deep down I kind of knew it was going to be. I’ve heard nothing that makes me want to watch this film. It sounds dreary, dull and depressing as hell, as you watch an old person die for a few hours. Yay.
2012 Argo – The latest Best Picture Oscar winner was the second most obvious inclusion on the List (after the front cover was announced), and even if it hadn’t won I’d still be happy with the inclusion.
2012 The Cabin in the Woods – Possibly my favourite inclusion of the year. My number one film from 2012 didn’t stand a chance, I’d thought, but I’m oh so very happy it’s here.
2012 Django Unchained – I wasn’t sure Tarantino’s latest would make it either, but I have no qualms about it. I look forward to the re-watch.
2012 Les Miserables – Though it was hardly critically acclaimed, once I got past all the singing (it took about 25 minutes or so) I was fully on board with this film. A worthy addition, and I can’t stop listening to the soundtrack.
2012 Life of Pi – It’s on the cover, it won lots of awards, pretty much everyone loves it, but I missed it, despite thinking the book was great. Expect a review before the end of the year.
2012 Lincoln – I’ve been bizarrely craving a re-watch of this largely dialogue-driven Spielberg effort since I saw it in cinemas. I didn’t love it, but it was interesting, educational, featured some highly impressive acting even outside of Daniel Day Lewis, and it was utterly beautiful too, despite the focus being mostly facial hair and dust.
2012 Skyfall – Skyfaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall, when it crumbaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalls! Yes! Skyfall! Hurrah!
So are there any glaring omissions? Well, frankly, yes. For starters, there have only been 8 films added from 2012, whereas the number added each year is normally closer to 10 or more (although some years have also received as few as 8). I was expecting a couple more entries, possibly a documentary such as The Imposter or Searching For Sugar Man, both of which I’ve heard great things about, or the smaller film Beasts of the Southern Wild, which I’ve been putting off watching as I anticipated it’s inclusion on this year’s list. Also, there’s the small matter of one of the biggest films of all time, The Avengers, and the modern sci-fi classic that is Looper, both of which should have been at least contenders for places. Elsewhere, there’s still a great deal of films from past years that I’d desperately hoped would be included. Films like Tron, A Few Good Men, After Hours, the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast. Also, there’s still nothing from either Edgar Wright or Aardman! Come on!
My thanks to the other members of the 1001 Movies club for their researching of the List, especially Chip and Steve.
Like you, I’m happy to see some of these additions. Field of Dreams might not be in your normal wheelhouse, but it’s really worth another look. Don’t think of it as a sports movie. Think of it as a father/son relationship movie, because that’s what it really is. It just uses baseball to get there.
I was also expecting a bunch more from 2012–like Silver Linings Playbook or The Master or Flight. Some other recent misses are Incendies and Intouchables and The Skin I Live In. Like you, I’m still pissy about no Aardman (really?), no Harryhausen, no Edgar Wright, no 28 Days Later…I never even got as far as realizing The Avengers was left off. Still no Harry Potter, either. And no Hunger Games, which should make it from cultural relevance alone. And no Eternal Sunshine or Truman Show. Instead, we got Limite. Brace yourself for that one. I watched it yesterday.
Oh, and The Devils is absolutely blasphemous, and pretty awesome because of it!
I’d thought Silver Linings Playbook and The Master might have made it in, though I don’t mind that SLP missed out, I didn’t get the hype over that film. And I’m OK with them leaving Hunger Games out, as if you let that in from a cultural standpoint, then that could open the Twilight floodgates and then where would we be? And Harry Potter is tricky too. Can you justify letting just one part of an 8 film saga, when the films are mostly at a similar level of quality? And including all 8 as one entry could cause a riot.
I always forget about Eternal Sunshine, Truman Show and 28 Days Later, as they’re on other lists I’m doing and I haven’t separated out my DVD shelves into what films are on what lists. They should all have been in there from the start/their releases.
I look forward [apprehensively, as always] to The Devils!
I completely echo Steve’s comments about Field of Dreams – it’s not so much about sports, but about sports as a metaphor for family connections.
In a post earlier this year I had written that I hoped The Avengers would make it, but that I felt it was a longshot. A 2012 film not mentioned yet that I was a little surprised did not get included was Holy Motors. It’s full of weirdness – the exact kind that film critics love to pick apart and analyze. I wouldn’t have included it, but I expected them to.
Of the films I hadn’t seen when the list came out, but that I now have – Diva, The Eagle, The Devils, Limite, and The Goddess – my only WTF? has been Limite. Diva is all style and not much substance, but it is entertaining in places. Just don’t think too much about the plot. The Eagle is classic Valentino. The Goddess is worthwhile, especially because it stars the actress that is the subject of the list entry Center Stage aka The Actress. The Devils is typical Ken Russell craziness. Limite? Well, imagine Un chien andalou, except four times as long.
Well I really didn’t care for Un Chien Andalou (I really hate Bunuel), so I can’t say I’m overly looking forward to Limite. I’ll be sure to watch Field of Dreams soon, it sounds better than I remember. More worthwhile, at least.
About time that Mary Poppins and Bowling For Columbine were included in these books, always been amazed at their absence and I like the inclusion of The Devils, the only film to have an exorcism done in the style of a foxtrot (in the words of Mark Kermode, how very Ken) which is actually a really good piece of music, especially when listening to it performed live as part of the Kermode film music event over the summer. Adding Argo, Django, Lincoln, Life of Pi and Skyfall was a no-brainer and I’m pleasantly surprised to see Cabin in the Woods there. That said, how could they not include Avengers, Looper and Moonrise Kingdom, although those films being left out is nothing compared to the idiocy of leaving out Cloud Atlas. Cloud Atlas is one of my favourite films and anyone who doesn’t at least appreciate what the film is trying to do has no soul. Also agree with you Jay, Aardman and Edgar Wright should have some films in here, and I’d also add Serenity. The one thing I hope for with this though is that the sheer awfulness of Bridesmaids has been removed from the book, how anyone should think that Bridesmaids should be seen over the films of Edgar Wright is mind-boggling.
I wholeheartedly agree on Bridesmaids, I never understood the hype there and was utterly dumbfounded when it was even added to the book. Alas, I’m sorry to say it’s still there, but all being well it’ll be evicted next year.
I’ve not seen Cloud Atlas yet but I’m very much looking forward to it. The mixed reception it received didn’t leave me surprised when it wasn’t added to the book.
And as much as I love Serenity, I don’t think it fits amongst the book’s ethos. It isn’t technically an ‘important’ film, nor was it groundbreakingly well received, nor did it win many awards, it just popped a cap on Firefly. Now, if they chucked Firefly in there we’d have a much different argument on our hands!
Yesterday, while I was at work, myy sister stole my
iPad and tested to see if it ccan survive a 40 foot drop, just
so she cann be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now broken and she has 83 views.
I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!