1. La Dolce Vita - This film is right at the top of my list of movies I feel like a dick for not having seen yet. The fact that I haven't has to do with the fact that my early, limited experience with Fellini was not especially pleasurable. I started with Fellini Satyricon -- a choice I believe even the most aggresive Fellini fan would agree was a bad one -- and then went on to Amacord. I actually did like that one well enough, but there are certain elements of Italian cinema, and Fellini films in particular, that I don't really get along with: the grotesqueness, the broad humor, the general bigness of it all. But later, much later, I went ahead and watched Nights of Cabiria, and loved it. And I realized that when someone uses the word "Fellini-esque", they're talking about something I'm probably not going to care for, but that doesn't describe all of Fellini's own films. And I'm thinking that La Dolce Vita falls more in line with Nights of Cabiria. So up in the queue it goes.
2. The Stepfather - This was written by Donald E. Westlake. And it stars Terry O'Quinn. And look, O'Quinn's face is all bloody. So make with the region 1 DVD, you sonsabitches!
3. Babe: Pig in the City - I know, this movie is supposed to be better than anything, and kids should see it so you don't have to teach them about death yourself or whatever, but I'm gonna be honest with you: when it comes to seeing animals killed and/or abused in films, I'm a humongous pussy. I do not like it. I'm not saying I'm taking a moral stand, I just get really sad when I see a dog or monkey or what have you being treated badly. I won't even watch that episode of Futurama about Frye's dog. But, I know: this movie's great. So I'll see it. One day.
4. 10 Rillington Place - I missed a golden opportunity to see this one years ago, on cable. I can't remember why I didn't just stay up and watch it -- maybe I had to "work" the next day -- but I did try to record it. This is before DVR (or before I had DVR, anyway), and I must have set it up wrong, because I only got about half of it. Since then, I haven't seen it listed on any channel. There is a region 2 DVD of it, and I do have a region-free DVD player (of which I've taken very little advantage), but I don't know if it's worth the scratch. Is the movie as good as I hope? I'm guessing yeah, probably, but is the DVD itself a good one? Good extras and whatnot? Anybody know?
5. Satantango - Because why the hell not? For one thing, Satantango is the film equivalent of a book like Moby-Dick or Ulysses: one of the reasons you (I) watch it is so that you can tell people you've seen it. I have to admit that I have seen Bela Tarr's Werckmeister Harmonies, and I never once clicked with it. But I wanted to. Not for bragging rights this time, but because Tarr is clearly all on his own, making films that he needs to make, with no thought about any other factors. His movies are the way they are because he made them, and if you don't like it then he'll catch you in the funny papers. At the moment, I don't know what Tarr is up to, I'm not tuned into his wavelength, but I'm willing to try to understand, even if I never really like his work. And I recently heard a quote attributed to the playwright Alan Bennett that I think applies here, at least in part. He said that there should be a sign hung outside the National Gallery that reads: "You don't have to like everything." Amen. But you should be willing to give everything a chance.6. Salesman - Why isn't this available on Netflix? The Criterion disc is still in print, so what's the deal? I remember seeing clips of this in a college class I took on documentary films, and I was immediately absorbed, because this was as close to a time machine as I was ever going to get. Quite frankly, the ultimate point of this film, its argument (I assume it has one) is not as interesting to me as simply seeing these people from another time living and working and talking, free of any (or as little as possible) outside filmmaker influence. I've heard that the appeal of certain of Warhol's films is similar, but Warhol, from what I can tell, preferred it when nothing much was happening in front of his camera, and the people he hung with were affected going in, so I'll take the Maysles, thank you.
7. Gesualdo: Death for Five Voices - I first heard about this in the early days of my obsession with Werner Herzog. The way I heard it, on one of those alt.net movie groups, was that this documentary is about a relatively obscure classical composer who did something along these lines: killed his family, and then wrote music about it. I'm pretty sure that's not quite correct, but I'm also pretty sure that it's not that far off, either. I have no idea what watching this film will be like, but I have to see it. And I'm pretty sure it's available, too.
