[Editor’s note: Gwilym Hughes was the world record holder for movie watching. When he died, at age 65, he had watched more than 28,000 movies. The Internet Movie Database has approximately 700,000 registered films listed, and that doesn’t take into account the plethora of independent films that have never seen the light of day or have only been seen by the handful of filmmakers who made them. Even the man who had watched the most movies in the world hadn’t seen them all. Now, I’m not saying that we here at Shooting the Script are going to try to see every movie ever made… well, most of us aren’t going to… Bryan might… if nothing else, I’m sure now that he knows what the world record for movie watching is, he’ll try to beat it. The point of this new column is to focus on the iconic movies that we’ve somehow shamefully missed. In fact, that’s what inspired the name of this column, even though it’s not on his list, Bryan has never seen Howard Hawks original 1932 Scarface (aka Scarface: Shame of a Nation). Each one of our contributors has prepared a list of the top ten films they are most ashamed to have missed. Stay tuned as each of us reveals the awful truth about the classic films we’ve yet to see… Veritas vos liberabit.]
Ever since 1998 I’ve been obsessing over lists. That was the year the American Film Institute released their first list of the “100 greatest American films.” I hadn’t seen much of anything then, so I headed to Blockbuster and rented some videos. (How outdated is that sentence?) For twelve years now I’ve done my best to watch the best of everything, the best horror, the best sci-fi, the best foreign etc. I’d like to think I’ve seen most of what a giant film geek should see (and want to see) but everyone knows no matter how hard you try, things always slip through the cracks. So I looked over my lists, and lots of other people’s lists, and decided to write out the ten that shame me the most. The ten movies that make people say “What?! You haven’t seen _____?!” I even enlisted the help of the Shooting the Script crew to help sort out what I should really feel bad about. We all traded notes and, after much discussion and ridicule, have each cultivated our own lists of the top ten movies we’re most ashamed to have missed. So, submitted for your disapproval:
Why I should have seen it: It’s where the whole “love” and “hate” tattooed on the knuckles originated. It’s also the first and only film directed by the great actor, Charles Laughton.
Why I haven’t: It’s been spoofed so many times; I never thought I could take it seriously, especially since it tackles a dark subject in an era when it was difficult to depict dark subjects.
Why I haven’t: I’ve also always thought of it as a romantic comedy (which almost always means crappy movie) instead of a James L. Brooks movie (which tends to mean quality).
Why I haven’t: Until I heard Kevin Smith talking about remaking it with Jason Lee, I had never even known it existed and still don’t even know what it’s about.
Why I haven’t: I don’t want to be scared of women (more than I already am).
Why I haven’t: Despite Deep Blue Something’s best effort, I still don’t know why there’s a whole movie about eating breakfast at Tiffany’s house (only recently have I learned that this is indeed a store, but still don’t know why people are eating there).
Why I haven’t: I’ve seen part 2 countless times (I love me some Fisher Stevens), but any time the original was on TV it was always some boring scene without any talking robots. Part 2 is all talking, all sass, all the time. I feel…Alive!!!
Why I haven’t: The title mostly. Never knew who Virginia Woolf was or why I should/shouldn’t be scared of her. Then saw The Hours and care even less.
Why I haven’t: No good reason. Just missed it, then the terrible sequel hit and sucked away any enthusiasm I might have had to see it.
Why I haven’t: Besides the fact that I spent the better part of my youth hating golf (when it wasn’t football season, there was nothing on Sunday mornings, also why I hate NASCAR and church).
Why I haven’t: Watched other Godard first (Band of Outsiders, Alphaville) and didn’t care for them. Most “groundbreaking films” aren’t that great even if they were the first of their kind (Jazz Singer, Birth of a Nation).
There are many more where these came from but these are definitely the worst. So how ashamed should we all be? What do you think is the worst offender? Feel free to share your own embarrassing confessions in the comment section. And don’t forget to check out the lists from the rest of the contributors as they’re posted.