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kottke.org posts about jimemerson

Film critic Jim Emerson is collecting great

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 28, 2006

Film critic Jim Emerson is collecting great opening shots from movies, including Star Wars, Primer, and Annie Hall. Do you have any favorites that Emerson hasn’t covered yet?

Watch these movies, then we can talk

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 26, 2006

Film critic Jim Emerson recently compiled a list of 102 movies that you should see before you can consider yourself movie literate:

…they [are] the movies you just kind of figure everybody ought to have seen in order to have any sort of informed discussion about movies. They’re the common cultural currency of our time, the basic cinematic texts that everyone should know, at minimum, to be somewhat “movie-literate.”

I’ve reproduced Emerson’s list here and marked with an asterisk those that I’ve seen.

* 2001: A Space Odyssey
* The 400 Blows
8 1/2
Aguirre, the Wrath of God
* Alien
All About Eve
* Annie Hall
* Apocalypse Now
* Bambi
The Battleship Potemkin
The Best Years of Our Lives
The Big Red One
The Bicycle Thief
The Big Sleep
* Blade Runner
Blowup
* Blue Velvet
Bonnie and Clyde
Breathless
Bringing Up Baby
Carrie
* Casablanca
Un Chien Andalou
Children of Paradise / Les Enfants du Paradis
* Chinatown
* Citizen Kane
* A Clockwork Orange
* The Crying Game
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Days of Heaven
* Dirty Harry
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
* Do the Right Thing
La Dolce Vita
Double Indemnity
* Dr. Strangelove
Duck Soup
* E.T. — The Extra-Terrestrial
Easy Rider
* The Empire Strikes Back
The Exorcist
* Fargo
* Fight Club
Frankenstein
The General
* The Godfather, The Godfather, Part II
* Gone With the Wind
* GoodFellas
* The Graduate
Halloween
* A Hard Day’s Night
Intolerance
It’s a Gift
* It’s a Wonderful Life
Jaws
The Lady Eve
Lawrence of Arabia
M
Mad Max 2 / The Road Warrior
The Maltese Falcon
* The Manchurian Candidate
Metropolis
Modern Times
* Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Nashville
The Night of the Hunter
Night of the Living Dead
* North by Northwest
* Nosferatu
* On the Waterfront
Once Upon a Time in the West
Out of the Past
Persona
Pink Flamingos
Psycho
* Pulp Fiction
Rashomon
* Rear Window
Rebel Without a Cause
Red River
Repulsion
The Rules of the Game
* Scarface
The Scarlet Empress
* Schindler’s List
The Searchers
* The Seven Samurai
Singin’ in the Rain
Some Like It Hot
A Star Is Born
A Streetcar Named Desire
Sunset Boulevard
* Taxi Driver
The Third Man
Tokyo Story
* Touch of Evil
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Trouble in Paradise
Vertigo
* West Side Story
The Wild Bunch
* The Wizard of Oz

That’s 40 out of 102. My pre-1970 movie knowledge is just plain pathetic, but I’ve seen all six movies on the list made since 1990 (and 5 out of 7 of the 80s movies). And I think I’ve seen Bambi (when I was a kid), but I marked it as seen even though I’m not completely sure. As for what’s missing from the list, I’m not even going to go there given my poor showing. There are some hardcore movie fans reading this…anyone seen them all?