Earning my Stripes as a Cinephile

This project is simple – to educate myself on the gaps in my cinematic knowledge that University didn’t fill.

The idea came to me when I was working at my University newspaper as a volunteer film critic. My editor had recommended a wide array of films, all of which I’d said were “on my list.” Any of you fellow film freaks out there know that, when you say this, it means one of two things:

a) You don’t actually have a list, and your ability to mentally store and organize all of the titles you’re truly dying to watch is sorely lacking. As a result, this sentence (“Oh, yea, that’s totally on my list!” or any variation thereof) pops up regularly in conversation – and you promptly forget about the suggested title, until the same situation replays itself and you utter that sentence yet again. It’s a terrible cycle.

b) You have an actual list. Either one you’ve written yourself (stored somewhere in the bowels of your hard-drive, or written in a notebook you update on an almost daily basis) or an easily compiled format such as IMDb. This helps in the prevention of the aforementioned vicious cycle.

I fell into the former category, and had become tired of it. I felt I was missing out on so much by virtue of being disorganized. And so, I went the easy route – I started a list on IMDb. I have my DVDs organized on an excel spreadsheet. But when it came to this, I figured I needed the system to be idiot proof.

I am going to steadily (with no deadline in mind – this is for my education AND enjoyment) make my way through the IMDb top 250, TIFF Bell Lightbox’s essential 100 films of all time, AFI’s 100 films 100 years, and my former editor’s list of essential classic cinema viewing. I’m also going to explore other genres and types of film. Realistically, anything goes. The object of the experiment is to fill in my gaps in cinematic knowledge – whatever I haven’t seen, or need to re-watch due to either being too young the first time around, or being distracted.

I’m going to write about the entire process – what I think of the films, whether or not I think they deserve their rank on the list in question, if I find them influential or just hype. Whatever comes to mind, really.

I want to be able to call myself a cinephile – to hold my own among those who intimidate me with their knowledge. I want to know more, and I want to know as much as possible. It’s never enough.

So this is my education process. I hope it tickles you some.