Ain’t that a shame: 2018

I post my writing at Are You Thrilled, but you might have seen me around on Twitter talking about movies at So Long Holly via @movielovebogart . This list has been pulled and pushed, items deleted, replaced, and added back in. Tonight, in the spirit of being decisive, I will leave the list as is, and keep the others for alternates to watch when (if) the first dozen are finished. I watch countless films in a year’s time, but I am such a scofflaw when it comes to yearly resolutions. So let’s have at it–there is no time to lose!

  1. The Deer Hunter

In 2017 I had a list but did not officially post it. The two I remember from that list are Raging Bull , which I wrote about in a stand-alone post, and The Deer Hunter. Here is a clip featuring the late John Cazale

 

It is intense, and violent, well beyond what I usually watch. I know, I know, I can be fluffy inside when it comes to violence. But I am told that at my age it is truly shame-ful to not have seen Deer Hunter, so I will gear up with popcorn and Southern Comfort, and hubby will tell me when to cover my eyes.

2. Johnny Dangerously

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So 2018 is still shameful.

In 2017 not only did I tackle a great many Shames, I also started the Cinema Shame Podcast. As a result, I checked off some unforeseen Shame and helped others scratch their biggest itches.

As a refresher here was my 2017 list (watched):

The Magnificent Ambersons
Five Easy Pieces
The Gold Rush
It’s a Gift
The Black Pirate
Ride the High Country
My Darling Clementine
The Postman Always Rings Twice
Rope
Lifeboat
Friday the 13th
Stop Making Sense
The Commitments
Viva Las Vegas
Zatoichi: The Long Game (completed Zatoichi 1-10)

Additionally I watched the following as a result of the Podcast:

Fatal Attraction
Godfather Part III

Not too bad, if I do say so myself. But that merely sets up 2018 to be one of the most Shameful years in moviewatching history. The Shame! rolls ever onward. Behind every Shame! is another Shame! and still another and still another… you get the picture.

To compile my list for 2018, I took a slightly different approach. Like past years, I consulted by Entertainment Weekly lists and carried unwatched Shame! over. For 2018, however, I solicited lists from my followers on Twitter. Send me your favorite movies, I said! The first four responses contributed to my 2018 Shame Statement.

My trusty Shame! companion:

EW GUIDE TO THE GREATEST MOVIES EVER MADE

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And now on with the shame.

Five Easy Pieces (Bob Rafelson, 1970) – #20 Drama

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Carry over from 2017. I can think of no logical reason I’m avoiding Five Easy Pieces. It’s on my Criterion shelf, readily available.

 

Lifeboat (Alfred Hitchcock, 1944)

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More carryover. A few more Hitches and I’ll have seen all of his sound films.

 

Stop Making Sense (Jonathan Demme, 1986) – #15 Music

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Carryover. Sigh. I’ve built this concert film up in my brain so much that I keep waiting for conditions to be perfect for viewing.

 

The Black Pirate (Albert Parker, 1926) – #8 Action

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I’ve seen my share of Errol Flynn swashbucklers. After seeing Fairbanks’ Zorro on the big screen earlier this year, I’m jazzed to catch up on some of his other films. I’m considering a Quadruple Shame! of The Black Pirate, The Crimson Pirate (1952) starring Burt Lancaster, Vincente Minnelli’s The Pirate (1948), and The Pirate Movie (1982). Maybe I’ll plan an entire week of Pirate movies. Hrm.

 

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (John McNaughton, 1990) – #13 Sci-Fi/Horror

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I know plenty about this movie and no part of me wants to watch it. I even swapped it out last year for Friday the 13th without hesitation.

 

Paris, Texas (Wim Wenders, 1984) – courtesy of @emily_dawn

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Wenders is a bit of an enigma for me. I’ve seen a couple of his films and they were fine, but I slacked off after that and Paris, Texas fell by the wayside despite *knowing* I needed check this box. When @emily_dawn shared her favorites list with me and I saw Paris, Texas up at the tippy top, I knew its day had come. #DoItForHarry

 

Wuthering Heights (William Wyler, 1939) – courtesy of @Journeys_Film

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All signs pointed to Wuthering Heights this year. The Pure Cinema Podcast recently lauded Wyler’s film. While digging up Orson Welles information for an upcoming Cinema Shame podcast, I read a fair amount of criticism linking Wuthering Heights and The Magnificent Ambersons. Then Kristen came at me with her list of favorites and Bob’s your uncle.

