Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"Shooting Lessons" Half-Year Update

A warm hello to my loyal readers, of which there are – last time I counted – about two, sometimes three. Yesterday, July 21, marked the six month anniversary of the birth of my “Shooting Lessons: 1000 Pictures” blog, and I’d just like to take a few minutes to reflect upon our achievements thus far in the They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They? Top 1000 quest.

When I first welcomed readers to “Shooting Lessons,” I had seen exactly 178 films from the list. I am happy to report that this tally now sits at 224 films, which means that, in the intervening six months, I have enjoyed a total of 46 brand-new titles from the Top 1000. This figure obviously doesn’t include the countless pictures I’ve watched that do not appear on the They Shoot Pictures list, including many very exciting new releases. If you’re interested in any of these films, full reviews for all can be accessed through my IMDb comments.

Additionally, when I began this endeavour, I expressed my intentions that I should complete the TSPDT top 100 within six months. In this case, I was clearly dreaming. Even early on, I decided that it was fruitless to try and force myself to adhere strictly to such a short selection, and so I regularly interspersed my viewings with films from both the entire Top 1000 and whatever else happened to strike my fancy.

In the top 100 stakes, my tally has lifted from 46 to 54: The Searchers (1956), Rashômon (1950), The Apartment (1960), The 400 Blows (1959), Persona (1966), Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927), Gone With the Wind (1939) and To Be or Not to Be (1942). From the top 10, I have yet to see The Rules of the Game (1939), Seven Samurai (1954) and Tokyo Story (1953).
My film-watching highlights for the year? At the top of the list is certainly my May 4 cinema viewing of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), a breathtaking and awe-inspiring film in every sense of the word, and most likely the greatest ever made. Another worthy competitor is my double-bill cinema screening of Rear Window (1954) and Vertigo (1958) earlier this month. Excluding repeat viewings, my only 10/10 rating for the year was for Akira Kurosawa’s Dersu Uzala (1975), a wonderful David Lean-like epic that I recommend to everyone.

The first six months of 2008 (and December 2007) are also notable in that I discovered the bulk of Billy Wilder’s work, and, after 16 films and counting, he has become one of my all-time most cherished directors. Some of Wilder’s unexpected surprises have included the light-hearted and charming Irma La Douce (1963), the tense WWII propaganda picture Five Graves to Cairo (1943) and the first winning teaming of Lemmon and Mathau in The Fortune Cookie (1966).

What do the next six months have in store for “Shooting Lessons: 1000 Pictures?” Certainly I hope for another fifty films to strike themselves off the list, and, after that, I’ll be at the whim of the TSPDT folk when they decide to update their listings – hopefully the revision won’t be too harrowing for me. With a wonderful Ingmar Bergman box-set currently coming my way thanks to Ebay, I can hope to see more of his films. I would also like to branch out more exhaustively into the work of Carol Reed, John Ford, John Huston, Fritz Lang and David Lean.

At this point, enthusiastic encouragements would be most appreciated. Thanks to everybody for their support, and here’s wishing for another half-year of shooting down pictures.


ackatsis said...

Some trivia: all the film posters in this entry are for films seen in the last six months that DO NOT appear on the TSPDT Top 1000.

tosser/ressot said...

I'm still furiously upset at you for your chance at watching 2001 on the big screen. I suppose I still have Lawrence over you. :P

I myself recently started a top 100 quest - at last count, I'm 77% through. Awesomeness.

Glad to see there's no foreseeable end to your questing. Keep it up!

ackatsis said...

If I had to pick the top five films I want to see on the big screen, they would be:
#1 - Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
#2 - The Third Man (1949)
#3 - Apocalypse Now (1979)
#4 - The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
#5 - The Innocents (1961)

Luckily, #2 is screening in August in a double-bill with "Touch of Evil." #3 [the Redux] is screening in October. I think they'll be screening "Lawrence of Arabia" next year some time, so I'll avoiding watching the film until then.

Only a top 100 quest! That's rather short-sighted, isn't it? Where's your ambition?!
Still, you're beating me [currently on 55%]. What was your top 1000 count?

tosser/ressot said...

It may be short-sighted, but I'd rather see the entire top 250 (and nothing else)) than to just see 25 from each group of 100.

After Ugetsu, my top 100 count is up to 78 and my 1000 count is 197.