We’re entering the third week of four in the production of Shadowlands at the Texas Repertory Theater. That means, so far, eight standing ovations in eight performances. I wish I could grab a bit of the credit for that, but I think it’s largely due to the performance of our C.S. Lewis, Steven Fenley. He’s wanted to play this role for years, and is by turns charming and then ripping his emotional guts out as the second act progresses. Here’s a link to a review.I got singled out for special mention. I’ll take that; after all, I’m a minor character, in only 6 scenes.
So in two weeks we’ll tear down the set. I’ll celebrate the next day – President’s Day, a State holiday for the college – with a Very Special Crapfest, then go back to spending my evenings trying to rough out that goddamn novel. At least until another, similar creative project comes along to distract me. The Wednesday following that Crapfest I’ll be reporting back to the dentist for should be my last major visit. Major because I’ll be losing the last of the worthless teeth and having a set of partial dentures slapped on, which will mean some pain and discomfort for a while, but I’m used to pain and discomfort from that particular region. Both my mother and grandmother had full dentures before they were 30 years old. Finally getting partials at the ripe old age of 55 is, I think, very much a victory.
It’s the ripe old age thing that’s particularly bothersome. I’m told that 60 is the new 40, but phooey on that. After spending two hours in the dental chair yesterday, I felt every one of those years. The dentist and assistant were concerned that I was dizzy and I had to tell them that no, I was simply stiff and my bum leg needed to loosen up, but thanks for your concern. Shadowlands has caused me a lot of pain in over-using that limb, but I think it’s gotten a little stronger through the exercise. Humor me.
It’s that, the dentures, the fact that I now take eight pills every morning and two at night. I don’t exactly have one foot in the grave, but reminders of my mortality are certainly stacking up. This is the sort of things that drives other folk to great things and lofty goals. Me, I just think about all the movies and books I haven’t gotten to, yet.
Now, I don’t generally do New Year’s Resolutions (mainly because I don’t need a special occasion to lie to myself). But this year, I swore that I would watch a better class of movie. I honestly don’t regret a lifetime watching crap and disposable cinema; I’m not going to apologize for something I love that also doesn’t hurt anybody else. But there has been an essential part of my education that has been lacking, So I’ve laid down some goals for this year, and I am going to do my very best to keep to them. Confidence is high.
First: I have to already own these movies. They’ve been sitting there mocking me long enough, as I pass them over to watch Scott Pilgrim for the 14th time. I made one exception here, but we’ll get to that. After I’ve gotten through what I already own, we can start considering acquisition once more, which would mean movies like The Rules of the Game and Solaris.
Preference is given to movies I have not yet seen, though The List has several that I simply haven’t seen in 20 or more years. My head is in a different place now.
There are 30 movies on this list. I intend to have half of them seen by Summer. I’m a bachelor this Spring Break, and I intend to use this opportunity to its fullest.
So, here’s my list. There are probably going to be a few “You haven’t seen _______? How is that possible?“s.
1. Fear and Desire – you are going to see Stanley Kubrick’s entire filmography on this list; my determination to see it all, in order, is what started this project. This is his first movie, which he disowned, and reportedly tried to destroy. Luckily Eastman House kept a copy of it.
2. The Godfather – haven’t seen it in close to 25 years.
3. Killer’s Kiss – Kubrick’s sophomore movie, luckily included as an extra in Criterion’s The Killing,
4. Ikiru – this is the only one I don’t already own. How the hell this is the case is, frankly, beyond me.
5. The Killing – seems to be acknowledged as the first “real” Kubrick film. Nope, never seen it.
6. Chushingura – The Loyal 47 Ronin
7. Paths of Glory
9. Spartacus – Literally haven’t seen it in almost 50 years, and then it was on TV.
10. Inception – I know, I know. Sue me.
13. Dr. Strangelove – Probably the most recent of the ones I’ve previously viewed, only about 10 years ago.
14. No Country for Old Men – see number 12, above
15. 2001: A Space Odyssey – I seem to recall a more recent viewing, but I can only only definitely recall one 20 years ago, on laserdisc.
16. True Grit – the Coen Brothers version. See number 14, above.
17. A Clockwork Orange – ugly and brutal, I think it’s been more than 20 years.
18. While the City Sleeps – Fritz Lang noir classic. Never seen it.
19. Barry Lyndon - Never seen it.
20. Godfather II- Again, it’s been 25 years. I also have Godfather III, which I’ve never seen, but have been informed it is so terribly sad-making (and not in a good way) I think I’ll be able put that one off a while longer.
21. The Shining – never actually watched it all the way through. Keep encountering it on TV, but I like to see a) the whole thing; b) from the beginning.
22. The Last King of Scotland
24. Heavenly Creatures – Please see number 16, above.
25. Eyes Wide Shut – not necessarily looking forward to this one, but a deal’s a deal.
26. Bonnie & Clyde – as a bona fide child of the 60s, how the hell have I avoided seeing this?
27. Black Orpheus
28. Drive – time to find out what all the shouting’s about.
29. Beauty & the Beast – the Cocteau version, dammit.
30. There Will Be Blood – see number 24, above. Looking forward to finally seeing what all this “milkshake” business is about.
In case you were wondering if I had completely lost my mind, there is another list of 30 Questionable movies I intend to see in the coming year. Maybe we’ll do that later. Right now I have work to do, and we’re over a thousand words.
Not to mention resting up for tonight’s show.