 

Paper Moon (Peter Bogdanovich, 1973) – courtesy of @arbogast1960

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No excuses. I love Bogdanovich. I own this movie on Blu-ray. I even have the soundtrack on vinyl. I guess I just needed a kick in the pants from @arbogast1960.

 

Sunrise (F.W. Murnau, 1927) – courtesy of @wez_Luigi

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Another obvious choice. @wez_Luigi made me aware I’d forgotten about F.W. Murnau’s masterpiece.

 

The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974) – courtesy of @ElCinemonster

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Fuel for an upcoming Cinema Shame episode courtesy of @ElCinemonster.

 

Victor/Victoria (Blake Edwards, 1982) – #24 Comedy

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I consulted the EW Guide for my highest rated unwatched comedy. I’ve been meaning to watch Victor/Victoria for many moons.

 

Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968) – #16 Western

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Yeah. Clearly an oversight.

 

Ikiru (Akira Kurosawa, 1952)

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I’ve watched a lot of Kurosawa. Clarification. I’ve watched a lot Kurosawa samurai films. I could fill an entire year of Shame! with the non-Samurai Kurosawas I haven’t seen.

 

Help! (Richard Lester, 1965) – #4 Music

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The EW Guide ranked Help! above A Hard Day’s Night. So I had to see about all the fuss.

 

Ongoing Long Plays:

Zatoichi Criterion Box (Various, 1964-1973)

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I watched the first ten last year, time to finish the job.

 

Third Time’s a Charm? (Shame Statement 2017)

Listen, if they can reboot the Spiderman franchise 3 times with each successive series of films being BETTER than the last…ok obviously we don’t know if Spiderman: Homecoming is actually going to be any good but this analogy started off poor and it’s not getting any better so I’ll just halt it now…

Every new year holds the promise of great accomplishments to come. For the past two January’s I have posted a list of films that I want to watch and write about here on this blog. For the past two years I have petered out after one or two decent entries. (Actually the Spiderman franchise analogy does work pretty well here.) I have barely made a dent in my list of cinema shames over these past few years and I really want to turn that around in 2017 so I’m giving it another go.

I look forward to seeing all of your entries in the new year, and being inspired to finally tackle this list!


January – Selma
February – The Stunt Man
March – Smokey and the Bandit
April – Lawrence of Arabia
May – The Man with the Movie Camera
June – Chinatown
July – High Noon
August – Animal House
September – Rope
October – Breakfast at Tiffany’s
November – Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
December – White Christmas

Cinema Shame

Hello, and happy to be here.

I’ll start with my list and expand from there.

  1. The Birds. If we’re talking the word “penitence, I’d like to start with my true penitence: I feel terrible about eating poultry every time I see flocks of birds. I don’t want to give a whole speech about veganism–and I’m not currently a vegan, though I was for a while–but when I saw the call to participate in Cinema Shame on Twitter, I wanted to volunteer from where I’m actively penitent. So: sorry, birds. I live in an area where there is a very large bird population (the middle of Staten Island, New York).
  2. Across the Universe
  3. Groundhog Day
  4. Wet Hot American Summer
  5. Staten Island Summer
  6. Withnail and I
  7. Diary of a Teenage Girl
  8. Beauty and the Beast
  9. La Dolce Vita
  10. Mallrats
  11. Deadpool
  12. Ghostbusters

 

 

So I’m back to fight the evil Shame in ’17

I screwed the pooch last year. I drafted an elaborate Shame Statement from here to Baja, California and I made a wrong turn at Albuquerque. Okay, I lied. I made a wrong turn in Columbus, Ohio, likely when I needed a White Castle fix.

We don’t have any White Castles in Pittsburgh, okay!?!?

