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The List of Movie Nerdery

What’s a shame is that I don’t have this mythic list anymore. In the Great Laptop Fail of August 2008, I lost the list... among many, many other documents. (I wish that the laptop had literally burst into flames, or announced “FAIL. FAIL. FAIL.” in its best HAL 9000 voice, but it simply decided to never boot again. Along with being shitty, it was a let down from a dramatic standpoint as well.) Anyhow, the List of Movie Nerdery was a spreadsheet I compiled one day when I clearly had way too much free time on my hands. The idea came to me after finding this list posted on Roger Ebert’s site entitled “102 Films You Must See Before You Consider Yourself Film Literate.” Nerd that I am, I popped this list into a spreadsheet and checked off what I’d seen, and it turned out I was batting about .350. I started thinking about other films lists I’d come across and wondering how I’d rank there, and a few hours later I’d compiled a megalist. Along with the Ebert list, I dumped in the AFI’s 100 Years 100 Films , all of the Academy Awards Best Picture winners , and the Top 100 Movies ranking on the imdb (because a brother cannot live on high fallutin’ art films alone). There was a lot of crossover between each list, and I think in the end it amounted to just over 250 movies. And I think I’d seen about 38% of them at the time (if I remember my complicated maths correctly).

When I made that list, I wasn’t intending to make it my mission to see every film on there. That would amount to something like three hundred hours of movie-watching, and my commitment to any project is lucky to go beyond about twenty minutes. But in creating the list, about a dozen films jumped out ones I’d always wanted to see, and I managed to knock those off over the next month or so. Then I tagged a few more. And a few more. And now it’s three years later, and I’ve got exactly six films left to see. What’s pretty remarkable (beside what a tremendous nerd I am), is that I haven’t had to rent any of these movies so far. Between the Ottawa Public Library and Turner Classic Movies, I’ve caught 85% of the movies I’ve want to see, and another 10% came from The Movie Network (which admittedly comes at a premium). Want to know what I have left to see? Sure you do! The final six are How Green Was My Valley (Oscar), The Crying Game (Ebert), Pink Flamingos, (Ebert), Red River (AFI), Trouble in Paradise (Ebert), and WALL-E (imdb). I don’t know about you, but The Crying Game and WALL-E scream double-feature to me!

Tomorrow: the highs and lows of getting through this list.

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