The True Jaw Dropper - Films I Have Yet to See

by Julia Smith

The shock value criteria for this list:

First - that half of the films on this list are in my longing-to-see category.

Second - as a graduate of Ryerson's film program in Toronto (14 years ago) most people assume I've seen all the great films. (LOL!)

Third - my husband works at Blockbuster, takes home 10 free rentals a week, and has seen almost every film ever made. Example - he's seen The Duchess with Keira Knightly and Ralph Fiennes. I have not. It's a film I will love - once I get a minute...

1 - Taxi Driver (1976) by Martin Scorsese

with Robert De Niro and Jodie Foster

A classic. Cutting edge, character-driven, Scorsese in top form, a hotbed of cultural references - everything I could want. Why do I deprive myself?

2 - Cinema Paradiso (1990) by Giuseppe Tornotore

with Philippe Noiret and Salvatore Cascio

"Every Filmmaker's Favorite Film" says caspian1978 on IMDB. "The ending answers all of your questions and completes the missing pieces to all movies. If the musical score doesn't put you in tears, the amazing visuals will push you over the edge."

This one really is a puzzle.

3 - A Christmas Carol (1951) by Brian Desmond Hurst

with Alastair Sim and Mervyn Johns

The 'definitive' film version of one of my favorite all-time stories. My big problem is that I love the 1984 version with George C. Scott so much. I also love the 1999 version with Patrick Stewart.

I like thinking there's a Christmas delight still waiting for me.

4 - Singin' in the Rain (1952) by Stanley Donen

with Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds

This one was doubly hard to miss, as it was screened at film school. I was working a matinee that day at a performing arts theatre, which was a total drag because I'd been looking forward to it.

5 - The Red Shoes (1948) by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

with Anton Walbrook and Moira Shearer

Torn between the love of dance and her passion for her lover - is that not the perfect film for a ballet freak like me? "Personal relationships are fragile; a dancer's active career can be short. If you have a gift, service to it must come first. Domesticity can wait," writes Silverwhistle from Glasgow on the IMDB. After watching the documentary on the Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo a few years ago, I must watch The Red Shoes as all the stars of that company dance in the film. In their prime!

6 - Cold Mountain (2003) by Anthony Minghella

with Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger

My former critique partner's favorite film. The late 1800's, battle footage, a tragic love story - why am I doing this to myself?

7 - The Seven Samurai (1954) by Akira Kurosawa

with Takashi Shimura and Toshiro Mifune

My husband is a huge fan of samurai films and Japanese manga like the Lone Wolf and Cub series. My hero George Lucas named this film as an influence to my beloved Star Wars films. And still I've never seen more than clips of this masterpiece.

8 - Breathless (1960) by Jean-Luc Godard

with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg

A landmark film that ushered in the French New Wave. "With fast editing and unresolved camera movements, Godard disseminated the very essence of his hero's lifestyle," says Spiros Gangas of the Edinburgh University Film Society.

About time I saw it, then.

9 - An Inconvenient Truth (2006) by Davis Guggenheim

with Al Gore

Preaching to the converted, but I know I'd love it.

10 - School of Rock (2003) by Richard Linklater

with Jack Black and Joan Cusack

There's no good reason why I haven't seen this yet.

11 - Sleepless in Seattle (1993) by Nora Ephron

with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan

Actually, I'm not that much of a contemporary romantic comedy fan. I like them quirkier than this. Like Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! by Pedro Almodovar.

12 - Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) by Audrey Wells

with Diane Lane and Sandra Oh

The people who love this film tell me how gorgeous it is. So maybe one of these days...

I can vouch for the shock value of this list. If you could have seen the look on my mom's face when I mentioned I hadn't seen Casablanca. We remedied that, by the way, my mom and me.

Or on my sister's face when I told her I was putting Taxi Driver at the top of this list.

Are there similar films waiting impatiently for you to watch them?


  1. Of your to-see movies, I have seen only Sleepless in Seattle and School of Rock. I want to see all of those other movies--and some others, too. I also have a bunch of books that I feel I should read, but haven't gotten to yet. Oh, the guilt of the pop culture consumer.

  2. Well at least I don't feel so bad now! I finally finally saw Taxi Driver this year when cable ran it. I'm glad I saw DeNiro on Inside the Actor's Studio first, to really appreciate his contribution to that role. Cold Mountain I agree is excellent, but Under the Tuscan Sun disappointed me. Kind of trite.
    Because my husband won't go to the movies, I have to wait until DVDs release... so Benjamin Button's tops on my Mother's Day wish list.
    And may all the moms out there get some royal treatment on Sunday!

