Hello, fellow Film Fanatics!
I hope this has been an enjoyable year of movie watching for all of you. My family and I (kids now ages 10, 12, and 14) watched Home Alone (1990) yesterday, and it was a fun harbinger of what’s to come: once I’m done with this project, I’ll be moving on to covering more modern classics.
Unfortunately, 2022 has been a rough year for our family, with loss on numerous levels; with that said, I’m always grateful to movies for providing a safe haven in the midst of personal challenges.
Midway through the year I wrote a reflection on my milestone of having watched all the films in GFTFF up through the 1950s — so, all titles I’ve been reviewing since then were made between 1960-1987. There have been some definite gems, though I’ll admit to missing flicks from earlier decades.
Here are a few of my highlights from this past year of (re)viewing movies:
- For the number geeks among you, I’ve reviewed an additional 287 films in 2022 (so far!). That brings me up to 3,483 or 81% of the titles in Peary’s Guide for the Film Fanatic — just 887 more to go!
- I’ve continued to work my way through titles from Peary’s three Cult Movies books (just seven left). I can’t say many are personal favorites, but I was pleasantly surprised by at least a few: The Terminator (1984) has held up remarkably well as a dystopian sci-fi time travel flick (Schwarzenegger’s performance is fun!); Liquid Sky (1982) remains a darkly acerbic cultural commentary with truly far-out visuals; and of course Blade Runner (1982) maintains its status as a haunting masterpiece on so many levels.
- My favorite auteur viewing this year was catching up with more of Sam Fuller’s unique output. While his Steel Helmet (1950) is a justifiable indie classic, lesser-known but equally worthy Fuller titles to check out include Fixed Bayonets (1951) (also taking place during the Korean War), the colorful House of Bamboo (1955), and the flawed but boldly unique Crimson Kimono (1959).
- I was pleasantly surprised by how compelling Sidney Lumet’s screen adaptation of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1962) remains: it’s powerfully acted, masterfully filmed, and never drags despite the undeniably challenging subject matter.
- Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979) continues to merit multiple viewings as a “surreal immersion piece.” As I noted in my review, “Coppola and his team set out to tell a tale of the Vietnam War that would highlight its deep absurdity and lasting impact on everyone involved — and in this, he succeeds.”
- Finally, John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) is a seriously creepy “remake” that offers an entirely different viewing experience from the 1951 classic; indeed, “Carpenter’s film succeeds on its own terms, presenting a wintery hellscape of justifiable paranoia in which these men… can no longer rely on one another for support and survival.” And the special effects are truly impressive.
Here’s to another year of watching and reviewing classic films!
— Film Fanatic.org