December 2, 2013

Announcing the 2014 Blind Spots Series


When I decided to ask readers for input on my 2014 Blind Spots Series picks, I never expected to receive so many great responses. The 50 possible films all deserve to be seen, and the 30 entries spread out the votes pretty evenly. Only one choice, John Ford's She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, did not receive a vote. The leading movie only appeared on 14 ballots. The 30 entries on this site, Letterboxd, and Twitter have created a diverse group of intriguing selections. The 12 films come from around the world and cross six decades. I'm thrilled to check out all of these picks and can't wait to get started in January.

Here is the official list of movies that I'll be tackling next year:

The Battle of Algiers
Brokeback Mountain
Crimes and Misdemeanors
The King of Comedy
Les Diaboliques
Moulin Rouge!
My Neighbor Totoro
Night of the Living Dead
Rosemary's Baby
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Wages of Fear
Yojimbo


One of the most exciting parts of this group is catching up with three horror classics (Night of the Living Dead, Rosemary's Baby, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre). My background in that area is limited, and it's not my favorite genre. Even so, I owe it to myself to push against this resistance and check out some of the seminal works. Another positive is seeing acclaimed pictures from legendary directors like Woody Allen, Akira Kurosawa, Martin Scorsese, Hayao Miyazaki, and Roman Polanski. Even a lesser-known film like The King of Comedy has plenty of admirers and deserves my attention. Another choice that I need to see is The Battle of Algiers, considered one of the most innovative war movies. It's quite a diverse group and should give me plenty to write about each month. 

Beyond these 12 films, I'm planning to check out many of the 50 choices that I listed for the voting. These group will set the framework for the marathons that I tackle during 2014. Just missing the final cut were Nights of Cabiria, Suspiria, Safety Last!, and Pierrot le fou. These and plenty more should get checked off my watch list during the upcoming year. With partners like Turner Classic Movies and my local libraries, there are numerous ways to discover classic films. It's never possible to catch up with everything, and interesting new releases are arriving each month. Projects like this one help me to stay focused, and I appreciate the input from intelligent film lovers to make this happen.

What do you think of my 2014 Blind Spots? 

26 comments:

  1. Nice! 6 of my choices made the final cut. I've seen all but 3 of your list (Algiers, Crimes and Misdemeanors, and King of Comedy), but I'm interested to know your opinions on all the others! Some are definitely better than others. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks! I'm looking forward to it, and this list doesn't feel like work. That was the goal setting up the 50 options, and there are a lot of films on there I've been meaning to see for a long time.

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  2. This is a great list, Dan! I have seen 8 of these and 2 of the 4 I haven't will most probably end up on this year's list.

    Of 8 I have seen, I genuinely like all of them. Algiers, Wages of Fear, Moulin Rogue, Crimes and Misdemeanours, Rosemary - they are all great films. You are in for some great times in 2014! Really hope you like them all.

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    1. I'm glad to hear that I should have lots of good experiences ahead with this list. Given all the votes for each, I'm expecting good things!

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  3. I've seen a lot of the titles that made the final cut - you're in for a great year!

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    1. Glad to hear it. Congrats on reaching show 100! I'm looking forward to listening to it.

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  4. You have a great list here. I have seen 7 of them and I can safely say there are all exceptional films. The horror films are pure classics. Texas is a brutal and truly twisted horror but still effective. Night of the Living Dead is the father of all zombie culture. It's also one of my first horror films. Rosemary's Baby is a great story, Polanski did such a great job on this haunting film.
    I consider Crimes and Misdemeanors to be among Woody Allen's best serious films. Beautiful and powerful stuff. Les Diaboliques is just a really good thriller. Totoro is an enchanting fantasy anime. I recommend you check all the Ghibli films in case you haven't already, especially Spirited Away and Grave of the Fireflies. Moulin Rouge is my least favorite of the list. It was an interesting musical, but I'm not a big fan of the genre and Baz Luhrrman's flashy style in general.