  3. Jennifer - I laugh my head off over most everything Jack Black does, especially the Tenacious D series. So I've got to get on the ball with School of Rock. 'The guilt of the pop culture consumer.' - LOL!

    Cate - I get that feeling about Under the Tuscan Sun. Hope you get to relax and watch your favorite DVDs on Mother's Day!

  4. Joanna,

    Two must sees on your list. Cold Mountain and Tuscan Sun ( both of which I am going to be reviewing on my blog soon).

    Tuscan sun-Never have I wanted to move alone to Italy so bad before! I love how she finds herself again as she remodels her house in a foreign land. It's definitely a great girl movie on a rainy day!

    Cold Mountain- I saw this movie in the theater several times. The first time I cried through out the entire movie. Its undertones, what isnt being said, the sadness,the wanting, the searching. It all hit me hard. I remember when the lights came on, everyone just looked at each other. Apparently I wasn't the only one who felt it. When I got out to the car, I sobbed. While I drove home, I sobbed. To this day, I have to be in the right frame of mind to watch it, so I can emotionally deal with what I am watching. REgardless, Cold Mountian is one of my favorite movies. Yes, You should get it immediately and watch it with plenty of tissues.

  5. Julia, what Ginger said about Cold Mountain. It is a beautiful, heart-wrenching love story, and every time I see it, I sob. Plus, I cry off and on for hours after I see it, thinking about its nuances and replaying scenes in my head (complete with its lovely, haunting soundtrack). Definitely a not-to-be-missed movie.

    And yes, have a box of tissues handy. Perhaps two boxes. :)

  6. Ginger - Films that wring my heart and leave me in tears are my favorite. I'll move 'Cold Mountain' a little farther to the top of my list!

    Thomma Lyn - And I'll make sure to have two boxes of tissues ready and waiting.

  7. I too thought I would love the Duchess but it was not the case. I loved pride and prejudice and any other Jane Austen Novel or anything Kira does and I love period pieces. I had pre-read before seeing this film that the main character is the great grea great great great great great grandmother of Princess Dianna, or perhaps her aunt who had an affair with Earl Grey.
    The story was extremely sad but the problem with it was that it was so drawn out and I believe it to be badly told.

  8. oh and by the way whaaat?
    How haven't you seen signing in the rain or a christmas carol. Sleepless is great as well as Casablanca! Get to it girl.

  9. Murissa - LOL! See? I told you it was jaw-dropper stuff.

  10. Hey Julia: That took guts my dear! especially cuz you're a movie buff! I've gone on about Cinema Paradiso a lot in my blog posts - it's one of my all time favourite films. It's such a beautiful film. I'm sure you'll love it. When I saw it for the first time it just reminded me so much of my parents - My Dad told me he was just like Toto (the little boy in the film) when he was a kid. You'll need a box of tissues when you watch it. I do see what you mean - I have my own list of movies I haven't seen yet but will when I get around to it - like Blade Runner (how could I have missed that one!) Okay gotta hit the video store.

  11. Joanna - *fall over thud* at Blade Runner. Okay - now the shoe is on the other foot!

  12. I saw Cinema Paradiso under protest. Working in Zurich, a friend cooked dinner and made us watch a movie with subtitles!! We all complained but got sucked in. It was great.

  13. One I have yet to see is a recent film called, "Once". A friend raved about it but I have yet to pull it up.

    One I recommend if you haven't seen it is Enchanted April. Truly, I never wanted to visit Italy more than after seeing that movie!

    Great post!



  14. Joy - Cinema Paradiso and dinner in Zurich at a friend's sounds so heavenly.

    Chiron - My husband and I have had people recommend Once to us, as well. Enchanted April - I love the title!

    Joanna - Too bad we couldn't get together and have a Cinema Paradiso / Blade Runner back-to-back screening. Wouldn't that be fun?...someday...

  15. How have you never seen Sleepless in Seattle? Seriously?!! That one is shocking to me. I love that movie!

    School of Rock is a lot of fun too.

  16. Julia~ I have watched The Taxi Driver, A Christmas Carol ('84 version), Sleepless In Seattle (didn't like this one as much) and Under the Tuscan Sun. With the exception of Sleepless I loved these other movies. I too would like to see Cold Mountain. My husband would like the Seven Samurai because he too likes the Japanese culture. He's been to Japan twice. Good Night~


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