In 2012, I do solemnly swear to watch, in no particular order, the 100 movies deemed to be the greatest of all-time by the American Film Institute in 1998.
Before year’s end I will view all of these movies in their entirety. The only things and people permitted in the immediate viewing area will be family and friends who’d like to sit in on a viewing, refreshments, and perhaps my cat Hemingway. iPhones and other modern distractions will be banned from the area. I’m serious. I’m actually going to watch and listen to the movies, lending my entire attention span to the endeavor. I know it sounds crazy, but I think it just might work. And I don’t know, maybe it will be fun.
Why am I doing this? Simple answer: I was shocked to discover that on a list of 100 top movies, I had only seen 16 of them. I plan to remedy this with a self-administered injection of American culture.
I chose the AFI list from 1998 because it seemed like a good place to start. Lists are arbitrary, yes. But my inner-snob is inclined to be influenced by a prestigious group of experts as opposed to say, the types that write on the message boards of the Internet Movie Data Base.
The AFI released an updated list in 2007, but I chose to use the original 1998 list for my project. The main reason for this is because I intend to expand my cinema horizons and experience undiscovered classics, and the 2007 list contains too many newly inducted movies which I had already seen. So this means I’ll be buckling down to watch 199 minutes of Doctor Zhivago, and not Toy Story. Do you see? Do you see now that I mean business?
I will be documenting my progress as I undertake this herculean task. These posts will not be reviews; I take for granted that each of these 100 movies on the list is a great movie, ipso facto, whether I personally enjoy them or not. I’m striving to understand what’s great about each of them, to understand why people who are better at watching movies than we consider these the pinnacle of the art form.
Join me. Read this blog, and watch as I transform into a better person through the magic of film. Or something.