I have confessions to make, but I’ll get back to that. Let me tell you a little bit about myself first. My name is Nick Alderink and I’m a recent Screen Arts and Cultures graduate from the University of Michigan trying to keep myself busy to avert a slow slip into madness. If there’s a less pretentious way to say that it would be, “Hi, I’m a former film student and this is my blog”. That’s right, I have a blog now. I’ve taken off my shades of self-judgement to publish something for all to see. I’ve decided to put myself at the mercy of possibly millions of internet users who wish to read the ramblings of a man with 23 years of life experience (Oh, God, what have I done). But I’m also a man with a passion, and that is, of course, movies. I can’t get enough of them, which is going to make this blog as well as the project I’m working on a hell of a lot easier.
I’m getting ahead of myself a bit. Let me tell you about this mysterious project of mine. Now that it’s that time of year for resolutions to come and go, I’ve created this blog to pressure myself into finishing my own or else face the wrath of judgement from all those that are reading. But my own resolution is probably a bit different from what you are expecting. It does not involve exercising or doing anything that may better my health in any way. In fact, it involves hours worth of stagnancy. Nevertheless, I will be indulging a passion of mine I’ve had since I was a child and writing (a second passion) about it every step of the way. Here it is: I’ve set this goal for myself to watch 365 films this year. That’s right, 365 friggin’ movies. The kicker: they must all be films that I have never seen before. Has your opinion of me changed yet?
Now it’s time for my confessions. I grew up around a Catholic family so confessions should come easy to me but as a lover of movies this is embarrassing to say.
Here it goes,
I’ve never seen E.T, I’ve never seen Caddyshack, I haven’t seen any of the Monty Python movies, I’ve only seen parts of Jaws and Animal House on T.V, and I fell asleep during Godfather Part II.
There it is all out on the table.
There’s a certain reaction people have when I tell them I’m color blind or allergic to peanuts, which is to question how I’ve lived my life up to this point. The reaction they have when I say I haven’t seen these incredibly popular movies is oddly similar. These may sound like silly confessions and I’m sorry if I had built up some sort of anticipation to this but it’s films like these that instantly ruin the small amount of validation I have when I explain I’ve studied film. Nevertheless, I have found joy in discussing the obscure movies I have actually seen and throwing out recommendations to those who find it interesting how I’ve decided to dedicate my life up to this point.
Yet, this project of mine is not about validation. I’ve heard film professors constantly explain that I should be watching movies every day, for studying them will in the end make me a better filmmaker, but I’ve come to question if my aspirations of working in the film industry actually rely on the amount of movies that I’ve seen. I’ve also come to question what it really is about the act of viewing films that makes me the most satisfied.
This becomes the groundwork.
I look to question everything there is about the movie experience, find what makes it exciting, find what makes it boring, find what heightens the experience, and find what hinders it. Does having something to eat or drink make watching a movie more fun or is it just a blissful distraction? What about watching a movie with friends and loved ones? Are there really 1001 movies we must all see before we die?
And finally, will having these titles under my belt really change the way I view the industry or shape my ideas of quality. Over time, in viewing this site what you’ll come to find is an earnest dedication to film and an examination of the common troupes found through the history of film that have had an effect on our lives whether we’ve realized it or not.
That sounds way too serious. There will also be humor because being serious is something I’ve never quite learned to grasp. You’ll learn that pretty quickly from me and in time my humor may make sense to you whether I make you laugh or not.
What else you’ll find in these blog posts will be brief reviews of new films and how they compare to past films within similar or opposite genres. To conclude each post will be a Top Five list with further recommendations related to the theme. This first Top Five, however, will be recommendations for myself.
Five Films I’m Embarrassed To Say I’ve Never Seen
2. Animal House
4. Caddy Shack
5. Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
And the Wild Cards for films that don’t quite fit into the Top 5 but are worth considering:
6. Godfather Part II
7. Monty Python’s Life of Brian
By next post I will have seen these films and perhaps my life will have more value. Until then, I hope to fill my time with as many other movies as humanly possible.
If you care enough to track my progress you can follow me (Nick Alderink) on Letterboxd (http://letterboxd.com) where I’ll be posting other reviews and comments on films that may not come up in this blog.
Until next time, goodbye and happy viewing.