I don’t want to get into the ways in which I failed my Shame Statement. It would just be rehashing old wounds. Instead, I’m going to move on. I’m going to move on from 2016 and all that mess and my blown Shame Statement. 2017 is a new year. New Shame. New rules. No more Mr. Nice 007hertzrumble.

Let’s get back to the basics. 12+ movies. 12 months.

I’ve again consulted my handy dandy Entertainment Weekly Guide.

EW GUIDE TO THE GREATEST MOVIES EVER MADE

I’ve lost the benefit of free will this year due to my failings in 2016. For my first Shames, I’m taking the first unwatched entry in each genre and moving forward.

DRAMA:

#1. The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942) – #16 Drama

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Honestly, I’ve never felt shame for not having seen The Magnificent Ambersons, but the book shames me. So I will oblige.

 

#2. Five Easy Pieces (Bob Rafelson, 1970) – #20 Drama

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I’ve planned to watch Five Easy Pieces for years, decades. I’ve just never done. I’ve owned the film on DVD and I just recently upgraded to Blu-ray. That makes sense, right? I’ll watch it twice to make amends. I watched a few clips during film school and the sense of having seen it probably proves detrimental to the actual, legitimate watching.

 

COMEDY:

#3. The Gold Rush (Charlie Chaplin, 1925) – #25 Comedy

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Another film school casualty. In fact, I could probably blame film school for my woeful lack of Chaplin, whereas I’ve devoured both Keaton and Lloyd. Having seen dozens of individual moments from Chaplin films, my memory gets a little foggy regarding the ones I’ve actually watched start to finish.

 

#4. It’s a Gift (Norman C. McLeod, 1934) – #29 Comedy

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The TCM Slapstick Fall class sold me on catching up on my W.C. Fields education. I’ll retitle this section of my Shame Statement “It’s a Shame!”

 

ACTION/ADVENTURE:

#5. The Black Pirate (Albert Parker, 1926) – #8 Action

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Apparently I’m pretty well versed in Errol Flynn, so the Book has dictated that Douglas Fairbanks requires attention. So it goes.

 

WESTERN:

#6. Ride the High Country (Sam Peckinpah, 1962) – #7 Western

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There’s only so many times I can write about how I’m going to watch this movie. And I’ve hit that limit. It’s not like I don’t like Peckinpah. I REALLY LIKE PECKINPAH. And it’s not like I haven’t watched dozens of B-level Randolph Scott movies. BECAUSE I’VE WATCHED DOZENS OF B-LEVEL RANDOLPH SCOTT MOVIES.

 

#7. My Darling Clementine (John Ford, 1946) – #10 Western

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I bought the Criterion Collection edition of My Darling Clementine for just such a Shameful occasion.

 

MYSTERY/SUSPENSE:

#8. The Postman Always Rings Twice (Tay Garnett, 1946) – #8 Mystery/Suspense

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Postman currently resides on my DVR, which is handy.

 

HITCHCOCK

#9. Rope (Alfred Hitchcock, 1948)

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It’s a Hitchcock movie starring my favorite actor. SHAME. All caps.

 

#10. Lifeboat (Alfred Hitchcock, 1944)

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I figure one good Hitchcock movie set in one spot deserves another.

 

HORROR:

#11. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Friday the 13th

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Truth time. I really don’t want to watch this movie. I’ve been told to watch this movie. I’ve read how amazing it is. Everyone seems to think this movie is the absolute bees knees. I’ll save this for October and my 31 Days of Horror Movie Marathon when maybe I can trick myself into watching this by putting it in the Tremors 4 case.

I even recorded a podcast about it. 

MUSIC:

#12. Stop Making Sense (Jonathan Demme, 1986) – #15 Music

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When one of my favorite bands has done a rockumentary and I haven’t watched it that’s pitch-perfect SHAME, friends.

 

#13. The Commitments (Alan Parker, 1991) – Personal Pick

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This is a movie that fits squarely in the “I’m going to f’ing love this” box and I haven’t seen it. I know it might not be your particular ball and chain, but knowing I haven’t watched this weighs heavily on my conscious.

