(Re) Introduction

The astute reader might notice that this is not the first entry on this blog. It’s true; I’d intended to start this project a couple of years ago, but always found something else to distract my attention.

But here I am, ready to write, ready to watch. My decision to revitalize this project was a bit impulsive, I’ll admit, and maybe it won’t last forever. Even still, I’ve decided to give it a shot and see how it lasts.

To spice things up for myself, though, I’m changing the setup a bit. My initial intention was to work my way back through the films from the present, in reverse chronological order, but instead I want to give myself more freedom to jump around in time. Also, Netflix had a couple of films about to expire the other day, so I had to take the opportunity that presented itself to me.

In the course of my Netflix binge, I stumbled upon an inadvertent juxtaposition of movies separated in time but similar in subject (soon to be revealed!). That potential for thought-provoking contrasts convinced me to allow myself the intrigue of pairing movies together based on interesting thematic connections. I’ll try not to be too heavy-handed about it.

At the same time, I don’t intend for this to be a film review blog. There are plenty of people out there who do that much better than I could ever hope to. I’d like to think of this as an impressionistic blog, filled with my own reactions to movies that I may know only from the public consciousness (or perhaps not at all). I also want to use this as a venue for more personal essayistic observations, so I’ll certainly be writing from that perspective as well.

That’s all for now. I’m looking forward to seeing how far I make it through the Best Pictures of the past 88 years.


Introduction to Year of the Oscar

Let’s start out with the goal:  I am going to watch films awarded Best Picture by the Academy.  And then I will blog about them, which is why we’re here right now.

I’ve never been much of one to watch movies.  Growing up, my family didn’t go to the theater, mostly because we didn’t have a lot of money for such things and probably also because my mom wasn’t very interested in films.  My fondest memories of movie-watching were of those aired on television:  The Wizard of Oz once a year, Back to the Future or The Jerk practically every Saturday on some cable channel.  Obviously, they didn’t have as many movies back then, so they were obliged to air the same ones over and over.

Occasionally, when I was a kid, we’d rent a few videos from the rental shop inside our local grocery store.  My brother worked his way through all the crappy comic book-based movies of the 80’s – Thor and Captain America and The Punisher, all in cheesy spandex costumes.  This was before the cheesy leather costumes of our more modern comic book epics.  My mom, on the other hand, opted for innocuous romantic comedies.  I picked anything animated, but watched the stuff everyone else picked, too.

My tastes have not changed much now that I’m older.  When I watch movies, I tend to go for the superhero epics, even though I sometimes find them obnoxious, or oddball indie films (which can also be obnoxious, but for different reasons).  Mostly, though, I just don’t watch movies.

This is all to say that I’ve never really watched Oscar-winning films.  I have not counted, but my guess is that the number of Best Picture films I’ve seen would fit on one hand.  Maybe two.

So why the sudden change of heart?  Good question.  I’m glad I asked it.  Well, I’ve decided to expand my cinematic horizons, and the easiest way to attempt this is to follow the Academy.  Are these films, indeed, the Best Pictures to have been released each year?  That’s one of the things I’d like to consider as I experience them, generally for the first time.

My intention is to move backward in roughly chronological order, with one key exception that will be immediately obvious.   Since there are 85 years and films (86, soon) to get through, I don’t anticipate getting to the end (beginning).  But I’ll shoot for about one a week and see how far I make it, blogging my thoughts along the way.  Hopefully, you’ll join me for this journey.

Gee, Bridget, did you notice that it’s the end of February?  How do you plan on getting through all these movies in the ten months left to you?  Okay, so I planned to start this at the beginning of January.  That didn’t really work out.  But I figured I could set this Sunday’s Oscars ceremony as the official starting point.  Problem solved!

Here it is:  my Oscar challenge.  Let’s begin.