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    1. I have seen a decent amount of the Ghibli films. Spirited Away is enchanting, and I also really liked Howl's Moving Castle. Nausicaa is also a stunner. Grave of the Fireflies is one of the saddest films that I've ever seen.

      I'm glad to hear that you're a fan of so many of these. The horror films in particular should be interesting since all are favorites of a lot of people. Thanks Cristi!

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  5. Surprised you haven't seen Moulin Rouge. It's a favorite, though I haven't seen it in about 10 years.

    My Neighbor Totoro is magic.

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    1. Moulin Rouge is one of those films that I've been meaning to see for so long, yet I've just never gotten around to it. Once I missed it at the beginning, it just never made the top of the list. My wife and four-year-old both love Totoro, so I'm looking forward to seeing it.

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  6. Totoro is a blessing! I just discovered it a few months back, when I was working up my personal awards for 1988. It's just a brilliant movie.

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    1. I'm thinking this is a pretty safe pick in terms of enjoyment. I haven't heard a bad thing from anyone.

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  7. Of the films in that list, My Neighbor Totoro, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The King of Comedy, and Night of the Living Dead are the ones I haven't seen. It looks like you and I have both picked a Miyazaki film for our Blind Spots as I went w/ Spirited Away as I might do a mini-marathon of Miyazaki films.

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    1. I actually put two Miyazaki films up for the vote, but I had a feeling Totoro would be the one that made it. It received the most votes (14) out of the 30 entries. I"ve also thought about doing a marathon. I need to check out a lot of his earlier films like Castle in the Sky, Kiki's Delivery Service, and Porco Rosso.

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  8. Steven from The Void suggested that I take part in this so it's one film a month then? I should be able to do this, I really need to be more disciplined :D Oh you haven't seen Moulin Rouge!? That's one of my fave movies ever, I hope you enjoy it!

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    1. Awesome! Yes, it's the last Tuesday of every month for the posts. Basically, you create a list of 12 films for 2014 and then do one each month. Ryan compiles links to all the posts for his monthly one.

      It's true that I haven't seen Moulin Rouge. I've intended to check it out for a while, but you know how that goes. I'm glad that it made the cut.

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  9. Great list Dan. I've seen 7 of these. I just need to check out My Neighbor Totoro, The King of Comedy, Night of the Living Dead, Wages of Fear, and Yojimbo.

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    1. Josh, this is my third year doing the Blind Spots, and I think this is the most intriguing list. I'm glad to see that you're also participating! You have a few on there that I just caught up with a year or two ago, and they're definitely worth seeing.

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  10. Very cool list Dan. I still need to see The King Of Comedy. It's a Scorsese one that is a Dark Comedy. It looks cool. Les Daibloique Texas Chainsaw and Rosemary's Baby still hold up well even today

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    1. Vern, I think King of Comedy is one that slips through for a lot of Scorsese fans, though I've heard really good things. I'm looking forward to seeing all the others, which have been on my list for a while.

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  11. That's a damn good list, Dan. I've seen 8 of them, and all are great. Looking forward to your take on My Neighbor Totoro especially -- it's far less depressing than Grave of the Fireflies. :)

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    1. Eric, I expect that a movie with a cat bus is probably going to be a bit lighter (I hope) than Grave of the Fireflies. That movie is just brutal as you know (though great). Congrats on what I expect will be football win for you!

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  12. It's great that you took time for votes and all. I have plenty of films on my watch list, but I only listed the ones I really want to check out now. From all the films you listed, I only have watched Brokeback Mountain, My Neighbour Totoro and Moulin Rouge. I gotta say watching Totoro was a real blast, wish I have seen it when I was a kid. Nice list!

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    1. My four-year-old daughter watched Totoro, and she loved it. I haven't seen more than a few minutes so far, though. It was the leading vote-getter! I liked the idea of doing the votes since it would give me a pretty good idea of what I should be seeing. I was happy to see any of the 50 choices, so there was no wrong picks. Thanks for stopping by!

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  13. I never knew about Letterboxd thanks! I've been wanting a movie site like this too.

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    1. No problem! It's an awesome site for movie fans.

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