 

#14. Viva Las Vegas – (George Sidney, 1964) – Elvis Shame

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1964 Elvis and Ann-Margret, directed by George Sidney. Time to fix this oversight.

 

LONG PLAYS:

Zatoichi Criterion Box (Various, 1964-1973)

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I started this endeavor last year. I did not finish. Carry on, Zatoichi.

 

I’m determined to take on 2017 with everything I’ve got. No more Mr. Passive Resistance. I’m here to kick some Shame butt.

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My Cinema Shame – Macao (1952)

Macao

It’s obvious that, after 2 years on this site, I suck at the whole scheduling thing. I have hundreds and hundreds of movies in my collection, and I can put together numerous lists of them that I tell myself I’m going to watch, and it’s likely not going to happen. So this year I’m foregoing that aspect of the Shame. Instead, I’m simply going to pull unwatched movies from my stockpile when the mood hits me, watch them, and write about them. To kick off my writing this year, I finally cracked open the Robert Mitchum Signature Collection box set I bought a few months ago for $20.  The set includes 6 of Mitchum’s films, and I decided my first watch would be his 1952 film Macao.

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The movie opens with a man being chased through the Macao waterfront by a group of Chinese thugs. He gets knifed in the back and falls into the water dead.  The dead man was a NYC cop, and the thugs work for American casino owner Vincent Halloran (Brad Dexter). Halloran is trapped on Macao because of international warrants for his arrest. His crew includes right hand man Itzumi (Philip Ahn) and moll Margie (Gloria Grahame). They’re all anxious because they’re expecting a runner to come back from Hong Kong with the money from the sale of some jewels. Halloran has someone down at the docks waiting for the ferry.

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Meanwhile, on the ferry, we’re introduced to Nick Cochran (Mitchum), a former Naval lieutenant who’s been bouncing around the world for the last 5 years because of some trouble in his past. He meets Julie Benson (Jane Russell) after she hits him with a high heeled shoe accidentally. They both then run into salesman Lawrence C. Trumble (William Bendix). When they arrive in Macao, they immediately attract the attention of Halloran’s man, police Lt. Sebastian (Thomas Gomez). Sebastian is convinced that Cochran is in fact a New York cop who has come to Macao to get Halloran beyond the three-mile territorial limit so he can be arrested.

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Everyone I’ve mentioned up to this point are central to the plot of Macao. The film is labelled a Film-Noir (and it does share some of the same features of a Noir), but it’s an exceedingly breezy affair. Clocking in at 81 minutes, the movie never lags, moving quickly towards the end. It’s also very light for a Noir, with some humour (largely due to William Bendix).  This may very well be the result of a change in directors, when producer Howard Hughes fired Josef von Sternberg and turned directing duties over to Nicholas Ray (though von Sternberg’s name remained as sole director in the credits). von Sternberg was, by all accounts, a harsh director, going so far as to ban eating on the set by everyone working on the film. Mitchum, however, ignored this, and always brought food to the set for everyone.

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There’s a lot to like about Macao. The performances of the cast are great, and they have an energy that helps the movie go by very quickly. It says something about the performances that you can’t tell that there was discord on the set. The story could have used a bit more polish, but the movie is very enjoyable, and the cast easily overcomes whatever shortcomings there are in the film. It’s definitely not your usual Film Noir, but that’s to its strength, I think. It well deserves a watch or two.

So… I am super shamed in 2016.

You’d have thought that after two years of Cinema Shame treatment I’d feel slightly less guilty about the films I hadn’t watched. Nay! NAY! I feel more guilty because not only do I have movies I should have watched but I also have movies I should have watched that I’ve put on Shame! lists and still haven’t watched! Shame ^ 10.

2014 Cinema Shame List / 2015 Cinema Shame List

I did eliminate two-time offenders Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Deer Hunter. Huzzah! At least I completed my 2014 list in 2015.

