Saturday, December 27, 2014

2015 Blind Spot Series: My Selections

Sometimes, we all wanna do what the cool kids are doing. In 2015, and for the now complete 2014, all the cool kids are participating in the 2015 Blind Spot Series headed up by Ryan McNeil at The Matinee. This year, yours truly is going to join in on the fun. I'm in no way suggesting that I'm a cool kid. I'm just going to do what they're doing and at least act like one.

The premise is simple enough for even me to understand. In case you're unfamiliar with it, I'll give you the Dell Notes version. Pick out a dozen movies of some significance that, for some reason, you haven't seen yet. Watch one each month and create a post about it. "Some significance" basically means it's a movie that's been deemed one you should see by most people. So, while you might really want to see Die Hard Dracula, I don't think that quite fits in with the spirit of the series. By all means, watch it anyway. Just post about it on your own time. Or just read my post about it...and comment...anyhoo, moving on.

I've scoped out a number of similar posts to this one where my fellow bloggers announce the movies they'll be watching for the series during the coming year. Some have let their readers vote to decide what they'll watch, some picked a specific time period to focus on, and some went down the list of imdb's top 250 and chose what they haven't seen, yet. For me, I'm going to dive into my own personal DVD collection. I've got roughly 800 titles in my private inventory. There are probably three or four dozen I haven't seen yet. Enough of those are of "some significance" for me to make a list for 2015. I haven't pinned down what order I'm going to watch them in, so here they are alphabetically...

Eight Men Out
This shows up near the top of lots of lists of the greatest sports and/or baseball movies ever made. I'm a movie buff and a huge baseball fan. I must see this.

The French Connection
Probably the biggest shame in my collection. I've owned the DVD for several years, it's hailed as one of the greatest movies ever made, yet I've never been moved enough to pop it in and press play. Sad.

From Hell
Not as acclaimed as most other movies on the list, but the last missing piece of the Hughes Brothers' filmography (at least, of their work together). I love their three other full length features: Menace II Society, Dead Presidents, Book of Eli and have fun with their documentary American Pimp. Might as well see them all.

Glengarry Glen Ross
Another one that I've owned for a while, but haven't watched. What makes it even more egregious is that I was in sales for about five years and at several of my stops people who seem to have no interest in anything other than getting in your pockets have recommended this movie to me.

The Great Escape
At the risk of going all broken record on you, I've had this one sitting on a shelf in my living room for a number of years. The only reason this isn't the biggest shame of my collection is because I've owned The French Connection for a longer period of time.

Manos: The Hands of Fate
Many have told me that this is the worst movie ever made. I'd say that's of "some significance." I also own, and watched several times, the other worst movie of all time - Plan 9 From Outer Space. I desperately need to compare. With any luck, this will be so bad it's awesome!

The Outlaw Josey Wales
I keep seeing this on lists of the best westerns ever made. Plus, it stars Clint Eastwood. I fully intended to watch this within days of buying this. About three years have passed. Sigh.

The Phantom of the Opera
I'm familiar enough with the story that I basically know it. I even saw a telecast once, years ago, of the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical. Yet, I've never sat down and watched the 1925 original silent film version. Let's fix that.

This isn't a true blind spot, but it still needs fixing. By that I mean, I've seen most parts of this movie by catching bits and pieces here and there on TV over the years. Still, I've never sat down and gave it a proper viewing.

I think Darren Aronofsky is a terrific director. I've seen four of his six features, missing The Fountain, and this one, perhaps his most critically acclaimed. It's often cited as one of the best movies of the 1990s. I'll be the judge of that.

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut
As a kid, I thought Superman II was the greatest superhero flick ever made until Tim Burton's Batman came along. In 2013, I revisited the entire Superman franchise, and I don't think it surpasses its own predecessor. There are a lot of problems with it. Many of them directly attributable to the mid-filming firing of director Richard Donner. The battle between Donner and the Salkinds, the producers and owners of the rights to the character. Though the actual movie came out in 1980, Donner's cut surfaced in 2006. I finally got my hands on it a few months ago. Just haven't time to give it a go. Now, I'm making time.

