Tags: list love

Madness

Best Movies from A-Z

Cool Material has published their list of The Best Movies from A-Z. There are a lot of fantastic movies on that list, many of which I loves, though there are also others I don't and these sorts of lists always makes me wonder how they were compiled and what criteria they used and what sorts of debates went down among the editors as they narrowed down the movies to one.

Of course, I couldn't just leave it there. Seeing this A-Z list made me want to compile my own. For most of the letters there was a clear top movie, but working via the alphabet limits your selections in a unique way, and a few of the letters (H, L, M, P, S), I had a really hard time picking, so I listed the close runners up, as well.

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My summaries and thoughts were very brief for each of these, so if you want to know more about a particular movie, mention it in the comments.

Also, tell me about your favorite movies, or create your own list and let me know, so I can check it out.
andrea fisheye

Review: Shock Value by Jason Zinoman

I'm a huge fan of horror movies and I love seeing behind the scenes of how movies are made, so it's no surprise that I would totally dig Shock Value: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror, by Jason Zinoman. The book presents a history of how filmmakers, such as Wes Craven, Roman Polanski, George Romero and others, took the old schlocky stories (Frankenstein, Dracula, etc.) to the next level, with stories that push the boundaries of politics and social commentary, as well as gore.

Zinoman didn't go into deep analysis of the film (I'm sure there are plenty of other books that do), but explored the lives of the directors and writers that became known as auteurs in the industry (whether or not it was truth), revealing how they came to develop the movie that are now classics of horror. Keeping in mind that I did not live in the era and have not seen several of these movies (though I have heard and know about all of them), I can't judge whether the author's point of view accurately reflects the movies or the time in which they were made, but I can say that it worked for me. I was thoroughly fascinated and entertained, so much so that I plowed through the book in under two days. It was a great, fun read, and I now need to do a marathon and see all the movies that I have not seen.

The one flaw, for me at least as I have a deep love (read: obsession) of lists, is that the author did note compile of filmography of movies mentioned in the book. How else am I supposed to easily quantify which movies I have and have not seen?

So lacking a proper filmography, I skimmed through the book and made my own list of all the movies discussed. I have included the date, if relevant in context of the book, directors name and writer's name (assume director unless otheriwse noted). I also noted which ones the author considered flops. (Movies that I have seen are noted with a *, are those that I've seen in entirety.)

Main Horror Movies Discussed
Alien (1979), Ridley Scott (dir), Dan O'Bannon (writer)
*Carrie (1976), Brian De Palma
Dark Star (1974), John Carpenter (dir), John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon (writers)
*The Exorcist (1973), William Friedkin (dir), William Peter Blatty (writer)
Friday the 13th (1980), Sean S. Cunningham
*Halloween (1978), John Carpenter
The Hills Have Eyes (1977), Wes Craven
*Jaws (1975), Stephen Speilberg
The Last House on the Left (1972), Wes Craven
*Night of the Living Dead (1968), George Romero
Rosemary's Baby (1968), Roman Polanski
Targets (1965), Peter Bogdanovich
*The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), Tobe Hooper

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Welp, that took a colossal chunk of time, which may or may not have been worth it. Done nonetheless.

†Zinoman makes a compelling argument as to why No Country for Old Men is closer to horror as opposed to any other genre, noting that the murderer in the movie bears a close resemblance to Michael Myers in Halloween, because there is not rhyme or reason to why they kill.
andrea - dreamy

The Massive List of 2012 Goals!

2011 Round Up - Highlight of the year was definitely my trip to Australia. Travel is one of the great bonuses of my job and that trip was amazing.

In general I feel pretty good about my level of creative productivity. I wrote a lot at the beginning of the year, slowed a bit in the middle, but picked up some nice word counts over the last four months or so. I wrote oodles of poems (mostly for my blog), one novlette, a handful of stories, and got a good chunk going on a novel. Considering I work full time with a commute, I'd say that's pretty darn good.

I think I made about 10 (or so) submissions to magazines and journals this year, of which 3 were accepted and 6 rejected, with one response still pending. Not bad at all.

My personal everyday goals are the ones that collapsed a bit. After I quit on my plans for participating in the half marathon in July/August, pretty much all my exercise stopped. No running, no yoga, etc.

Any meditation, affirmations, or breath work was also almost nil. That said, I give you

The Massive List of 2012 Goals!

I always vacillate on how I feel about New Year resolutions and goals. I think they're good to a degree, and I enjoy making them, because I love lists and I love the idea of scratching off the to-dos as they are completed. The past couple of years, I've been more in favor of loose, short lists, which allow for flexibility.

This year, however, I'm going back to the detailed style list. There are things I want done damnit (mostly career-wise), so I'm announcing them. The plan is to check back in once a month and update the list (i.e., strike out what's completed or change as necessary).

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Some closing thoughts:

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself."
-- Neil Gaiman
[Cross-posted to my website.]