Monday, May 14, 2007

Building a poll.

Okay. It's been decided that I simply do not watch enough movies. it's not that I don't enjoy movies, but I hate feeling unproductive, and I would rather wax philosophical over a cup of coffee on a date than watch a movie where there is absolutely NO social interaction.

But my strong anti-movie stance is faltering... when I have conversations with friends, I can't join. I simply don't know what the hell people are talking about. People quote movies, and I have no clue where it comes from. Jokes are made at improv shows that reference movies, and I'm the only one in the audience NOT laughing.

I need to dip my toe into that pop culture thing the kids have been talking about.

I have made the decision that I will set aside time to watch movies. I need your help in this endeavor. I have no ideas what movies to watch. I mean, if I am doing this so that I can actually join the pop culture craze, I need to watch the movies that people reference and talk about. I do not need a list of the best movies, or the movies I would most enjoy. I need to compile a list of the movies that most influence our culture.

Since I will watch a movie a week, I think I need a list of 50 movies. Leave a comment here with your list of culturally influential movies. You don't have to leave 50.. if you can only think of 10, leave 10. If you think of more than 50, then leave them. I will be collecting titles from other sources as well, and when I have all the suggested titles pooled together, I will create a poll to vote on them.

But first I need titles for movies that have affected our culture. Movies that are commonly quoted, movies that are used in philosophical debates, movies that "everyone has seen" that are commonly referenced.

Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi; you're my only hope.


Anonymous said...

Do you want us to give you the movie's that we think most people judge to be "influential" or the ones that we actually think are "influential" or the ones that are good, influential or not?

Because if you just want to watch the "influential" ones, you'll be watching lots of crap says I.

Jen said...

It's called "Top 50 Most Culturally Influential Movies".. They don't have to be good to sneak into our culture. Hell, many of them may be aweful. But if I have to sit through "a bunch of crap" to better understand the culture that surrounds me, then I am willing to do so.

Anonymous said...

will you just take it easy, Walter?!

Anonymous said...


I'll try and keep away from the comic book/fantasy/sci-fi genres of movies - I figure that someone else will recommend all of the same ones I would. I don't know if there's another place to put these, but here goes: "Out of the Past," starring Robert Mitchum - if you're a fan of noir, or if you're just interested, check it out. It's one o' the best crafted movies of all time. Also great film noirs: "The Maltese Falcon," starring Humphrey Bogart, "Double Indemnity," perhaps the definitive noir, and "Chinatown", the best modern noir (circa the '70's). Other great noir, or vaguely noir-ish movies include "L.A. Confidential", "Devil in a Blue Dress","Spartan", and, of course, "Sin City". Which I'm not sure would fall under the definition of noir in the strictest sense, but it's certainly a good noir tribute or pastiche. I would be foolish to forget "Touch of Evil," starring Orson Wells as a corrupt, broken down detective and Charlton Heston as a Mexican(!) federale. Again, one of the best movies ever crafted.

It's not a noir, but it's certainly one of my favorites black and whites: "Rashomon". It's a Japanese movie by Akira Kurosawa, the story is a mystery told from several different perspectives - one of the best ever made. Lastly, "To Kill a Mockingbird" is my favorite book, and the movie almost as good. An excellent adaptation - Gregory Peck is extraordinary, and Atticus Finch's (Peck's character) closing statement in court is extremely moving. Also - Robert Duvall's movie debut!

In the comedy area - "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", "The Blues Brothers", and "Ghostbusters" are three of the funniest movies ever made. Oh, and "Purple Rain". Not intentionally funny, but still a hoot and the Prince concert footage is something to behold.

This is getting really long-winded. I'll end with these greats from the past couple of years: "Ali", "The Aviator", "The Departed", and "Children of Men". Besides the usual sci-fi and superhero fare, these are the movies I dig.


peter said...

I think you should also include some of the silent movies from the 20s and 30s.

Buster Keaton's The General and Chaplin's The Gold Rush come to mind.

Jen said...

too late, Peter. Should have commented before I built the poll. :)

Though I may watch them on my own. I love silent characters.

jennifer said...

Jen—What an awesome project! I hope you have a great time with it. Looking forward to seeing which movies make the cut and to reading your impressions after you've watched them.

Cheers! Jen Shepard (John's better half ;]