We all have them. Those films that we don’t like admitting we haven’t seen. The ones we fake our way through conversations about rather than admit the truth. I have frequently been told by friends that for a person who loves movies so much I haven’t seen some very important ones. What can I say? Sometimes it’s just easier to watch Mean Girls or Bring It On for the 130th time on TV rather then sit down and dedicate the time to watching a movie you haven’t seen before. Thankfully I took film classes in college that “forced” me to watch classics like Casablanca and Citizen Kane or I may never have seen them; I still have yet to see Gone With the Wind in its entirety.
For the longest time my biggest list of shame film was Pulp Fiction because it seems to be one of those films everyone has watched. Somehow it seems that if you’re talking about movies in any capacity Pulp Fiction manages to come up. Same with Disney. Go figure. Actually, I didn’t watch my first Quentin Tarantino film (Reservoir Dogs) until 2011 and if course once I started I was hooked. But Pulp Fiction is one of those films I always said I would get around to watching and when I finally did I kicked myself for waiting so long. It happens to the best of us.
Since I can check (most of) QT’s films off my list, my current list of shame films are 2001: A Space Odyssey and the early works of Martin Scorsese.
I couldn’t tell you why I haven’t seen 2001 or even what it is about except that it involves a computer (?) and the line, “Open the pod bay doors, HAL.” I’m ashamed that I haven’t seen it mostly because of the fact that I consider myself a huge science fiction fan. If it has aliens/kaiju, computers getting too smart for their own good, robots or even cars that transform into robots, chances are I have seen and loved it. 2001 is one of the most influential sci-fi films of all time. Often when I’m reading reviews I see it cited and I always tell myself I’m going to watch it so that I can understand the new films I know and love even better. Plus, it’s a Stanley Kubrick film. If there is one thing I know about Kubrick it’s that he can make a good film. It does not matter if the technology that created 2001 is outdated or that the message might not be as relevant today, it is still a historically important film. A film that numerous directors including Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Ridley Scott among others have named as inspiration. It is one of those films that people talk about and regardless if it is positive or negative, I wish I had something to contribute to the conversation. Also, while I am talking about sci-fi films I haven’t seen and in the spirit of full disclosure, I should say I have not seen Scott’s Alien. I have nothing but remorse for my actions. Especially since I am always looking for films with strong female leads.
My shame at not having seen any old Martin Scorsese films is a very recent shame, one that’s growing by the minute. I love new Marty. The Wolf of Wall Street was my favorite film of 2013. The Departed definitely has a place somewhere in my top favorite films list (I’m just not sure where). I believe The Aviator is Leo’s best performance and it’s the real reason I’m mad he doesn’t have an Oscar. But I feel like I really can’t appreciate Marty’s full filmography without having seen the movies that made him the director he is today. Namely Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Goodfellas. Yeah I know, these are some big films to have missed. Most of them are on “best of all time” lists. There’s really no reason why I haven’t seen them, I think mostly it comes down to convenience. I like to commit myself to watching new films; to really sit down and pay attention to them. Most of the time I like watching something before bed and therefore I never feel like I’m awake enough to properly appreciate a new film. Which is why I end up just watching a lot of 30 Rock.
The main problem with not seeing these classic films is that I miss out. Watching a film is like being part of a giant inside joke. The people who have seen it get it and if you don’t you are left out. It’s as simple as that. Not having seen 2001 or Goodfellas or a slew of other films means that I don’t get to appreciate the cultural references, the jabs, the little call backs to these classic pieces of cinema. I’m not part of the club. And that is something I can’t stand.
Sadly there are always too many movies (and books and TV shows and albums) and not enough time. This is only a small list of the films I haven’t seen. I have an entire page dedicated to films I need to watch that I seem to find myself constantly updating. And by updating I mean adding new films to. So who will be brave like me and share with the world the films they haven’t seen?