Friday, September 11, 2009

Introduction

During a trip to "Barnes & Noble", I come across a book (a big book, to be more precise) entitled, "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die". I'm intrigued by the title and my first thought is, "I MUST see them?" Mr. Steven Jay Schneider (the author of the book) seems to be a little bossy doesn't he. I mean, who has the right to tell me what I MUST see? I'll see what I please and if Mr. Schneider doesn't like it, well I guess that's just too bad. And then I realize, after flipping through the pages and spotting some familiar faces (Pulp Fiction, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Buffalo '66, Clerks, Sideways...among others) that maybe this guy's on to something. Maybe I am lacking some classic and foreign viewing in my movie habits. Maybe I haven't seen everything that is truly worth seeing. I myself have worked in three video stores and DO consider myself somewhat of a movie buff. I mean, I've seen a lot of flicks!

"The real usefulness of...1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, is that it provides good ideas for DVD rental. I have, by the way, seen 943 of the 1001 movies, and am carefully rationing the remaining titles to prolong my life"

The above piece was written by Roger Ebert and appears on the back jacket of the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book. So I start thinking...If I see all these films, I'll have seen more movies than Roger Ebert. Well, not really, as I'm sure he's seen other movies besides the ones collected in this 5th Edition of Steven Jay Schneider's text. But I could be one up on Mr. Thumbs Up! I could go up to him, on a rainy day in Chicago and say "Hey, Rog' I saw 'em all baby!! All 1001...943?...pathetic!!"

So I slapped down my $35 and bought the book. Not just to spite Ebert, but also to advance my knowledge of film.

So why am I telling you all this? I was hoping you'd be interested in joining me on my journey. This is a diary of my adventure into the history of film...the history of essential film, and I'd like you to come along. Lets travel all the way back to 1902 and make our way, together, to 2007. Now I must warn you...I'm not your typical critic. There are some so-called classics out there that I have been less then impressed with. For instance, "2001: A Space Odyssey" bores me to no end and I am of the opinion that "Requiem for A Dream" is a very overated mess. But I have the balls to tell those movies that, to their faces. I don't stand quivering and say "Yes, Requiem was good, I enjoyed it!", just to get a pat on the head and fit in with the rest of the crowd. I tell it like it is. If I don't like it, I say it and if I do...well I say that too, of course.

So let's go...let's have fun. Let's watch some movies and see what we haven't. Relive what we have...good or bad. Maybe we'll form some new opinions on flicks we previously thought of as stinkers...or maybe they'll stay stinking.

This is the beginning of my journey. My diary into cinema...

September 11, 2009 2:44am

4 comments:

  1. You know, after all this time, I've never been back to read the introduction.. or even some of your very first posts.

    Roger Ebert is not really known in the UK.. Obviously I have come to hear of him.. his name crops up in posts on IMDb quite a lot. One day I will make the effort to check some of his reviews to see what sort of reviewer he is.. what his opinions, tastes, judgments are like. Is he the USA Barry Norman, Mark Kermode, or - God forbid - Jonathon Ross.

    But whatever he is like.. sorry - I bet he has caught up on your plan to out smart him!
    Ray

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    Replies
    1. Well sadly, Ebert passed away earlier this year, leaving me wondering if he ever got around to seeing the rest of THE BOOK.

      I don't know any of the names you mentioned there, but Ebert is basically the most popular movie critic in the states. Back in the 80s/90s, he and his movie critic partner Gene Siskel had a show on television called "Siskel & Ebert At the Movies", where they'd rate the newest film releases on a "thumbs up/thumbs down" scale. If you've ever seen a poster or a DVD case with the quote "Two Thumbs Up" on it, that probably came from Siskel & Ebert". Siskel died in, i believe, 1999. After that, Ebert got a new partner (Richard Roeper) and the show continued, but to lesser success. From there, Ebert just continued doing what he always did, which was write for the Chicago Sun Times (a major newspaper out of Chicago, Illinois) where he'd cover the major movies coming out each week. A few years ago, Ebert got cancer in his jaw, I think and had to have a prosthetic that rendered him unable to speak. He then began speaking through the use of a machine (ie. Stephen Hawking), but continued to be very active on social networking sites and with the Chicago Sun Times, reviewing films.....

      Whew....that just about brings you up to speed.

      Delete
  2. Thank you for all that.. Interesting.
    Ah, perhaps he DID finish the list.. so let that be a warning to us all.
    Between some friends this list (to distinguish it from others) is called the deadly list.. - in that you die if you finish it.
    Ray

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Geez, I hope not! By the way, did you ever finish THE BOOK?

      Delete

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