Saturday, December 31, 2011

year 3 wrap-up / year 4 preview

Hola, amigos! I know it's been a while since I last rapped at ya...

I don't regret the decision to suspend the blog during the last 2 months of 2011, which I'm hoping turns out to be its penultimate year. Hey, for all I know, 2011 will turn out to be the penultimate year for everything... Anyway, reaction from my real-world friends and associates ranged from “Wow, I can’t believe you were able to STOP,” to “Jeez, are you still doing that movie-blog thing?”

I made it to that Weird Al concert in October, I got to meet the man himself, which was awesome. Got a chance to catch up on some TV, watched the final seasons of "Rescue Me" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent", and the latest rounds of "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race" without the media or the Twitterverse spoiling the identities of the winners. Though despite my best efforts, I'm still 3 months behind on most serialized TV, I just watched the September premieres of the big network dramas. (Where have you gone, Laurence Fishburne and Christopher Meloni?)

Then along came Thanksgiving, the best holiday, since it's devoted purely to eating. Oh, wait, Christmas is like that too, except you also get pres...I mean, get to GIVE people presents (more on that later.) I got my Christmas mix CD out on time, took my annual Festivus Holiday Market Walking Tour, got my shopping done with a few days to spare, and was able to (mostly) relax and enjoy the season. Though a bout with the stomach flu made the days right after Christmas something of a nauseous blur...

I read some books (OK, Clone Wars books, but still, books), winterized the house, even visited my folks for my mother's birthday, got the Christmas lights up, and yes, I watched some movies. Specifically, I targeted some movies on my list that I was fairly certain I had seen before - but, for whatever reason, were total blanks in my mind with regards to plot details. Perhaps I failed to pay attention the first time I saw them, or perhaps the 1,000 movies I've watched in the last three years are more prominent, and my memory is close to full. Either way, I wanted to get them off the list, which is supposed to be for the classic (and neo-classic) films I have NOT yet seen.

So, I took a refresher course in these 15 films (in no particular order): "The Addams Family", "Addams Family Values", "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein", "Dead Again", "Legend", "The Odd Couple", "Singles", "Old School", "Mafia!", “Tin Men”, “Unfaithful”, "Empire of the Sun", "No Way Out", "An Officer and A Gentleman", and "What's Eating Gilbert Grape". Interesting films all, though they won't be reviewed here. One of these films even had a twist ending that I missed the first time around, and I have never, ever seen mentioned in any review. So, that happened. Always watch films until the end, kids, and even after the credits, you never know.

And now, it’s the tail end of the year, the time when everyone makes those “year-end best of” lists, and people seem to fall in line with my way of thinking. The need to break down, re-organize and compile, while offering some form of commentary. Welcome to the party, fellas – I’m like that 52 weeks of the year, thanks to the O.C.D.

The big winner of the year was “Avatar”, I think the only film I watched in 2011 that scored a 9 or above. Which means it tops my list, a mere 2 years after it topped everyone else’s lists. Losers are “Popeye” and “Miss March” – please, never darken my TV screens again.

When I went on break, there were 247 films left on the list, but even with the removal of those 15, the list has continued to grow. Santa was good to me this year, or else family and friends are trying to influence the content of the blog. Plus I got some classics off the TV - which reminds me, I better get the TCM channel fixed before February's "31 Days of Oscar" marathon starts - so the list now stands at 270.

It can be disconcerting, I sort of feel like Richard Gere's character in "An Officer and a Gentleman" after completing 100 push-ups, only to have the D.I. just assign another 50. But 270 is well under 365, so I COULD finish the project this year. However, there were probably at least 30 movies released in 2011 that I'll need to add to the list, so if I take another couple of breaks and settle for 300 films in 2012, I'm looking at Year Five. I guess I just have to try not to add 3 films to the list for every one I watch, which is what has caused it to drag on for so long.

What's on tap for the coming months? Well, first there's a metric ton of animated films to watch, starring cats and dogs and bugs and birds and maybe a lion or two. That leads neatly into fairy tale films and stories from children's lit. Then there's the annual V-Day tribute to romance in all its forms. Then there will be pirates, aliens, time travelers and superheroes, another round of cops, spies and soldiers, plus special tributes to Liz Taylor, Jack Lemmon, and Jimmy Stewart, and a Ben Stiller-thon. And of course, there'll be sport. After that, the random clean-up work can begin.

In October, I hope to start the Hitchcock marathon, then I can assess whether to wrap it up or roll over the Woody Allen films to 2013. That's assuming that the Mayan calendar doesn't run out, and the solar flares don't, umm, flare. (Is it truly better to burn out than fade away?) As Jim Steinman once wrote, “The Future Just Ain’t What It Used to Be”.

You know, I wonder if it isn't for the best. If we keep going, we're only going to keep over-populating the planet and depleting its resources until we'll all just be swimming in waste anyway. I mean, no one wants to get serious about the situation, and we're all content to text and tweet to distract ourselves while things go to ruin. It's no wonder I've got a fatalistic attitude about things, and the dark nature of mankind's existential...

Ooh, look, everyone! Kitties! Cartoon kitties! Aren't they just the cutest?