Our Previous Film Docket

This idea of making a docket of films as a sort of informal film history crash course isn’t a new one.  We did it a couple of years ago, albeit on a smaller scale, before we moved to LA.

The movies on our first docket were pretty arbitrary.  We basically sat down and said, “What movies do people talk about all the time that one or both of us haven’t seen?”  We wrote down any we could think of until we got to 50, then we put ’em into chronological order and watched ’em.

Looking back, it’s a surprisingly comprehensive list, given the laxity of our process.  It’s also a pretty rich list.  Nearly every movie on it offered something compelling, and we only outright hated one of them.  Titles in bold we liked a lot — they were pleasurable as well as historically noteworthy.  Titles in bold italics we loved.

(For this loose ranking system we employed a consensus rule.  Titles could be bolded only if we both felt strongly about them, and italicized only if we were complete agreement.  For instance, Abigail loved “Floating Weeds,” while I only really liked it — thus, it’s bold but not italicized.  I loved “The Big Sleep,” but its — admittedly deep and perplexing — story issues frustrated Abigail, preventing it from any distinction at all.)

The films, in chronological order, are as follows:

  1. Dr caligari (1920
  2. Nosferatu (1922)
  3. Battleship Potemkin (1925)
  4. The general (1926)
  5. Sunrise (1927)
  6. The man who laughs (1928)
  7. Man with a movie camera (1929)
  8. L’atlante (1934)
  9. It happened one night (1934)
  10. Grand illusion (1937)
  11. Rules of the game (1939)
  12. Citizen kane (1941)
  13. Casablanca (1942)
  14. In which we serve (1942)
  15. life and death of colonel blimp (1943)
  16. Brief encounter (1945)
  17. Notorious (1946)
  18. The Big Sleep (1946)
  19. Tokyo story (1953)
  20. Night of the hunter (1955)
  21. Wild strawberries (1957)
  22. Ashes and diamonds (1958)
  23. Elevator to the gallows (1958)
  24. The Horse’s Mouth (1958)
  25. Hidden fortress (1958)
  26. Floating weeds (1959)
  27. The 400 Blows (1959)
  28. Breathless (1960)
  29. Jules et jim (1962)
  30. Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962)
  31. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  32. 8 ½ (1963)
  33. Loves of a blonde (1965)
  34. Closely watched trains (1966)
  35. Wings (1966)
  36. 2001: a space odyssey
  37. Aguirre (1972)
  38. The Ruling Class (1972)
  39. Solaris (1972)
  40. A woman under the influence (1974)
  41. Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)
  42. Barry Lyndon (1975)
  43. Mirror (1975)
  44. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
  45. The Ascent (1976)
  46. Mad Max (1979)
  47. Come and See (1985)
  48. Orlando (1992)
  49. Volver (2006)
  50. Fish Tank (2009)

Not a bad list, all in all, and a deeply enjoyable one.  I defy anyone to watch the twenty-odd bolded titles and not be thrilled by the medium.

Stay tuned for our new docket, coming up as soon as I’ve put the list into chronological order.  It’s a daunting one, and we’re horribly excited about it.


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