They Call Me Mister Tibbs!
Of all the movies I plan on tackling, this is probably the least significant. However, it is the sequel to a movie at least as important as any of these, 1967's In the Heat of the Night. I've seen that and probably every episode of the legendary TV series. Why not be a completist and take in this one?

Am I in for a good year of movie watching, or what?


  1. Picking out movies from your DVD collection is a smart move. I did the same thing with mine this year, where I only had one (All is Lost) that I didn't already have and that one I had been meaning to get anyway. Similarly for next year I only have two now I don't already own (Kill Bill and Fight Club) and I know both will be easy to obtain for low prices, and that's assuming Kill Bill is taken off American Netflix before I get to watching it.

    I will go out and say that you'll probably enjoy The Outlaw Josey Wales. That was a great western that goes in some... interesting directions. Eastwood is a man of action and you can definitely see that here. That's probably the one I would most recommend from your list.

    You might remember I did The Great Escape as my first blindspot this year, and I also wrote a fairly positive review of it. I've also seen Pi, which was really weird. I'm not entirely sure I understood the movie, but I was a lot younger when I saw it so it might be worth giving another chance at some point, especially since I've grown to respect a lot of other surrealist directors since then. For some reason it took a screening of that plus The Fountain and Black Swan before I finally learned that I should never expect a straight forward narrative from Darren Aronofsky.

    Funnily enough, I have also seen the original Phantom of the Opera, we saw it for one of my classes. It was a bit strange, and may seem a bit campy by modern standards but if you're a fan of the later versions (which I have not actually seen) it should be an interesting experience to see the original.

    1. Yeah, Aronofsky is a different type of storyteller, but I enjoy his work. You should be able to find Kill Bill and Fight Club just about anywhere. I can't imagine you having a problem getting your hands on either of those. Glad you liked The Great Escape. I'm looking forward to all of them, but that one and The French Connection, in particular.

  2. That's smart to pick from your own collection, you don't have to worry about someone hoarding the DVD from Netflix. lol

    1. I figured I might as well start with what's right under my nose.

  3. Good list ... I'm thinking about doing one of these too. I've only seen The Great Escape and Philadelphia. Pi looks very intriguing!

    1. Thanks. Pi does look intriguing. I've heard some interesting things about it. Can't wait to watch it.

  4. There's about half of these films I haven't seen like The Great Escape, Manos, Phantom of the Opera, The Outlaw Josey Wales, They Call Me Mr. Tibbs, and the Richard Donner cut of Superman II. That is a good and varied list. I hope you have some fun doing this.

    1. I should. I've been telling myself I'm going to watch each and every one of these for quite a while, now.

  5. Interesting diverse list! Pi is an odd yet captivating little film, love it. Can't go wrong with The Great Escape, one of those entertaining WW2 films to see on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The screenplay and performances in for Glengarry Glen Ross are the main attractions, and you'll probably like it if you don't mind the profanity. Look forward to the reviews next year!

    1. Thanks! It' seems I have picked some worthy films. Can't wait to get started. Btw, I'm a big fan of Scorsese, Tarantino, Spike other words, profanity doesn't bother me.

  6. Great list, and I like your way of thinking. I haven't seen all of these, but you're in for a treat with Glengarry Glen Ross and The French Connection. Two fantastic films right there.

  7. Great picks, you have some fine viewing ahead. Scripts don’t get better than Glengarry, and The French Connection is just that good.

    1. Yay! I'm very excited to see what awaits me.

  8. I like your lists a lot Wendell and I have decided to join this event for the first time as well. Also, I love the idea of using the DVD's you own for this Blind Spot challenge, so I will probably do the same thing as you except for different movies.

    1. That's the easiest thing for me. I don't have to worry about rounding anything up so I can watch it.