My Alternative Movie List is old news to my nearest and dearest, but it’s come to my attention that through my Movie Hero of the Week series, I’ve gained a few new Readers! Welcome! I encourage you to subscribe! I can’t promise regularity or sanity, but I do think you’ll be entertained.
I wouldn’t call A Rhinestone World a “Movie Blog” per se, but it’s certainly a topic I cover regularly. In that vein, since August of 2008 or so, I’ve been slowly attempting to create an Alternative Top 100 list in response to the AFI 100 Greatest Movies, The Entertainment Weekly Top 100, Jonathan Rosenbaum’s Alternative Top 100, and Jonathan Rosenbaum’s 100 Essential Films.
Because it’s fun. And because I find those lists lacking in women, gays, and people of color. In Rosenbaum’s defense, he is absolutely not as guilty of this. Still…a female director is difficult to find. And Rosenbaum has that tone. That condescending tone. So, on some level, I’m looking for movies with a sense of …joy. Not to say that all the movies I recommend will be uplifting. Certainly, some of the films that are likely to be included on my list are particularly devastating. But I dig films that are more than the sum of their parts. And that intangible sense is what I often find wanting in other lists.
If you are at all interested in getting up to date with my project, please check out the following posts:
(Some are located at the ancient, craggy, and cobweb laden digs at my old Myspace blog)
Okay, so that’s basically how it’s gone so far. I’ve watched A LOT of movies since then. I continue to watch a lot of movies. And I get the titles I intend to watch from numerous sources. I go on “kicks”. My Kicks usually involve watching a particular actor’s cannon, a director’s, or movies concerning a subject matter. I usually don’t focus on particular decades (although I do have my favorites) or countries of origin (again, I do have faves). I seek out female directors and screenwriters. I also lean towards fictional stories. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, just a guideline. I also don’t rush off to the theatres to see the newest thing. It’s not my style. If something looks up my alley, then off I go to the AMC but generally, I’m a Netflixer. A dedicated Netflixer. My Netflix membership is older than some of my friendships. I’ve been jamming red envelopes into mailboxes since 2003.
And then Netflix added Watch Instantly. Now, it’s not the most ideal way to watch a movie, but some of the Watch Instantly features aren’t actually available on DVD, so unless your local library has a copy of The Gospel According to Saint Matthew on VHS, Watch Instantly is the way to go.
And yet, Harold Washington is the only place that I can get Celine and Julie Go Boating, that I know of. So sometimes, the library is a saving grace.
What I’m attempting do here is create a list that isn’t just full of excellent filmmaking; it’s full of joy. I want a list that is a joy to watch and to create. And I want more women on it. So on I plug in my quest to create My List. And maybe I won’t even limit myself to 100. Maybe it will be 57. Maybe it will be 203. Who knows? As of right now, my list of nominees includes 229 films. I have a To Watch list that is soon likely to top 500. It contains movies from the above mentioned lists, The British Film Institute’s Top 100, A Feminist top 100, a Gay Top 100 (be careful when googling THAT, I might add.) and also the cannons of many of my favorite actors.
I don’t know what exactly this list will turn out to be, but I can guarantee this:
1. It will be biased.
2. It will be incomplete.
3. And it will be lots of fun to watch.
I don’t have a grand name for this project yet (You’d think after a year and half, I’d have come up with something at least cute.) but for the sake of those who want to follow along (and for the sake of those who don’t) I will tag these posts: Alternative Movie List.
So chat me up about your favorite flicks! Tell me why you love them. And don’t be shy. You should know the Don Knot’s vehicle The Ghost and Mr. Chicken is on the nominees list among “heavier” hitters such as 12 Angry Men and The Magdalene Sisters. Seriously, FEAR NOT! You will not be judged. Likely you will be taken way too seriously, if anything.
Now, a bit on How I watch movies. Typically, and I think you would hope, I watch them until the end. Very occasionally I reach a state of “Done” in which I turn the movie off before it is over. This has happened twice during this project: The Third Man and Five Easy Pieces. “Done” doesn’t necessarily mean I loathed and detested these movies. They just brought me to a state of “I don’t want to watch this anymore.” To be honest, I’m not quite sure why I didn’t turn off Shane or Yankee Doodle Dandy. I certainly did not want to be watching those anymore. Maybe my foot was asleep. Who knows?
I also try to figure out why a certain movie was placed on a List before I research into why, indeed, it was. I don’t do a ton of research or reading for most of the movies I watch. I’m not looking to be “talked into” thinking they are great if they didn’t really strike me as great. However, I always love to discuss them. And if the mood strikes, I will go digging.
Generally, I watch these films alone. Mainly because I am very chatty and will miss most of it, if accompanied. But also no one seems to want to watch Battleship Potemkin or The Seventh Seal on a Tuesday night.
As with any form of art, I bring all my own baggage along with me when I experience it (Many apologies to those of you who shared the viewing of Finding Neverland with me at the AMC on Western way back when. Who knew you’d experience someone else’s personal grief catharsis? Heh.. Whewwww.)
And then I usually have popcorn and fun drink. And most likely yoga pants and a cat or three.
So here’s what I need from you, if you decide to follow along: Let me know what movies you love and hate. Are the movies that you consider Great the same as the movies you love? (This is truly a question I consider over and over during this project.) If you’ve seen a film I’m about to watch (no spoilers!) or one I’ve just watched, let me know your thoughts.
I’m really bringing folks in at the halfway point, here. Very soon, I will post my To Watch List. I warn you, it’s insane. Truly. It is enormous, cumbersome, and ill-advised. Much like most things I take on. And worse yet, I add to it all the time!