With every movie I see comes the discovery of scores more I have yet to see. Today’s films—even those that aren’t a sequel, prequel, adaptation, remake, or reboot—often pay homage to the classics, to the well-known films, genres, and filmmakers that have defined our pop culture. I have the misfortune of beign born after most of these must-see movies. Four years of being a Film Studies major only took me down very specific, relatively obscure film paths: Italian Neorealisim, French Impressionism, Japanese New Wave. Rarely did it expose me to the blockbusters that shaped modern movies. Sure, I can see how Tim Burton mirrors the style of German Expressionism films like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, but references to Bond villains whoosh over my head.
I figured I now have the time and resources to educate myself in the crucial movies that college didn’t. I will choose a genre, filmmaker, or franchise that play a role in today’s film world (i.e. that get referenced a lot). I will watch the essential films within each category, including any modern adaptation, by release year. I will do a write-up after finishing each category, giving my thoughts and mini-reviews for each film. I will call this project Hollywood History X.
- Zombie films (the Romero series, the Living Dead series, and the modern classics)
- Alien/Predator franchise
- Westerns (less John Wayne, more Sergio Leone)
- Golden Age of Hollywood (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_Hollywood_cinema#The_Golden_Age)
- Samurai films (mostly, if not only, Kurosawa)
- Bond films (yes, all of them)
- 1950s Sci-fi (a la Metropolis, The Day the Earth Stood Still, etc.)
- Woody Allen films
- Mel Brooks films
- Steven Spielberg films
- Others I haven’t thought of yet. I await your suggestions.
*I have already compiled the films within the “Zombie category”—and there is no debate over the arrangement of the Alien/Predator franchise nor the Bond films—but I will need help deciding which films to watch in the other categories.