This blog was inspired by two things; my love of film and the film ‘Julie and Julia’. Anyone who has seen Julie and Julia will likely agree that whilst it is enjoyable enough fare with some decent performances, overall it is a quite unremarkable film, the memory of which shouldn’t linger long after the credits roll. That was my immediate reaction after spending a pleasant enough afternoon with my wife in front of the TV.
However, here I am several months later writing about how that very film has inspired me. What has stayed with me after all of this time is the central premise of the film; the creation of a blog to document the progress towards achieving an individual goal. In the film, the goal was to cook every recipe in a particular cookbook within one year. I liked the idea that this challenge gave a sense of purpose to someone’s life by doing something that they enjoyed – a hobby with an end goal if you like. I therefore pondered (for several months) whether there was some challenge which I would like to embark upon from which I would obtain a sense of personal gratification.
The result of my ponderings is the challenge which I will document on this blog; to watch and review every film in the IMDB Top 250 films of all time. Why did I choose this challenge? Well firstly, I can’t be arsed learning how to cook so replicating the film was a no go. Secondly, the reason I was watching Julie and Julia in the first place is that I have a burning passion for film and a (very unrealistic) longing to watch every film which is released (unless it stars Adam Sandler). I therefore wanted to set myself a goal which would enable me to expand my knowledge of film by exploring a variety of different genres. Finally, I would someday like to earn a living (likely a meagre one) by being a writer; either a screenwriter or a film journalist. This challenge therefore gives me the opportunity to hone my writing skills whilst simultaneously building up knowledge in my chosen subject.
Some may also ask why I have chosen to use the IMDB Top 250 list as opposed to some other list (for example the Empire 500 list or the Guardian list) and, to be honest, there is no reasoned answer to that question. The only benefit to be derived from the IMDB list is that it is constantly updated and will therefore include the most recent films. Apart from that it is also one of the most recognisable ‘best of’ lists and therefore will likely be familiar to most people.
The IMDB Top 250 list does have its flaws and I feel it is necessary to document these in advance of commencing my challenge. As the list is based on user generated reviews, it has been claimed that it is more of a popularity contest for film rather than a critical compilation. In addition, many films when they are first released debut quite high up the list, for example The Dark Knight was once up at number 2 or 3) before subsequently falling down the list (The Dark Knight is now at number 10). This constant changing does present a problem as some films which I have watched may have dropped off the list before I complete my goal. On that basis, I have decided to fix the list as at today and have published the 250 movies I aim to watch below. Upon completion of my task, I will publish a comparison of the IMDB Top 250 list at the completion date and compare it to the list as at today. This may provide an interesting insight into how public opinion changes over a period of time.
I do not intend to set a time constraint for my challenge but I will aim to watch at least two films per week on average. I feel that committing to more than two films per week would be foolish as it could result in ‘film fatigue’ and may adversely impact in the quality and depth of my writing. Good films should be savoured and enjoyed; not everyone takes time to savour a film after it has been enjoyed.
My aim is to go through the IMDB Top 250 list in reverse order. It may not be possible to stick rigidly to that order given that some of the films on the IMDB list are relatively rare to come across on DVD, Blu-ray or on TV. As a result I may have to look for alternative viewing formats to complete my challenge, which may result in an inevitable delay to viewing certain films. Instead of letting any such delay hold up my progress, I feel it would be more beneficial to move on and fill in any gaps at a later date.
Finally, there is one important question which I feel I need to address; who am I doing this for? In the past I have sought to write various blogs on film but have never managed to get past a few weeks. This is partly because I did not make the time to write blog entries but also because I was writing the blog with the aim of establishing an online following. As I am not the most patient of people, my interest quickly waned when I realised that you cannot establish an internet following overnight. As a result, I am writing this blog solely for my own benefit. It is a personal journal of my voyage through some of the best films of all time which I write solely for my own satisfaction. My only hope is that maybe one day my children may find it of interest. That is not to discourage readership of this blog. If there is anyone else out there who is interested in joining me on this journey – you are more than welcome.
On that note, let the challenge commence!
P.S. Sadly Julie and Julia does not feature in the IMDB Top 250 list…