Turns out, watching 366 movies in 366 days doesn’t leave an abundance of time to blog. I did want to let the internet know that I’m not a failure (at this one specific thing). So here we go: I DID IT! I saw 366 movies this year that I had never seen before! They didn’t have to be new movies, just new to me. Documentaries counted as long as they were full length, and I saw Hamilton, Spam-a-lot, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime on stage that I did not include but probably could have as they were just as culturally significant/lengthy as any movie I did see this year. I probably spent about $2,000.00 in rental fees/movie ticket purchases, gained 50ish pounds, and my girlfriend probably hates me. But hey, I did it!
The goal was to see a full length movie for every day of the year. I didn’t have to literally watch one everyday, so long as I caught up if I missed. The most movies I watched in one day was 7, and the longest I went without watching a movie was 16 days in a row during my peak busy time at work. Thankfully, it worked out that I didn’t need to marathon a ton of movies the last few days of December as I kept up pretty well throughout the year.
So what are the take-aways from this venture? Was it worth it? Would I do it again? Would I change the approach?
Yes, Maybe, No
My list is made up of some truly delightful films – Arrival (ranked 55th on my list) to Zootopia (ranked 27th), to the abysmal dumpster fires -Assassin’s Creed (ranked 365th) to Zoolander 2 (ranked 353)…and everything in between (*batteries not included – ranked dead center at 183)…I watched an enormously wide range of films. Sifting through my list after it was all said and done, I discovered my previously hidden preferences for genres (turns out I fucking love westerns and nothing beats a great horror film)
In order to make it work, I watched a LOT of movies broken up into 2 or 3 viewings. I’m sure when the Coen Brothers were directing Blood Simple (Number 94), their dream audience was enjoying their masterpiece broken into 4 viewings over 3 days.
Sorry guys, I did love it though!
The shortest movie I watched (that I still counted) was Safety Last (ranked 66th) with Harold Lloyd from 1923. That clocked in at 1 hour 13 minutes. Fitting that the most famous scene in that film is Harold hanging from a clock face:
The longest film was the last film I saw, Seven Samurai (ranked 45 on my list) at 3 hours 28 minutes long.
Safety Last was also the oldest movie I saw, followed by Chaplin’s The Gold Rush -1925 (ranked 51).
I kept a running list of the movies I watched on a Google Sheet, and I placed each movie into the list after I watched it, trying to place it in order of how much I liked it compared to the other films on the list. Of course, as this went on it became increasingly difficult. I did reorder some things at the end of the year to adjust my feelings on movies as they sat in my brain over time. I think the movie that jumped the most was either The Babadook (started at like 70, moved up to #25 on my list), or Hitchcock’s ‘Rope’, which I jumped to number 3 overall after watching some other Hitchcock films.
These are the 25 movies that I enjoyed the most out of the 366. That’s how I ranked everything. Enjoyment. Not cultural impact, or technical perfection, just enjoyment. One factor I know weighed very heavily on my decision making was expectation of enjoyment to actual enjoyment. I tried to set the bar low for everything so I could go into every movie with a clean slate mentality, but with movies like Seven Samurai and Citizen Kane, it’s very hard to tell yourself “I’ll just take this for what it is”, when the whole world has told you for 30 years that THIS IS THE BEST MOVIE EVER MADE. So here’s my top 25…oh yeah, the number in parentheses is the order in which the movie was seen. As you can see, The Visit was the first movie I watched and Platoon was 362nd, but they both made the top 10.
12 Angry Men is the movie I enjoyed the most this year. (you can click HERE to see the full list of all the films if you are indeed that interested)
and of course, here are the bottom 25, also known as literally 2 days of my life I’ll never get back:
This list is from the bottom up as it’s a screen shot of my Google Sheet, so Mac and Me is the worst movie I saw (possibly the worst movie ever made). Also, before you break out the pitchforks, that’s the Point Break remake, and 2015’s Heist (not the Gene Hackman film from like 2000). Controversy might be involved with Zoolander 2 and War Dogs inclusion in my bottom 25 as some people liked those movies. You people are wrong. Those movies are dogshit. Zoolander Number 2 is VERY appropriately named, and anyone that thinks War Dogs is a good movie is possibly mentally feeble.
One thing that got my blood boiling about War Dogs is the trailer. The trailer for this movie looks GREAT. The person that cut this trailer is damn talented. This movie is boring drivel. This is the trailer:
I’ve never felt more lied to after leaving a movie.
