Thursday, December 18, 2008

December 2008 TSPDT Update

That time of year has arrived. After slaving away at the They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They? Top 1000 for almost one year, the good folks who run the website have released their annual update, which encompasses a wider range of film polls and critics’ lists. Though I had expected my current progress (sitting at 241/1000) to receive a thorough bludgeoning, I’ve actually done quite well for myself here.

The following is a list of new additions and omissions from the updated list; I’ll list only the films that I’ve seen (out of a total of 96 changes).

New additions:
#483: Toy Story (1995, John Lasseter)
#541: Swing Time (1936, George Stevens)
#565: Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991, James Cameron)
#576: MASH (1970, Robert Altman)
#601: An American in Paris (1951, Vincente Minnelli)
#644: The Usual Suspects (1997, Bryan Singer)
#660: My Fair Lady (1964, George Cukor)
#733: The Matrix (1999. Andy Wachowski & Larry Wachowski)
#778: City of God (2002, Fernando Meirelles)
#868: Arsenic and Old Lace (1944, Frank Capra)
#878: From Here to Eternity (1953, Fred Zinnemann)
#880: Radio Days (1987, Woody Allen)
#898: Starship Troopers (1997, Paul Verhoeven)
#899: Leave Her to Heaven (1945, John M. Stahl)
#917: Donnie Darko (2001, Richard Kelly)
#952: Scarlet Street (1945, Fritz Lang)
#953: Lost in Translation (2004, Sofia Coppola)
#956: Memento (2000, Christopher Nolan)
#979: American Beauty (1999, Sam Mendes)
#981: Fort Apache (1948, John Ford)

Total additions seen = 20

* The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926, Lotte Reiniger)
* L’ Arrivée d'un train à la Ciotat (1895, Lumière, August & Louis Lumière)
* Blood Simple (1984, Joel Coen & Ethan Coen)
* Jason and the Argonauts (1963, Don Chaffey)
* Knife in the Water (1982, Roman Polanski)
* Love and Death (1975, Woody Allen)
* Rififi (1955, Jules Dassin)
* Russian Ark (2002, Aleksandr Sokurov)
* Shock Corridor (1963, Sam Fuller)
* Stray Dog (1949, Akira Kurosawa)
* The Thin Man (1934, W.S. Van Dyke)
* The Tingler (1959, William Castle)
* Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971, Mel Stuart)

Total omissions seen = 13

So, as you can see, the newest update actually boosts my count of films seen, from 242/1000 to 249/1000. Believe it or not, I’m one viewing away from being one-quarter of the way there!

Thoughts on the changes? Well, I’m devastated to see Dassin’s Rififi (1955) and Van Dyke’s The Thin Man (1934) drop off – two very different films, of course, but each brilliant in its own way. From memory, that means that the Top 1000 is now Jules Dassin-free, which is a sorry state of existence {I recently viewed Night and the City (1950), which is even better, as part of my “Shooting in the Dark” blog}. Furthermore, a list without Nick and Nora Charles isn’t really a list at all. I think I'll drown my sorrows with a martini. We may also lament the childhood favourite Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), Woody Allen’s epic Love and Death (1975) and that piece of campy, demented brilliance that is William Castle’s The Tingler (1959).

As far as additions are concerned, many of the new titles appear to be rather mainstream populist films of the last decade; such as The Usual Suspects (1997), American Beauty (1999), Memento (2000) and Donnie Darko (2001). These are all decent films in their own right, but it’s sad to think that they’ve stolen the place of that obscure Czechislovakian war drama that I’ve never heard of, and probably never will now.
The additions I’m most happy with are Capra’s Arsenic and Old Lace (1944), a superb piece of Halloween craziness, and Swing Time (1936) – one can never have too much Fred and Ginger! Oh, and Terminator 2 is awesome.


aeuzop said...

I've seen 331. Ha-HA!!

Personally, I'm disappointed at the lack of any major changes. Okay, yeah, Grand Illusion and Seven Samurai are good, we get it. I really wanted to see some new blood, but it's lacking. As you said, most of the new additions are relatively popular films that many of us have already seen. I mean, T2? Toy Story? The Usual Suspects? The Matrix? My Fair Lady? City of God? Memento? American Beauty? Argue about their quality all you want, but they're not the reasons that I look through something like the TSPDT list (this is for IMDb, no?). At least Scarlet Street is a worthy addition.

Oh well. Maybe I was hoping for too much.

ackatsis said...

It took me a while to work out who the hell you were!

I've only listed the new additions that I've seen. Obviously, there's about 80 more that are probably substantially more obscure.
I liked "Scarlet Street," but certainly not as much as everybody else seems to. It's got a ripper final act, but the rest is pretty un-noirish (if I may coin my own term).


J Luis Rivera said...

Damn, the new additions aren't that breathtaking, I must say!

ackatsis said...

The complete list of new additions:

Tootsie, Evil Dead II, Toy Story, An Angel at My Table, Dirty Harry, Swing Time, Diner, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Get Carter, M*A*S*H, An American in Paris, Unfaithfully Yours, The Heiress, The Usual Suspects, My Fair Lady, Trainspotting, Europa (1991), The Naked Spur, Assault on Precinct 13, Black Sunday (1960), The Matrix, The Red Circle, Ju Dou, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, El Dorado, Flaming Creatures, Quadrophenia, City of God, Die Nibelungen, Rushmore, The Wrong Man, Klute, Oldboy, Vive L'Amour, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Happiness, Il Sorpasso, Charade, Plein soleil, Judex (1963), The Getaway, Rocker, Arsenic and Old Lace, 3 Women, The Year of Living Dangerously, From Here to Eternity, Radio Days, Rose Hobart, Kwaidan, Bend of the River, Starship Troopers, Leave Her to Heaven, Donnie Darko, Female Trouble, The Pillow Book, The Last of the Mohicans, Samson and Delilah, Heaven Can Wait, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Tout va bien, The Passion of Anna, The Big Chill, Scarlet Street, Lost in Translation, Leaving Las Vegas, Maskerade, Memento, Accident, Lost Horizon, Empire of the Sun, Dark Eyes, Blast of Silence, California Split, Chikamatsu monogatari, The Ladies' Man, Strangers When We Meet, Toute une nuit, The Bridges of Madison County, Angel Face, The Bells of St. Mary's, American Beauty, The Ballad of Cable Hogue, Fort Apache, The Duellists, Four Friends, The Straight Story, The Sheltering Sky, Fury, Kanal, You Can't Take it with You, Bay of Angels, A Time to Love and a Time to Die, Dracula (1958), Testament of Orpheus, Forty Guns, My Love Has Been Burning.

SJ said...

I have seen 29 of the new ones and have also seen less of the ones dropping out so have now seen almost 650 of the 1000. Looks like there is a feast on British TV (including Sky) of films in the next two weeks including some of the new additions such as Quadrophenia, The Getaway, The Wrong Man, Swing Time and such risers in the list as Killer of Sheep is on Sky Arts. So after Christmas I may be heading to reach the two thirds mark. The next film I plan to see is Bresson's Lancelot du Lac.

ackatsis said...

Hi SJ,
All I can say is that you're WELL ahead of me! I watched one more of the new additions last night, Mike Hodges' "Get Carter (1971)," so that pushes me up to 251/1000.