Saturday, December 22, 2007

A year's worth of five-star movies

I suppose it's creepy that Netflix has a list of everything I've always rented from them, but it's also pretty handy. For one thing, I know that counting the three disks upstairs waiting for us to view them, 79 DVDs have come to this address this year, which amounts to less than $3 a movie. Seems pretty reasonable.

More importantly, it helps me answer that Big Question: What were my favorite movies of the year? That's because I feed its A.I. search engines by rating films, so I only need a couple of clicks to discover that among those 79 disks, there were 12 movies that received five stars from me. Two were films I had seen before but Sweetie had not - but then there were about a half-dozen or so trips to the movie theater. I'd give three of those five stars, but one of them - The Lives of Others - also visited the house via Netflix. So I'm left with 12 movies I watched for the first time this year that moved me to the point where I'd give it my highest rating.

Do you care? Of course you do. It'll get you thinking about your favorites of the year and it will help you decide whether you and I agree on anything or if I'm just some lunatic.

The interesting thing to me is that six of my eight favorite movies of the year were produced in languages other than English. It wasn't so long again that I couldn't vote in the foreign category of the Hardyville Freedom Film Festival (Hey! I just realized ...) because I hadn't seen any of those flicks. I think the breakthrough came last December when I fell in love with Ikiru. (Well, it began much earlier when I first found Gojira and saw how superior that film is to its butchered American cut.)

It's no surprise, sadly, that the first three of these, all movies from abroad, were the only new films I saw this year that made powerful statements about individuals resisting the state. That's a fading theme in my homeland these days. There was no Serenity, no V for Vendetta, no Shenandoah in the English-speaking world this year - at least not that I encountered. (Before you say it, I gave Children of Men a mere four stars. Loved it, but not on this level.)

So, without further ado, here's my five-star list for 2007, more or less in order of favorites, with links to what I've written about them. Yes, some of them are older flicks that I finally discovered:

1. The Lives of Others
2. Joyeaux Noel
3. Sophie Scholl: The Final Days
4. Letters from Iwo Jima
5. Enchanted
6. Waitress
7. Black Book
8. Shall We Dance? (Japanese version)
9. Elizabeth
10. The Italian Job
11. Breach
12. The Bourne Supremacy

There ya have it. That list, and several dollars, will get you a dolled-up cup of coffee at Starbucks.



Anonymous John Newman said...

You ask if you're a lunatic?

Well, you admit to watching 79 movies from Netflix and gawd only knows how many you saw at the movie houses so, to a person that sees maybe one or two movies a year, after they come out on DVD, 'lunatic' seems not a strong enough word.

Obviously the, quotidians have won. ;-)

Merry Christmas, pal.

10:14 AM  
Anonymous A Friend said...

My goodness! Where do you find time to watch 79+ movies in a year???

6:06 PM  
Blogger B.W. Richardson said...

79 movies in 52 weeks? And maybe eight trips to the movie theater in a year? That doesn't sound terribly busy to me.

Doesn't the average American watch something like eight hours of TV a day? You're yelling at me for watching three two-hour movies every two weeks. Fooey on ya! 8-D

6:25 PM  
Anonymous A Friend said...

BW....I'm damn lucky to watch one movie beginning to end without interruptions once every 3-4 months. LOL

11:40 PM  
Anonymous lewlew said...

I don't think you are a lunatic, B.W. I wish I could sit down and finish more movies. I often start one and don't get a chance to finish it before the kids want to send it back. We cut back our Netflix to one disk at a time, because we didn't return them quickly enough when we ordered 3 at a time.

I think of all the time we spend surfing, or catching some tv in an aimless fashion; if channeled, more movies could be viewed =).

I like your list. I haven't watched many movies on it, so I'll queue them up. One of my favorites I saw this year on DVD was Stranger than Fiction. I loved it and would like to own it.

BTW, do you ever use the viewer that Netflix offers? Tee loves it, and he's been able to watch Heroes on it. He'd never watched the show on tv; a couple of his buddies told him how good the show is.

1:15 AM  

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