I am slightly ashamed to admit I haven’t seen many of the movies film aficionados consider to be the ‘best of the best.’
As someone who would like to work in the film industry one day – as a writer, producer, actor, etc. – I should be more familiar than I am with the movies many consider to be the most influential.
I’m 24 years old and I have never watched “Psycho,” “Schindler’s list,” “Lawrence of Arabia” or “Raging Bull.” The closest I’ve ever come to “2001: A Space Odyssey” is situating my Volkswagon in the space next to a 2001 Honda Odyssey in the parking lot.
It’s not that I have anything against these films, but when I’m in the mood to watch a movie, I usually stick with what I know (here’s lookin’ at you ‘10 Things I Hate About You’). When I am up for something new, however, I prefer to visit the ‘New Release’ section of my Netflix account instead of the ‘Classics.’
However, there are a few pieces of celebrated cinema I have actively tried to avoid over the past few years.
I’ve successfully managed to excuse myself every time a friend suggests we spend the next 238 minutes watching “Gone with the Wind” and have been careful to avoid TVs around Christmas for fear of being forced by my family to watch reruns of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
In the past, I’ve felt as though I knew enough about the plots of these films and could, if absolutely necessary, talk about them with some degree of intelligence. I knew I could mutter something about ‘not giving a damn’ or ‘every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings’ and move on.
But recently, my lack of film knowledge has been a little embarrassing.
Yes, I can recognize when a TV show parodies the horse head scene from “The Godfather” and I know ‘Rosebud’ is a reference to “Citizen Kane.” However, I couldn’t begin to explain why a rosebud is relevant or what that bloody head was doing in the bed in the first place.
So I made myself an offer I couldn’t refuse.
In an effort to expand my cinema knowledge, I am going to watch the top 20 movies on America Film Institute’s 2006 list, “100 Years…100 Movies.”
Check it out here and let me know which your favorites are. And as I write about my reactions, feel free to comment or recommend new titles for me to watch.
I don’t know about you, but I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.