1001 MOVIES YOU MUST SEE BEFORE YOU DIE
So the other day I was perusing the Barnes & Noble website, when I came across this cool new book: 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. (Click here to see the book or purchase.)
WOW! Okay – I had to get this book. I consider myself a movie buff. Granted, I don't see everything under the sun but I do see a lot of movies. And I wondered how many of the 1001 movies I had already seen and what was I missing. (It also helped the cover has Indiana Jones on it – my first true love.)
I emailed the link to Man with a PLEASE?!? Which translates to the big puppy dog eyes. As girls, we learned to do this with our Dads to get what we wanted and by the time we're 30+ and have a man in our life, we've perfected it so well, we can do it via email. ;)
Anyway, so he ordered the book for me just in time for my post here at popculturedivas Convenient timing, eh? The book is Ginormous. I don't know what I was expecting but certainly not something so...big. It's a hardback book with a dust jacket and 960 pages of Moviedom, complete with a handy checklist at the front. This is the October 2008 edition, by the way.
And so on Friday when the book arrived, I tore open the box with glee and then began my two-hour long perusal of the book. It's jam-packed with photos, a little synopsis of each movie and opinions by contributors, starting with a silent movie released in 1902: Le Voyage Dans La Lune (a.k.a. A Trip To The Moon). I can personally say I've never laid eyes on this movie but there are some iconic pictures that are widely recognizable. The Moon with the missile-like spaceship right in its eye, for example. According to the book, the movie "represents a revolution for the time" and clocks in at only 14 minutes. But at the turn of the century, there weren't movie theaters with stadium seating and THX sound in every major town.
There's a long list of silent-era movies through the 1920s. But in 1927, cinema history was born again with the first "talkie" - The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson. It introduced innovative changes in the industry, revolutionizing Hollywood and changing the way movies were viewed and made. As the 1930s and a Depression-Era world was ushered in, people used the movies to escape their lives. Movies such as Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), 42nd Street (1933) ("the grandmother of backstage musicals"), The Thin Man (1934) (the popularity of Nick and Nora spawned numerous copies such as McMillian & Wife and Hart to Hart) and so on brought the world imagination, humor, horror, singing, dancing, and romance.
You'd expect to find movies like Casablanca (1942) (offering up tons of quotable lines), Gone With The Wind (1939) (the director burned down the old King Kong sets for the burning of Atlanta), Captain Blood (1935) (who can resist the dashing Errol Flynn?), The Wizard of Oz (1939), and other classics. Even Disney makes the cut with Snow White (1937), Dumbo (1941) and Pinocchio (1940), as well as a few others.
On the list of Movies I'd Forgotten About:
The Red Shoes (1948)
Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
But you're probably thinking, That's all well and good, Michelle, but what about more current movies?
You're right of course. I get caught up in the classics because, for me, they defined the cinema. They made movies what they are today. And sometimes we forget the old and replace it with the newer, bigger, better, louder, more visually awesomey awesomeness. The men today are not as dashing and debonair (Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart) and the women aren't as classically beautiful (Greer Garson, Ingrid Bergman) as they were in Old Hollywood.
But I digress…
On the list of Movies I've Seen More Than Once After the Year of my Birth:
Star Wars (1977)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Blade Runner (1982)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
The English Patient (1996)
Die Hard (1988)
Lord Of The Rings (2001, 2002 and 2003)
Of course, this is merely a partial list. I wouldn't want to bore you. ;)
Most notably absent from the book: Pirates of the Caribbean (2003), Superman (1978), Star Trek (ANY Star Trek!), Excalibur (1981), Sex and the City. How can these not make the cut? Okay, granted Superman wasn't all that spectacular and perhaps Sex and the City is too "girlie" for the big list of 1001 movies. But Star Trek? And Pirates? Not even a mention? I'm disappointed in that.
I can't say I'll see everything in the book – some are too difficult for me to sit through (A Nightmare of Elm Street  for one, though I did see it WAAAAY back when it was in the theater. Through my fingers. Does that count?). I do find, though, the book a great challenge for a movie-goer like myself. I'd love to check off the movies in the book, for fun, to see how many I really have seen. No, I haven't yet but you can believe I will. Man and I thought it would be a fun thing to do (and he was very happy that Mad Max  was in the book as well. Haha)
So – what would be on YOUR personal list of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die?
Michelle Miles is an avid movie watcher, writes romance, drinks coffee and collects shoes. You can learn more about her books at http://www.michellemiles.net.