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.