8. The 47 Ronin - You might say that, in the case of Kenji Mizoguchi's The 47 Ronin, I ran out of excuses a long time ago. And you'd be right. No, it's not readily available on DVD, but IFC aired both parts of the film several months ago, and I've had the sucker lingering in my DVR ever since. So no more excuses. Get on it, you douche. (PS - I'm the douche in that last sentence.)
9. The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse - Fritz Lang's last film, it was also his first film about the diabolical Dr. Mabuse since 1933's brilliant and bizarre The Testament of Dr. Mabuse. I have no idea what this movie's about, apart from that it obviously has something to do with some deeply unsettling plot by Dr. Mabuse, but look at that picture above: creepy! What's up with that dude's eyes, anyway? So, yeah, a DVD of this would be much appreciated.
10. Titicut Follies - A bit obvious, maybe? Anyhow, as you all know, this movie is decidedly not available -- I think my chances of seeing it fall somewhere between the possibility of my seeing The Other Side of the Wind and The Day the Clown Cried -- and even if I did see it, afterwards I may wish I hadn't. But, as with Salesman, the pull of getting an unfiltered look into a time and a world that no longer exists is impossible to ignore. This movie must be considered one of the most important filmed historical documents of all time, and I want to experience it some day.
11. Last Year at Marienbad - The idea that the true meaning of this supposedly quite eerie Alain Resnais classic is that it has no meaning intrigues me no end. There's not much more I can say about it -- the only Resnais film I've seen thus far is Hiroshima, Mon Amour, and I'm not sure what I think about that one -- but that's why I want to see this. Criterion is bound to release this sooner or later, but as of now there's a region 2 DVD I could plunk down my money for. Anybody know if it's worth it?
12. The Sorcerers - One of the dangers of finally watching a film that you've been wanting to see for years is that, if you're anything like me, the film has a lot of living-up-to-unreasonably-high-expectations to do. I've been let down by many films this way (or you might say that I've actually let down many films), although I'm not going to tell you what those films are, because then I'll probably get flooded with about five comments yelling at me for not liking Hawmps!, or something. But three films that did meet all of my expectations are the original The Wicker Man, Peter Bogdonavich's Targets, and Witchfinder General. The fact that all of those are either horror films or horror film-related is probably not a coincidence. And The Sorcerers is like a mash-up of Targets (in that they both star Boris Karloff) and Witchfinder General (in that they were both made by Michael Reeves). Reeves only directed three films, of which The Sorcerers is his second, before dying at the horribly young age of 25. Witchfinder General, his last film, contains a career-best performance by Vincent Price, and is overall such a nasty, harrowing, unblinking piece of work that, as a horror fan, I can't help but think that the genre lost someone who could have been one of its greatest interpreters. Well, at least we have these three...except for The goddamn Sorcerers, which is still floating around somewhere in DVD limbo, despite MGM's recent release of Witchfinder General. I mean, the thing stars Boris Karloff, for Christ's sake! What the hell is the hold-up!? And why is it that I can't see The Sorcerers, but Reeves's first film, The She-Beast, which not even his fans seem to give much of a shit about, is available on Netflix?? This problem needs to be fixed. Now.
All right, well, that's all she wrote, folks. I hope knowing about twelve movies I want to see but haven't yet has been as elucidating for you as I imagine it must have been. Enjoy your dinners.
Crap, I was supposed to tag someone for this, wasn't I? Pretty much everybody I know in what is known as the "blogtmosphere" has already gotten this thing, however. I am a regular commenter on Glenn Kenny's blog, and even though I'm pretty sure he doesn't know about this blog, I'm going to tag him anyway. Should he take part, I imagine his answers will be pretty interesting.
Forgot to add some important links! Thanks to Movieman at The Dancing Image, as well as the folks at Out 1 and The Lazy Eye Theater, for getting this meme rolling. And sorry to all of them for not linking to them earlier.