Announcement: The Movie Project, Part Two is in the works!

Last year’s 50 Movies Project was a roaring success, and my initial post even made it to the Freshly Pressed section of I made the mistake, however, of neglecting the project during its initial stages and ended up doing a mad dash to the finish line during the last few months. While I watched a lot of excellent films, the project pretty much consumed my life near the end of the year.

After learning from my experience, I have decided to do another movie project with some revisions in mind. This time around I will watch 25 movies with an increased emphasis on major figures that I am not entirely familiar with. While the initial project helped me greatly in many different ways, it showed me that I still have A LOT to see and learn about. I am sure that I will never be fully satisfied, but marathons such as these certainly help stay focused on my goal to indulge on all things cinema.

For the second edition of the Movie Project, I would like to get some thoughts from YOU, my loyal readers. I have a rough set of ideas already in place, but further input would be much appreciated. Please let me know if you have any suggestions/improvements to this outline. Thanks!

1) A film by John Waters
– I am leaning toward Pink Flamingos, as it seems to be his most renowned work. Plus it is playing at a local theater next month, which should be fun.

2) A film by Fritz Lang
– M, Metropolis, or something else?

3) A film by Jim Jarmusch
– I have seen most of Coffee & Cigarettes, but I’m not sure where to go after that. Ghost Dog? Broken Flowers? Stranger Than Paradise?

4) A film by John Cassavetes
– I keep hearing great things about Shadows. Is there a better starting point?

5) A film by Sam Peckinpah
– The Wild Bunch and Straw Dogs seem to get the most love…

6) A film by Pedro Almodóvar
– I would like to see The Skin I Live In, but is there a better film to start with?

7) Early work from David Cronenberg
– I have seen A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, but I want to see some of his early films. Perhaps The Fly?

8) An early film from Werner Herzog
– I should watch Aguirre: The Wrath of God at some point.

9) Another film from Billy Wilder
– I loved Sunset Boulevard and Double Indemnity and really want to see more from Wilder. I am sure I will see more than one this year, but for the sake of the project I am leaning toward Some Like It Hot or The Apartment.

10) A James Bond film
– Can you believe I have never seen a Bond movie? I hear Casino Royale is the best, so I will probably start there unless there is a better recommendation.

11) A film starring Rita Hayworth
– I need to see for myself what Jack White obsesses over. Gilda or The Lady Shanghai seem like great choices.

Here are some other movies that have caught my eye, all of which I am eager to see:
Blow Out
To Kill a Mockingbird
Lawrence of Arabia
The Blues Brothers
Singin’ in the Rain
The Bourne Identity
Modern Times
The Pianist
Paris, Texas
The Lives of Others
Cinema Paradiso
All About Eve
The Sting
On the Waterfront
The Searchers
Into the Wild
Enter the Dragon
The Truman Show

So what do you guys think? What movies should I absolutely include? I will cut this down to 25 titles later this week and post my final list shortly after. Thanks for any help you can provide!

31 thoughts on “Announcement: The Movie Project, Part Two is in the works!

  1. Pete says:

    A lot of great choices on there! From the bottom list and what I’ve seen, I’d say The Blues Brothers, Singin’ in the Rain, Modern Times, The Lives of Others, Cinema Paradiso and The Truman Show are must-sees and very enjoyable! Don’t worry too much with Bond though Casino Royale is good, Live and Let Die is a personal fave. Some Like it Hot is great but haven’t seen The Apartment. I reckon you should go for 50 again, that was some achievment and I enjoyed your thoughts and final list! Good luck with the new list! Looking forward to it!

    • Eric says:

      Hi Pete, thanks for weighing in with your thoughts! I was tempted to do another 50 since I have a full year, but I didn’t want to pile it on again like I did last time. If I tear through these 25, I might opt for another batch, but we shall see. Thanks again!

  2. pgcooper1939 says:

    From Fritz Lang, I’d recommend “M”. For Cronenberg, “The Fly” is awesome. Form Wilder, I really liked “The Apartment”. My fav Bond film is “From Russia With Love”, but “Casino Royale” is great too.

    As for the rest, you gotta love “To Kill A Mocking Bird”, “Lawrence of Arabia”, “The Blues Brothers”, “The Bourne Identity”, “The Lives of Others”, and “All About Eve” are all great.

    • Eric says:

      Thanks man! For Lang, I will probably end up seeing both M and Metropolis this year. I would include both in the project, but I am trying to go for maximum variety. Appreciate your input on the rest — The Blues Brothers is almost certainly a lock for the project. It is blasphemous that I haven’t seen it considering so much of it was filmed here in Chicago.