These next few lists are more for me than you few thousand people that are reading this (just kidding, hi mom!), but I will start off with one list that you should take under advisement if you enjoy really good movies but don’t want to waste your time if it might be a gamble. Here are 5 movies you will enjoy if you watch them. You don’t need to know anything going into them, just find them, put them on, and enjoy them:
- Hunt for the Wilderpeople
- Captain Fantastic
- The Boxtrolls
- The Fundamentals of Caring
- Sing Street
alllllrighty. Here are some lists from this year (all in order from most (1) to least (10))
Most underrated movies I saw this year:
- The Nice Guys
- Get the Gringo
- The Visit
- The Guard
- Midnight Special
Top five westerns I saw this year (I didn’t know westerns were my favorite genre before this challenge!):
- Hell or High Water
- High Plains Drifter
- Slow West
- Bone Tomahawk
- In a Valley of Violence
Top 10 horror films:
- The Visit
- The Thing
- 10 Cloverfield Lane (possibly a thriller and not straight up horror but who cares)
- The Babadook
- Green Room
- The Autopsy of Jane Doe
- Don’t Breathe
- Lights Out
- They Look Like People
(Honorable Mentions: The Conjuring, The Invitation, Sinister, Tales of Halloween, Krampus)
Movies I would place a large bet that you haven’t seen but I enjoyed a LOT.
- Director’s Cut Penn from Penn and Teller made this via Kickstarter and I baked it so I got to attend the Chicago Premiere. It’s not like any movie you’ve ever seen and it’s REALLY funny
- Stretch This movie from 2014 has B movie written all over it: “A hard-luck limo driver struggles to go straight and pay off a debt to his bookie. He takes on a job with a crazed passenger, whose sought-after ledger implicates some seriously dangerous criminals.” I stumbled on it on Netflix looking for a quick movie to breeze through. Patrick Wilson is hilarious and it’s waaaay better than it should have been.
- Rope Everyone is over here talking about Rear Window as Hitchcock’s best thriller. Not even close. Even the director had his doubts “Alfred Hitchcock called Rope an ‘experiment that didn’t work out”. I found Rope to be utterly fascinating with Hitchcock’s use of long takes and hiding cuts via clever editing, and Jimmy Stewart was amazing.
- Tangerine This movie was shot completely on an iPhone and I knew that going in, but I swear you can’t tell. Great story, guerrilla filmmaking at it’s best, striking visuals, just a cool movie.
- Roller Town I would call this David Wain lite. It was so over the top and ridiculous. Not a great movie overall, but some of the scenes were so ‘out of nowhere’ funny, I laughed incredibly hard and it’s worth mentioning here.
- A Perfect Getaway Steve Zahn, Chris Hemsworth, Timothy Olyphant, Milla Jovovich star in this 2009 murderous thriller which feels like two movies thrown together which isn’t a bad thing in this case. Caught me off guard with how much I enjoyed it.
The most overrated movies I saw this year (I’m not linking to these because if you want to find out more, you do the work)
- Zoolander 2 – Much hyped sequel that was just terrible
- The Brothers Grimsby – “From the creator of Borat, Bruno, etc” This move felt like it was trying to be shitty on purpose.
- Hail, Caesar – A series of loosely interconnected stories (some really entertaining) that had no purpose other than to be thrown together somewhat hastily to try to create a plot. I would have rather seen Channing Tatum’s movie within the movie by a LONGshot.
- The Lobster – Beats you over the head with it’s weirdness in a way that Swiss Army Man never does.
- The Witch – I hated this movie because it was marketed as THE BEST horror movie EVER. I don’t know how I would feel about it if I never heard anything about it going in, but the marketing tainted this movie much like War Dogs. This movie is not a horror movie, this movie is an artsy-dark New England folk tale. Ohhh you like it? Hot take: Good for you, go watch Rear Window and tell me it’s not boring. #RopeIsMuchBetterThanRearWindow
One last list for you: My favorite thrillers (another genre I didn’t really know I loved until this challenge)
- Rope (of course)
- North by Northwest
- Blue Ruin
- Midnight Special
- Cop Car
- The Mist
- Cape Fear
- Let me in
Here are a couple movies I saw this year that deserve more attention than they got when they came out for sure:
Rush, The Lincoln Lawyer, Concussion, The Adjustment Bureau, Eye in the Sky, Final Girls, Eddie the Eagle, Don Jon, The Guard, Moonwalkers, Man Up, St. Vincent, Everest, Charlie Wilson’s War.
Happy 2017 everyone.