Entering 2016, I’ve made a vow to watch more of the unwatched films currently in my collection. This proves tangential to my vow to take control of my unwieldy stash of DVDs and BDs. I’ve run out of space on my shelves. I’m double stacked. There’s bins in the closet. This is the year I enjoy what I’ve amassed. This is the year that the movies watched exceeds the new acquisitions.

In theory, anyway. The best laid plans of mice and obsessive DVD collectors and all that jazz. This year, I pay my penance for overextending my budget and my available space. This year, it’s the grinder.

Now, I present my 2016 List of Shame.

1. The Red Shoes (1948, Powell & Pressburger)

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After hearing nothing but hyperbolic praise for The Red Shoes, I purchased the Criterion Blu-ray during the last Barnes and Noble sale. It’s time to see what the fuss is all about.

 

2. Hitchcock Shame! Rope & Lifeboat

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Hitchcock always gets the shaft when I sit down to watch a flick. I’ve seen bits and pieces from dozens of films I studied in school. Consequently, I rarely feel compelled to make them a priority. Here are two Hitch classics, viewed in film school bits and pieces, but never in totality.

 

3. Spartacus (Kubrick, 1960)

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Much like Ben-Hur two years ago, I feel like I’ve seen it even though I clearly haven’t. 2016 is the year I own up.

 

4. The “Other” Adventures of Antoine Doinel! Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board, & Love on the Run

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I’m a big fan of Truffaut. I’m a big fan of The 400 Blows. Yet the rest of Antoine Doinel’s adventures sit on my shelf unwatched. No excuses.

 

5. Aki Kaurismäki’s Criterion Eclipse Sets

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Proletariat: Shadows in Paradise, Ariel, The Match Factory Girl

Leningrad Cowboys: Leningrad Cowboys Go America, Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses, Total Balalaika Show

I counted La Vie de Boheme among my favorite first-time watches of 2015. I abruptly went out and picked up Kaurismãki’s Criterion Eclipse sets. Bring it on, Aki, you Finnish deadpan fiend.

 

6. Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

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Point of clarification: I’ve seen the first Zatoichi film. It’s time to watch the *gulp* other 24.

 

7. The Complete Fritz Lang Dr. Mabuse – Dr. Mabuse, der Spieler, Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse, & Die 1000 Augen des Dr. Mabuse

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The Complete Mabuse set from Masters of Cinema is gorgeous. Yet, all I’ve done is admire the thing. Break the seal.

 

8. Warner Archive Backlog – Any 10 WAC Titles

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A case of my eyes and moviewatching aspirations are bigger than my available watch time. I have an entire shelf of Warner Archive titles. They’re shamefully unopened. SHAME! It’s a good thing WAC stopped having those 5 for $50 sales or I might have had to watch 20. (I don’t mean that. It’s a terrible, horrible, no good thing.)

 

9. The Essential Jacque Demy

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Auto-buy because I love The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Well, I’ve watched The Umbrellas of Cherbourg but I’ve yet to view Lola, Young Girls of Rochefort, Bay of Angels, Donkey Skin or Une Chambre En Ville. At all. As in I’ve never seen any of them. I had Young Girls of Rochefort in my DVD player once. But I never actually hit play. SHAME.

 

10. Cinema Shame Horror Shame-a-thon 2016!

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We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. I can’t be bothered with this yet.

 

11. Batman Television Series

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I cracked this open immediately after purchase and watched one episode. I’m still dying to know what happens in episode two. So maybe I won’t finish this, but let’s try to make a dent, okay? Maybe a little nick. Let’s just watch some Batman and see where it goes.

 

12. Unfulfilled Past Shames

1. Take the Money and Run (Woody Allen Shame!)

2. What’s Up, Doc? (Bogdanoshame!)

3. Ride the High Country (Peckinpahah Shame!)

4. The Guns of Navarone (Essential War Shame!)

5. Big Heat (Noir Shame!)

6. Fellini Satyricon (Fellini Shame!)

7. Ikiru (Kurosawa/Criterion Shame!)

8. Five Easy Pieces (Everyone-Told-Me-I-Need-To-Watch-It Shame!)

9. Viridiana (Bunuel Shame!)

 

So that’s it. Whattya think, sirs?

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