  3. jsicktheslick says:

    I’m not a huge movie buff, but I would say it’s easy to look to foreign films to find something completely different from what we normally see in the USA. Try some Japanese horror films (not the Ring/Grudge), or perhaps an Indian title. They can really give you a new view on things.

    • Eric says:

      Yeah, I would like to expand into more foreign films as well. There are a few listed above (M, Almodóvar, The Lives of Others, Cinema Paradiso), but I could probably include more. Japanese horror is a genre I am interested in but haven’t seen much of other than some of the big names. Do you have any suggestions as to strong, lesser known titles?

  4. Castor says:

    Great idea Eric. Definitely do check out The Lives of Others, The Pianist and Modern Times.

    Now, I can’t believe that you haven’t seen any Bond movie. I would suggest starting from the first one but if you must, then begin with Casino Royale so you can see Skyfall later this year.

    • Eric says:

      Thanks Castor! Somehow the Bond films have eluded me over the years. I vaguely recall watching Goldeneye when I was younger, but I don’t remember anything about it. I considered starting at the beginning, but I keep hearing how Casino Royale isn’t just a great Bond film, but a great film in general. Right now that’s looking like my best bet.

  5. Carlene says:

    I vote for the Truman Show and the Pianist. But that’s cause those are the only ones I know, and that’s why I can’t wait to watch the next round of great movies with you.

  6. rtm says:

    WHOA!! No I can’t believe you have never seen a Bond movie! I grew up watching those, and have a penchant for espionage movies. Casino Royale is one of the best, but I’d suggest watching one of Connery’s classics like From Russia with Love. In fact, how about watch one from every Bond actor to start with?? 😀

    From your list, I’m most inclined to try one of Billy Wilder films. I’ve been meaning to see ‘Some Like It Hot’ myself. And from your list of movies, well of course I’d recommend To Kill A Mockingbird, but I also love Cinema Paradiso, The Truman Show and all of Bourne movies.

    Best of luck, Eric!

    • Eric says:

      Haha yep, somehow I have never seen a Bond movie. I think it would be cool to see how the series has evolved over the years, so I may end up seeing more than Casino Royale sooner rather than later.

      Maybe we could arrange something where we both catch a Wilder film and then write about it on our blogs on the same day. That could be fun… thanks for the other suggestions, too, Ruth! They are all looking like locks for the final 25.

  7. John says:

    Oh man, there’s a lot to chew on here.

    1) I can’t speak to John Waters. I’ve seen that one he did with Johnny Knoxville, and it was… interesting. But apparently tame by his standards. I’ve heard the rest are out of this world with wackiness and possibly repulsive acts.

    2) If you’re only going to do one Lang, I’d go with M just because it’s more accessible. But they’re both incredible, amazing films. I’d also add the The Testament of Dr. Mabuse into consideration.

    3) When I think of Jarmusch, I think of Dead Man as the one that’s most representative of his work. The only one of his that I’ve full-on disliked has been Stranger than Paradise.

    4) I don’t think you could go wrong with any Cassavetes, personally. Shadows has a bit of an avant-garde flair to it (just a tiny bit) and feels a lot like classic foreign arthouse cinema, even though it’s a US film. I’m partial to Killing of a Chinese Bookie, but like I said- they’re all great.

    5) Both of those are awesome Peckinpah films. I prefer Straw Dogs, but you can’t go wrong. And there’s also Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.

    7) Believe it or not, The Fly is sort of middle-career Cronenberg. He’d been around for a decade or so before that. Videodrome is fun, The Fly is fun, Shivers is a blast if you like b-movie horrors, and The Brood is a trip.

    9) Some Like it Hot and The Apartment are both slam dunks, definitely the best place to start with Wilder. Actually, anything from Wilder is good, at least from what I’ve seen. And that’s almost all of his movies through 1960.

    There’s my big long-winded answer. Hopefully it’s helpful and not boring.

    • Eric says:

      Hi John, thank you very much for that comment — it was very helpful, and not boring at all! With your suggestions in mind, I have a better idea of the direction I want to take with this project. I can already tell that some directors (Cronenberg, Jarmusch, Wilder, etc.) are ones that I will want to see more of than this list will allow. At least I have some great starting points now. Thanks again!

  8. Jaina says:

    You’ve never seen a Bond film!? Colour me all kinds of shocked! I would say, YES with Casino Royale, but feel like you’re missing out on a really good classic Bond, by not going back a few decades. Maybe see where it all started from?

    The Bourne Identity is a great choice too – modern thriller/action film with Matt Damon making a surprisingly good action hero. Also approve of The Truman Show – one of my all time favourite films.

    I’m doing my usual 100 movies challenge this year – watch 100 films that are new to me. While I don’t have a specific list I need to hit, I just try and cram as much as I can in a year!

