I’m writing in the field today to discuss our March prompt — reporting from lively Salt Lake City, Utah.
This month we are going to focus on a personal blind spot of mine, films by female directors. Along with this month and going forward I’m going to make a strong effort to focus on films directed by women. I recently purchased Alicia Malone’s “The Female Gaze,” which I plan to use as reference material for upcoming watches. It is ridiculous how few female-directed films I’ve seen.
I don’t have any excuse. With all this information at our fingertips, it’s inexplicable that I haven’t made an effort to tap into these resources until now. The only female director’s career I’ve actually followed has been Sofia Coppola. Penny Marshall, Nora Ephron and Kathryn Bigelow have also made a mark. Besides the Shame, what really pushed me to find female-directed films were some statistics Brian Saur (@bobfreelander) mentioned on Pure Cinema Podcast discussing Film Debuts with director Sean Baker. Brian discussed Elaine May’s A New Leaf. Between 1966 and 1971 no studio produced a female-directed film. In 1979, the Directors Guild of America created the Women’s Steering Committee, which released a study that showed between 1949 to 1979, 7,332 films were distributed through the major studios, of those only 14 films were directed by women and three of them were directed by Elaine May. Those are some shocking statistics, I don’t know the current stats but I assume the improvement has been negligible.
For the month of March, I’m planning to watch these films for the first time:
Ava DuVernay’s Selma
Elaine May’s A New Leaf
Elaine May’s Mikey and Nicky (a pick-up from Criterion’s recent flash sale)
Penny Marshall’s Awakenings
Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women (second pick-up from Criterion’s flash sale)
So for the month of March, let us know the female–directed films you plan to watch. You can reach us on twitter (@CinemaShame) or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. I am looking forward to the discussion and all the discovery.
@007hertzrumble has created a Cinema Shame Shop on Amazon with treasure trove of suggestions for female-directed films you need to watch.
With the Oscars right around the corner and airing on February 24th, it’s time to put forth the annual focus on award winners.
Usually, I enjoy the Oscar season, playing catch up with all the nominees and striving to sneak in a viewing of all the Best Picture nominees, but this year, I haven’t even taken time to watch the one that is accessible on Netflix.
Even though I may not be as hyped about the Oscars this year, I still enjoy the ceremony. I viewed something with an Oscar stamp as a seal of approval. I learned over time, of course, an Oscar nomination or win doesn’t guarantee quality. (If it did then my old James Bond VHS tapes would have been covered in little Oscar statutes.) They were an entryway, a guide for helping me access cinema. Thanks to TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar, I was able to watch dozens upon dozens of Oscar nominated greats… and, well, not-so-greats.
During the month of February, Cinema Shame turns its focus on not just Oscar movies, but Oscar-Winning Performances, specifically Best Actor and Best Actress. Major Oscar performances you have overlooked in the past? Did you not catch Al Pacino’s career-defining (for better and worse) performance in A Scent of a Woman? Maybe you ant to get a grasp on how someone else beat Michael Keaton for his role in Birdman? Ahem. Bruce Dern over McConaughey, as well.
My major resource, besides recommendations from Cinema Shame contributors and the Cinema Shame podcast, will be Danny Peary’s Alternate Oscars. The book goes from 1927 to 1991 and picks alternates for Best Picture, Actor and Actress. I will choose the performances that Peary did not change, which aren’t many. if you got the royal seal of approval from the Academy and Peary, you must be the cream of the crop. I’m picking four of these performances as my Cinema Shames for the month of February.
And the Oscar for my February Cinema Shame… Best Unwatched Best Performances goes to….
Vivien Leigh’s performance in “A Streetcar Named Desire”
Joanne Woodward’s performance in “The Three Faces of Eve”
Joanne Woodward in “Three Faces of Eve”
Daniel Day-Lewis in “My Left Foot”
Robert De Niro in “Raging Bull”
While the prompt focuses on performances, feel free to share other Oscar-related Cinema Shames. Let us know about your choices on twitter (@CinemaShame) or by email email@example.com. We look forward to hearing about your Oscar picks.
Another year, another list of cinema shame. I’m going to start with knocking off John Carpenter’s “The Thing”. I think this movie has been on my list for at least the past three years, so it is time to retire this one from the list. I’ve owned this on DVD and Shout Factory’s Blu-ray edition, sitting on my to-watch pile since that purchase. Below is my shame statement and a little bit of background on why I picked them.
“The Thing” – It is time for me to watch this, as much as I loved Carpenter’s “Prince of Darkness,” then I should be ready to watch this masterpiece.
“Body Heat” – Currently own and was listed in Danny Peary’s “Cult Movies 3.”
“The Stunt Man” – I’ve had the special edition DVD for a while and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Peter O’Toole film.
“Lawrence of Arabia” – Well if I’m going to see Peter O’Toole, then I need to see the best.
“Ride the High Country” – This quote from Neil Fulwood’s book, sold me on it, “The Films of Sam Peckinpah” really sold me on it, “ What he achieved was masterful, a low budget picture which MGM treated like a B-movie but which had a quality of acting, cinematography, intelligence and moral complexity that made it stand head and shoulders above most of the A-pictures fo the day. It elevated the western to art and established an intellectual blueprint for Peckinpah’s career as a film-maker.
