In the interest of getting “hard” copies of my work under one roof, I plan to spend the next few weeks posting the entire archive of my film journalism here on ScullyVision. With due respect to the many publications I’ve written for, the internet remains quite temporary, and I’d hate to see any of my work disappear for digital reasons. As such, this gargantuan project must begin! I don’t want to do it. I hate doing it. But it needs to be done. Please note that my opinions, like everyone’s, have changed a LOT since I started, so many of these reviews will only represent a snapshot in time. Objectivity has absolutely no place in film criticism, at least not how I do it.
Every film lover carries with them a dark secret, and it comes in the form of a “Shame List.” As much as we’d love to see all of the movies, it’s a sad fact of life that we will only see some of the movies. There’s just not enough time in the day. But there are some movies that everyone, especially film buffs, needs to see, and if we haven’t, it goes right on the Shame List. For example, just this week I watched Schindler’s List for the first time after a lifetime of telling myself “ehhhhh I’ll get to it.” Well Friday night I got to it, and it was absolutely incredible. I wonder how I lived without having it in my brain for so long. Not only was it an unforgettable viewing experience, but the act of removing it from my Shame List was a pleasurable purge in and of itself. As a result, I’d like to start chipping away at my list, and in keeping myself accountable, I’d like to share some items off of my list with you.
Braveheart (1995 – dir. Mel Gibson)
My shame: Not only have I never seen this movie, but I’ve been pretending to have seen it for years. I have no reason to live this lie, yet I continue to do so simply because I haven’t been caught. Any Braveheart-based conversation I’ve ever been involved in has been thankfully shallow on details, limited to phrases like “It was awesome!” and “say what you will about Mel Gibson, but the man can direct a film!”
Why I haven’t seen it: It’s just so darn long.
Casablanca (1942 – dir. Michael Curtiz)
My shame: This film has played as a midnight feature at least 3 times locally and is pretty much universally available to watch at any given moment. I know that this is the film from which “Play it again, Sam” was drawn, but I also know that that’s a misquote. Almost everyone I know has suggested I watch it, yet I never do. Of all the gin joints…
Why I haven’t seen it: No excuse. I always sit down with the intention of checking it out, and then I watch something else. Something new. Oddly, I love watching older films, but it’s always an internal struggle to press play. I fear I have a problem.
Toy Story (1995 – dir. John Lasseter)
My shame: I’ve seen a Toy Story 3, but I’ve only seen the first two entries piecemeal. I’ve loved every Pixar movie I’ve ever seen (I even dug Cars), and I know that this is the one that started it all, but I never am in a situation where I have the desire to watch it. Even my niece feels older than it now, so a babysitting situation won’t correct my shame.
Why I haven’t seen it: For some odd reason, if I don’t see a Pixar film in the theater, I don’t see it. Also missing from my Pixar education are Ratatouille, Wall-E, Inside Out, Monsters University, and A Bug’s Life (My allegiance to Antz is unassailable).
Cool Hand Luke (1967 – dir. Stuart Rosenberg)
My shame: I first resolved to see this film when John Cusack’s character in Serendipitycited that it was his all time favorite movie. This means that I have seen (and enjoyed) Serendipity, but not Cool Hand Luke. In fact, I own Serendipity and have seen it multiple times, yet have not ever set aside two hours for what is considered an absolute classic.
Why I haven’t seen it: I’m tempted to blame my unwavering love of hard-boiled eggs, but that’s weak.
It’s A Wonderful Life (1946 – Frank Capra)
My shame: Every Christmas season I declare that this year will be the year that I watch America’s seminal holiday classic, and then I get caught in the A Christmas Story time loop, usually at the will of my extended family who are content to watch it multiple times within a single day. I will never understand this. A Christmas Story is good, but it’s easily the most played out movie of all time in my estimation. I’d happily never watch it again, especially if it means I get to watch It’s a Wonderful Life just once.
Why I haven’t seen it: Because Die Hard.
Alright, gang, open up. Tell me your of your shame in the comments.