Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013: My Film Blog Year in Review

I missed doing a year-end wrap up last year and I didn't want that again. Let's start with the movies I actually saw in a theater: Star Trek Into Darkness and Jurassic Park in iMax 3D. Yup, that's about it. Not bad. Laura Dern is a terrible actress. Maybe I saw The Hobbit. Not sure if it was in December or January. 30 minutes shorter would have been 30 minutes better. Now onto the state of the blog.

The 45 posts represent 44 movies. While I might be disappointed at the low number, I'm not. I think I hit a relatively good quality of movies. While only seven were rated at 4.0 (and none higher), only six got failing grades. I completed the original Universal Horror collection (with the exception of The Mummy series - can't find a copy of The Mummy's Tomb), I explored my interest in Val Lewton, Russ Meyer, and William Castle, Ray Harryhausen, Lon Chaney, and the Marx Brothers. I did good work on the 50's rocket and saucer sub-genre, and saw Jane Fonda's ta-tas back when that was a good thing. Not a bad bunch of films, if not exactly a film student's dream list.

29 of the 44 were either Sci-Fi or Horror, two were musicals (although I didn't initially classify Duck Soup as such), and the three silent films fared way better than the three exploitation films. I think I'll do more of the former and less of the latter. Musicals will continue to be sparse.

Many of the year's winners were flawed gems: Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, Carnival of Souls, The Leopard Man, and Laugh, Clown, Laugh. Good, enjoyable, and imperfect. The best movie, from the traditional viewpoint, was The Bridge on the River Kwai, the year's only Best Picture. The biggest surprise may be Valley of the Dragons. Not that it was all that great, I just had rather low expectations. Daughter and Son of Dracula were also better than I expected. Son of particularly because Creighton the Crappy was in the lead. Biggest disappointment was Things to Come. It wasn't the worst, but I had heard of it and it's an H.G. Wells film for cryin' out loud!

I've taken to hitting documentaries whenever the mood strikes me. Girl 27 was a complete fraud and a total disappointment. Mary Pickford: The Muse of the Movies was an overly glowing portrait of the actress. I don't know much about her and not sure that changed any. I watched Lon Chaney: Behind the Mask and learned nothing of the man. TCM ran a Bio and I learned loads. I forget what, however. I've mentioned The Story of Film: An Odyssey and still recommend it greatly. Watch it quick before Netflix pulls it. The Celluloid Closet is a great look into gays in film. I saw it years ago and made a point of seeing it again. TCM is great for that stuff. I've seen more, I'm sure, but nothing else comes to mind.

When I began this journey all I really had was the local library and hand-me-down tube televisions. Now I have Netflix, Amazon Prime, TCM (my best source), and a TV that does YouTube. I have a Roku in the bedroom that has many channels for public domain films, though I don't frequent there often. I seldom hit the library at this point. Not much room for improvement there.

My expectations for 2014 (as far as the movie blog is concerned) is to get back to the 50 post plateau. I hope to hit more "classics" and go lighter on Sci-Fi/Horror. Let's see how that goes. After my Halloween Horror fest, my plan was to hit some classic romantic comedies, but I found it hard to get excited about that topic. I think I'll be opportunistic and grab what tickles my fancy for the time being.

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