“The Quiet Man” – John Ford + John Wayne + a pricey purchase of Olive’s Signature Blu-ray release = I need to watch this.
“Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” – Pure Cinema Podcast’s recent episode on Martin Scorsese made me realize there are huge gaps in his filmography I am overlapping. Which is kind of crazy because along with Sam Peckinpah, Scorses was an early influence in my early film loving days. “Goodfellas” and “Casino” were constant repeats or discussion points with friends. I decided to go with some early work and some of the big films I have missed.
“New York, New York” – Musical + Scorsese = I’m not sure what to expect.
“Cape Fear” – Didn’t realize until a recent trivia contest that De Niro received an Oscar nominator for this performance.
“Age of Innocence” – Keep the Scorses train rolling with this recent Criterion release.
“Nashville” – Long time cinema shame that has been on previous yearly lists, time to take this Altman classic down.
“Tom Jones” – Need to watch more Albert Finney, enjoyed his performance in “Under the Volcano.”
“Moonlight” – I’ve seen bits and pieces of this film and they were mesmerizing. I need to give Mr. Jenkins the respect he deserves and watch this film.
Alright, I think I have enough to last me for the year. I’m sure there will be plenty more to add, as we start the prompts and hear everybodies lists. Here is too many more discoveries over the year and to a neverending list.
2019 means a clean slate. 2019 means a brand new Shame Statement.
To recap, my 2018 list:
Five Easy Pieces Lifeboat Stop Making Sense The Black Pirate Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer Paris, Texas Wuthering Heights Paper Moon Sunrise The Conversation Victor/Victoria Once Upon a Time in the West Ikiru Help!
I could have done better. I am shamed. BUT BUT BUT THE PODCAST. I had to do a lot of work on the podcast! Yeah, but you watched almost 300 movies last year and I assume some of them featured Judge Reinhold. Fine. Fine. I could have watched Ikiru or Victor/Victoria. I put off watching Sunrise because it was announced as a TCMFF 2019 movie. I did have The Conversation in the Blu-ray player a couple of times. And then there’s Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer that’s been on my list for three years now. I should just give up or something and just watch Seinfeld on DVD.
I don’t have time for your nonsense.
Now let’s hash out some new targets for 2019, and I’ll definitely watch all of those plus the ones I missed in 2018. There. Are you happy now?
Maybe. Time will tell. You do constantly disappoint me.
I’ll pull some ideas from my old familiar EW Guide to the Greatest Movies Ever Made, but I’ll also consult some other essential tomes: The Best Film You’ve Never Seen by Robert K. Elder and Danny Peary’s Cult Movies Vol. 1. I’ll denote the book in which the movies appeared with EW, BFYNS or DP. Ready?
Get on with it already. This ain’t Al Capone’s Vault.
Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955) – #25 Drama EW
Dangerous Liaisons (Stephen Frears, 1988) – #31 Drama EW
Aquirre, The Wrath of God (Werner Herzog, 1972) – #13 Foreign EW, DP
Can’t Stop the Music (Nancy Walker, 1980) – Jonathan Levine – BFYNS
Cinema Paradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore, 1988) – #30 Foreign EW
The Last Waltz (Martin Scorcese, 1978) – #5 Music EW
McCabe and Mrs. Miller (Robert Altman, 1971) – #17 Western EW
Tarzan the Ape Man (W.S. Van Dyke, 1932) & Tarzan and His Mate (Cedric Gibbons, 1934) – #5 Action/Adventure EW
Patton (Franklin J. Schaffner, 1970) courtesy of @elcinemonster
Shane (George Stevens, 1953) – #4 Western EW
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (John Ford, 1949) – #11 Western EW
The Right Stuff (Philip Kaufman, 1983) – #83 Drama EW
The Bellboy (Jerry Lewis, 1960) – #68 Comedy EW
The Verdict (Sidney Lumet, 1982) – #55 Drama EW
Plus those that I avoided in 2018, of course. You’re damn right you will.
Time for another year of penance. I know I haven’t been consistently writing, but I definitely am still consistently watching. One thing I try to do each year is expand my knowledge of a genre. Last year it was supposed to be westerns and I managed to get a few first time watches in. This year I’m going to move onto comedies.
The journey into comedies is inspired by my discovery and newfound love of screwball comedies after watching His Girl Friday for the first time in November 2018. I followed up with Bringing Up Baby and His Favorite Wife and wouldn’t you know? I liked something new that I had no idea I would. Hence 2019 will be exploring humor. Here’s gonna be some of them I certainly plan to watch:
The Naked Gun Trilogy – All I’ve seen of these films is the “that’s my policy” bit that spoofs Dirty Harry. That’s all I needed to see to decide it’s finally time to knock these off the list.
Joes vs The Volcano
Inspired by CinemaShame’s very own James Patrick, I hear about how much this film means to him, so I need to see what is going on. I like hearing when movies are special to people that aren’t the usual suspects.
I’ve been working on my Mel Brooks watching for a while now. Yet I’ve still haven’t seen his magnum opus. I own it, so it should be one of the first I knock off this year.
That Thing You Do!
Some more Tom Hanks here.
One of many still unwatched Criterion disc. Also the one Kevin Smith film I was always genuinely interested in.
So this is the opening salvo. Obviously subject to change. Or not at all. Here’s to 2019 and all your first time viewing!