Challenge extended

August 18 2008 at 9:43 pm (Uncategorized)

The shame list has evolved. Originally, the challenge was to see every film in the 2007 edition of the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die by the time I was 35. But despite this book being compiled by 65 film critics, I realised that there must be other films of note that I should see that had to be omitted. So I looked for a second opinion. And a third, and a fourth, and so on.

I’ve incorporated as many film lists of note that I could find and put all the films I have yet to see in one big list. There are inevitably overlaps where a film appears in more than one list; this allows me to prioritise – the more lists that a film appears in, the more important it is that I watch it. I’ve included both critics’ lists and readers’ and viewers’ polls to give a broad spectrum from highbrow, art house stuff to films that normal people (that is, non-critics) have seen.

The lists I have used so far are:

1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die (ed. Steven Jay Schneider) – 762 films yet to see
The Guardian’s 1000 films to see before you die – 726
The IMDb top 250 (as at 10 August 2008) – 101
The Times top 100 films of all time – 45
AFI’s 100 years… 100 movies (10th anniversary list) – 40
BFI’s top 100 British films – 75
Channel 4’s 100 greatest films – 43
Time magazine’s all-time top 100 movies – 72
Empire’s top 100 movies (readers’ poll) – 14
Total Film’s top 100 movies (readers’ poll) – 10
Time Out centenary top 100 – 77
Time Out readers’ top 100 – 53

Taking all of that into account, I have 1,221 films left to watch at the time of writing. I think that’s comprehensive enough. Because there are now so many films, I haven’t yet decided on a new time frame. The most important film I have to watch appears in all but one of the lists which is, strangely, The Times’ list not the AFI’s list – both America and Britain are claiming Lawrence of Arabia as their own. I promise I shall watch it soon. Oh and I’m deeply shocked that my favourite film has only appeared in only one of those lists. One day, everyone will appreciate just how good The Truman Show is.

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