Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Enslaved

Last year about this time, Entertainment Weekly published a list of "The 25 Movies You Need to See Before Oscar Night." I perused the list, realized I had already seen 13 of the films, and thought, "Huh. I can do this." With my trusty cohort Norman along for the ride, we blazed through those remaining dozen movies in about five weeks, barely finishing before the Academy Awards were handed out (North Country had disappeared from theatres weeks before and Norman had to wait for the DVD, which was released a scant five days before Oscar night; I, luckily, had caught it the previous fall and thus finished my Oscar cram session with the far superior Pride & Prejudice). I have never felt so prepared for the Academy Awards, and I correctly predicted the winner in nearly every category. A silly accomplishment, but an accomplishment nonetheless.

All year long I've been wondering if EW would publish a similar collection of recommendations for 2006 films, and I have not been disappointed: "The List," as Norman and I affectionately have termed it, appeared in this week's issue. As of this moment I have seen 13 of the movies (those listed in red) and am committed to seeing the other 12 before February 25.

1. The Departed
2. Dreamgirls
3. Babel
4. The Queen
5. Letters from Iwo Jima
6. Little Miss Sunshine
7. United 93
8. Little Children
9. Notes on a Scandal
10. Flags of Our Fathers
11. The Last King of Scotland
12. The Devil Wears Prada
13. Borat
14. Blood Diamond
15. Volver
16. The Pursuit of Happyness
17. Venus
18. Children of Men
19. Pan's Labyrinth
20. Half Nelson
21. Thank You for Smoking
22. The Painted Veil
23. Stranger Than Fiction
24. Hollywoodland
25. For Your Consideration

Last year EW specified that the descending order of The List reflected their guess as to how likely the film was likely to be nominated for something; they didn't do that this year, but it seems likely that they were operating under that principle again. I find it interesting that there are no documentaries on The List, even though 2006 was a terrific year for documentaries. There are only two foreign films included, and both of them are from Spain (although last year's List included but one foreign film, Cachet, which turned out not even to be eligible for the foreign language Oscar). Until Monday night, the only movie I really didn't want to see was Venus, that gag-inducing Peter O'Toole vehicle; since the Golden Globes and Sacha Baron Cohen's acceptance speech, however, I am now dreading Borat as well. The two films I'm most worried about finding in time are Flags of Our Fathers, which is at the discount theatre in town right now but could disappear at any moment, and Stranger Than Fiction, currently playing 'way out in West Hollywood and two farther-flung locations. I think it's unlikely that Stranger Than Fiction, in particular, will get any noms, but that's not the point: the point is to see every movie on The List, and to see as many of them as possible together. Until February 25, Norman and I are enslaved to The List.

We're going to a movie tonight, but is it anything we need to check off The List? No, of course not -- we're seeing a revival of His Girl Friday. I'm not quite sure when we're going to fit all this moviegoing in.

For the record, I think Children of Men was the best film of 2006. So far.

1 comment:

area51 said...

What !?!

Snakes On A Plane didn't make the list !?!?!