Blind-Spots-2013

Blindspotting 2013: The List

I‘m joining the Blind Spots folks (seems like most bloggers I know are doing it!) this year, but that’s because I’d nearly decided not to even make a list this year. I mean, it’s pretty foolish of me to try, for two major reasons. One, I did terribly on last year’s Blind Spots list. I only managed to watch four of my twelve, and I only managed to write full posts about two of them. Two, I’m having a baby in five weeks, and if I thought I had little time to watch movies LAST year, this year finding time promises to be even more challenging. But I ultimately decided it never hurts to at least have a list of films I’d like to watch ever-present in my head, so when I do have time to sit down for a movie (whether it be a nice two-hour block when my baby actually does decide to sleep or in 20-minute chunks while feeding her at 2:00am), I don’t have to cast about for what to watch. So that’s what we’ll call this list. It would make sense to just carry over the eight films I didn’t watch last year, but I’m not going to do that. I’m going to make this easier on myself by only choosing films that are available on HuluPlus or Netflix Instant (or that I own) so availability is never an excuse, and by choosing films that I expect to be entertaining and not too heavy. In other words, this is not the year for 4-hour epics about the human condition.

The List

Our Hospitality / The Navigator

1923/1924 USA. Director: Buster Keaton/John G. Blystone, Buster Keaton/Donald Crisp. Starring: Buster Keaton.
Truth be told, I’ll probably try to get through a bunch of the Buster Keaton Blu-ray set Jonathan got me for Christmas, but these are the two main features I haven’t seen and definitely want to.

Pandora’s Box

1929 Germany. Director: G.W. Pabst. Starring: Louise Brooks.
I’ve only managed to see one Louise Brooks film ever, and not one of her more acclaimed ones. Time to fix that.

Vampyr

1932 Germany. Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer. Starring: Julian West, Maurice Schultz.
This one’s been on my horror list for several Octobers now. I started watching it on my lunch break a while back and was captivated by the imagery within a few minutes, so I decided to put it off until I could watch it at home on a larger screen.

Island of Lost Souls

1932 USA. Director: Erle C. Kenton. Starring: Charles Laughton, Bela Lugosi, Richard Arlen.
I own this one one Criterion Blu-ray, even, and didn’t manage to watch it last October. I’ll get to it sometime this year.

Zero de Conduite / L’Atalante

1933/1934 France. Director: Jean Vigo. Starring Jean Dasté, Robert le Flon/Dito Parlo, Jean Dasté.
I’ve never seen any Vigo films, but I was highly intrigued reading about them when Criterion released The Complete Jean Vigo disc. Since both films together barely top two hours, I’ll try to get to both of these.

The Stranger

1946 USA. Director: Orson Welles. Starring: Orson Welles, Edward G. Robinson, Loretta Young.
I’ve a long way to go before I catch up with all of Orson Welles’ directorial projects, but knocking a noir film also featuring Edward G. Robinson in the cast seems like an easy place to start.

Wild Strawberries

1957 Sweden. Director: Ingmar Bergman. Starring: Victor Sjostrom, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin.
I can’t say the synopsis of this Bergman film grabs me all that much, but intricate plots is not exactly what Bergman is about, and this one always ends up high on everybody else’s Bergman lists.

Sanjuro

1962 Japan. Director: Akira Kurosawa. Starring: Toshiro Mifune.
Kurosawa can be a surprisingly tough nut to crack for me, and there are literally dozens of his films I haven’t seen. But I really enjoyed Yojimbo, so I’m hoping Sanjuro will be an equally easy one to knock off my lengthy Kurosawa to-see list.

El Dorado

1966 USA. Director: Howard Hawks. Starring: John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, James Caan.
Rio Bravo is one of my all-time favorite westerns, so a reteaming of Hawks and Wayne sounds right up my alley.

Cool Hand Luke

1967 USA. Director: Stuart Rosenberg. Starring: Paul Newman, George Kennedy, Strother Martin.
According to Flickchart, this is the most highly-ranked film that neither I nor Jonathan has seen. It was on my list last year as well, but this year we’ve got the disc out from Netflix RIGHT NOW – we just have to watch it.

Serpico

1973 USA. Director: Sidney Lumet. Starring: Al Pacino, John Randolph, Jack Kehoe.
Sidney Lumet has been steadily growing on me as a filmmaker, knocking it out of the park with Dog Day Afternoon, which I watched for a New Hollywood marathon a while back. Time to get to some more Lumet.

Days of Heaven

1978 USA. Director: Terrence Malick. Starring: Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, Sam Shepard.
I should be able to 100% Terrence Malick’s filmography without too much difficulty, and once I finish this one (which I own on Criterion Blu-ray), I’ve only got The Thin Red Line left. And the umpteen films he’s got in his suddenly prolific production schedule, of course.

  • http://ptsnob.com/ Dan Heaton

    Jandy, you have some great choices on this list. Pandora’s Box is a stunning movie, especially when you consider that it came out in 1929. I also wasn’t thrilled about checking out Wild Strawberries last year for my blind spots series, and I was surprised by how good it was. You should definitely see it!

    Congrats and good luck with the baby! We’re having our second in late March, so we’re in a similar situation at my house. It’s cool to see that you’re planning to check out so many interesting movies. After the initial craziness of the first month, I think you’ll be able to find some time.

    • http://www.the-frame.com/blog Jandy

      I actually cheated putting Wild Strawberries on the list; I watched it on MLK Day last week, when I was off work. :) It was a lot more interesting than I expected. Hoping to get at least a small post on it within the next few days.

      Congrats to you as well! Sounds like we’ll only beat you guys by a couple of weeks. I think this list is probably doable, since last year my main issues were I chose too many difficult movies, I think, and also several of them weren’t easy to find (we didn’t have Netflix discs at the time). Hopefully I’ve planned it better this time.

      • http://ptsnob.com/ Dan Heaton

        Thanks! I also think that I pushed myself into some tough corners last year with three-hour movies and trickier ones. I watched them all and posted about them, but this year should be easier. I made sure that most were shorter due to the time limitations and sounded more interesting. Also, Days of Heaven is great too!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Derek-Armstrong/810542963 Derek Armstrong

    I introduced myself to Dreyer last year, and it was an earth-shattering experience for me. I didn’t watch Vampyr, but The Passion of Joan of Arc, Day of Wrath and Ordet all blew me away to greater or lesser extents. (Yes, you can be blown away to a lesser extent.) Speaking of Bergman, this seems to be the guy who influenced Bergman the most.

    Cool Hand Luke and Serpico are each dynamite in their own ways. Yes, I just used the word “dynamite.”

    • http://www.the-frame.com/blog Jandy

      Of Dreyer, I think I’ve only seen Day of Wrath and Passion of Joan of Arc (which I only watched a few months ago). He hits a little on the austere side for me, as does Bergman, which I think is a good comparison. I’ve been warming up to Bergman, though, so I think it’s just a matter of time and rewatching for Dreyer. Vampyr will go over easier for me, I think, just because of the subject – generally films about religious crises don’t do much for me, despite the fact that I’m religious.

      We’ve still got to get to Cool Hand Luke. We keep getting home from work and just collapsing with Weeds and Skyrim.

  • http://travismcclain.blogspot.com Travis McClain

    I loved Pandora’s Box and Wild Strawberries, but you already knew that.

    • http://www.the-frame.com/blog Jandy

      Yeah, I think I did already know that. :)