    • Eric says:

      Hi Jaina, thanks for the suggestions! I think I will start with Casino Royale and then maybe dig back into the history of Bond. Maybe even see one film with each Bond for comparison’s sake, as Ruth suggested above.

      Glad to hear that The Bourne Identity and The Truman Show have your approval. I think I will go ahead and include both (and probably catch the entire Bourne trilogy at the same time).

      I like the idea of your challenge. That’s a fun one — no restrictions, and unlimited possibilities. Best of luck!

  9. fogsmoviereviews says:

    I’m glad to see that people are beating you up for never having seen a Bond film. 😀

    My faith in the blogosphere is restored.

    Casino Royale is a perfect jumping in point for someone who’s never seen one. Its modern, its well done, its a first film for a new Bond….

    But you should check out Goldfinger at the least out of the Connery Bonds. Its a classic.

    Of your miscellany at the end, I would say these are also “must sees” at some point:

    To Kill a Mockingbird
    The Blues Brothers
    Singin’ in the Rain
    The Sting
    On the Waterfront
    The Searchers
    Enter the Dragon

    All the films you had listed are worthy, but I think those above would be the most likely to earn you a “YOUVE NEVER SEEN ______?!?” LOL

    • Eric says:

      Haha, yeah my lack of Bond experience seems to be getting the biggest “WTF” reaction so far. Sounds like Casino Royale is the way to go for my first viewing.

      Thanks for the suggestions, dude! I may need to expand my list of 25 to get all of these in…

  10. Matt Stewart says:

    Cannot wait to read more from this project! Agree with Fogs’ comment, those are some fantastic films he listed.

    On a side note, i’m glad you are going to look more into Billy Wilder, I need to do so myself as Sunset Boulevard is in my top 10 favorite movies. Love it!

  11. Kyle says:

    1. Pink Flamingoes is… unique. If you want something more accessible, I’d go with Cry Baby, but Pink Flamingoes is definitely worth experiencing.

    2. M is fantastic, but I’d go with Metropolis, it’s one of the most stunning pieces of cinema you’ll ever see (a hyperbolic statement maybe, but I stand by it). Also, not essential, but somewhere down the road you should watch The Big Heat, as it is awesome.

    3. Stranger Than Paradise is about the most Jarmusch-y Jarmusch film, so it might be a good place to start. Down By Law has the stark minimalism and tells more of a story, so that might be a better introduction (Mystery Train is also a lot of fun, relatively speaking).

    4. I’m also behind on Cassavetes, I’ve only seen Killing of a Chinese Bookie and I don’t recommend starting there.

    5. The Wild Bunch is one of the most batshit, awesome westerns ever made. Period.

    6. If you’re going to jump into Almodovar, I’d start with Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, it’s probably the purest examply of his style there is (although it’s pretty hard to go wrong with him).

    7. Also behind on Cronenberg’s early work, so I’m of no help here.

    8. Ditto Herzog.

    9. I know you want variety, but seriously, see both.

    10. About a year and a half ago I made a point of watching every Bond film starting with Dr. No and ending with Quantum of Solace and then doubling back to catch Never Say Never Again and the David Niven version of Casino Royale. It took a long time, but was crazy fun. If you don’t want to do that (why wouldn’t you?!) Casino Royale is one of the best Bond films, that or any of the first five Connerys.

    11. I’ve only seen Gilda. Meh.

    The rest of that list is gold, Blow Out excepted (not a huge De Palma fan). Are you still reading this?

    • Eric says:

      Hi Kyle, thanks for the great suggestions! I have the list narrowed down but I am seriously thinking of just expanding it to 50. There are so many movies I want to see; it feels wrong to just pick either M or Metropolis, so I will likely add both (same goes for Wilder). As far as Waters goes, I just want to see for myself what the “King of Trash” is all about. I get the feeling that I probably won’t enjoy Pink Flamingos, but maybe I will be surprised. Thanks again for your help. I will have the full list posted this week.

    • Eric says:

      Not late at all, Nostra. I keep hearing great things about Cinema Paradiso and I am really looking forward to checking it out.

      As for Korean movies, I have a ton of them in my queue that I am eager to see (Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, The Chaser, The Good The Bad The Weird, etc.). I may to have add some to the official list.

      • John says:

        All three of the films in Chan Wook-Park’s vengeance trilogy are fantastic, but Lady Vengeance was my favorite. It sort of reminded me of a Scorsese film- think the boxing scene in Raging Bull- because it toes a brilliant line between beauty and gore.

        • Eric says:

          Awesome, can’t wait to see it. I loved the first two in the trilogy, but haven’t had the chance to see Lady Vengeance yet. I may have to just go ahead and include it in the project.

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