November 19, 2014

Announcing the 2015 Blind Spots Series

The Man with the Movie Camera

The idea of a “blind spot” is tricky because it implies there’s a hierarchy of film fans based on which films you’ve seen. While it’s important to expand your horizons and seek out diverse movies, watching them to check a box is pointless. On the other hand, there’s a benefit in seeking out titles that interest us but were pushed aside for a variety of reasons. These aren’t obscure movies yet have never found their way onto our screens. It’s this reason that has driven me to keep participating in the blind spots series. Last time, I selected 50 choices and had readers select 12 films. The result was an intriguing collection that hasn't included any duds. I’ve used this same process again for my 2015 series.

Thanks to 35 entries from you, I’ve narrowed down my list to 12 clear-cut winners. It was an extremely close vote, and five movies ended up just one vote short of making the group. On the other hand, seven films received just a single vote. I’m sad to say that Action Jackson, The Keep, Above the Law, American Pop, Infernal Affairs 2, and Rolling Thunder landed at the bottom of the rankings. I’m hoping to check out a lot of the options down the road. With a few exceptions, the votes followed no patterns and showed that it would be impossible to make bad choices from these options. Without any more unnecessary discussion, I present to you the 2015 Blind Spots Series:

Carrie
Dirty Dancing
The Dirty Dozen
First Blood
The Great Dictator
The Host
Man with a Movie Camera
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Patton
Poltergeist
Suspiria
Wait Until Dark

It didn’t surprise me that Carrie was the leading vote-getter, and seeing The Nightmare Before Christmas and Suspiria in the second and third slots was no shock. Despite its status in the Sight & Sound Top 10, I was a little surprised that Man with a Movie Camera made the cut. Another choice that I didn’t expect was Wait Until Dark even when you consider the star power of Audrey Hepburn. It’s an intriguing group of films that crosses genres and time periods. I really appreciate the support in building this list for 2015. I’ll post my thoughts about each film on the last Tuesday of each month. These pictures have sat on my watch list for years, and I can’t wait to discover them in the upcoming year.

30 comments:

  1. I've seen 8.

    Carrie is horror perfection.
    Dirty Dancing is pure nostalgia and likable but nothing more, really.
    The Dirty Dozen was a letdown, but a film one should see.
    The Great Dictator is pretty great, but lesser Chaplain in my eyes.
    The Host was kind of amazing, in a camp horror kind of way.
    The Nightmare Before Christmas blew my mind with how great it was...I was NOT expecting that.
    Patton was also a letdown for me, but the performances are aces and worth seeing for those alone.
    Wait Until Dark is a guilty pleasure of mine because I saw it as a child with my mother, who loved it, and so I will always love it despite the obvious flaws. Arkin is a genius in it!

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    1. I've seen a lot of Chaplin, and I've just never gotten around to The Great Dictator. It's the same with Nightmare Before Christmas, where I've nearly watched it so many times. Carrie was the top pick from the group, so your reaction doesn't surprise me.

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    2. My own experience with Chaplin is largely in his earlier work. I personally loved The Gold Rush but there's a reason I've got Modern Times on next year's Blindspot list.

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    3. City Lights is my favorite, though I also loved The Gold Rush and Modern Times.

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  2. I assume when you refer to Carrie you're talking about the 1976 film with Sissy Spacek. I never got around to seeing the 2013 version so I can't comment there, but the original film is an amazing movie. It's one of those films that can really mess around with your emotions, because the whole first three quarters of the movie you just really want to give Carrie a hug after seeing everything she goes through and in the final act she actually becomes kinda scary but at the same time never really stops being sympathetic. It's not easy to write a character the audience can simultaneously fear and sympathize with, but they pulled it off here.

    The Nightmare Before Christmas is also fun, with the added bonus that it's both a Halloween movie and a Christmas movie at the same time (not something you normally see). Considering it's a Tim Burton film it shouldn't be surprising for me to say it's a bit weird but it does have some real emotion.

    I recently posted my own preliminary list of possible Blindspot candidates. Perhaps you'd like to take a look and let me know what you think:

    http://hitchcocksworld.blogspot.ca/2014/11/2015-blindspot-challenge-preliminary.html

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    1. I totally forgot there was a remake to Carrie recently. I do remember the sequel, though I haven't seen that either. It's definitely the original on this list. I'll take a look at your list and offer my thoughts.

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    1. It didn't end up doing badly, but I'm okay with it not being on the list given how recent it is. I will try to check it out sometime soon!

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  4. Very nice selection. I really like the six that I've seen. Five are true blind spots. I'm not sure how to classify Dirty Dancing. It's one of those that I've seen just about every bit of at some point over the years and know all about what I've missed. Still, I've never sat and watched it from beginning to end.

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    1. I tried to mix up the options and include some bigger movies that people reference all the time. I've seen little parts of Dirty Dancing but don't really know that much beyond the obvious parts. I had a feeling it would get picked.

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  5. Kinda sad Perfect Blue didn't make the cut. But I've seen 9 of these, and they're all pretty solid (my favorites on this list being The Great Dictator and Wait Until Dark).

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    1. I'm still hoping to catch a lot of the films that didn't make it (including the animated ones especially). Perfect Blue did get eight votes, but it needed 11 to make it.

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  6. Keeping my eye out for your posts on these films. have fun. The Host and Man with a Movie Camera are Blind spots for me, maybe I'll be inspired by what you see.

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    1. Glad to hear it! I still have two more for this year (Wages of Fear and My Neighbor Totoro), and I'm excited for all the 2015 picks.

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    2. What a coincidence, I don't have The Man With a Movie Camera but I do have another major film from the Soviet Montage movement on mine (http://hitchcocksworld.blogspot.ca/2014/11/2015-blindspot-challenge-final-list.html).

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  7. That is a good list. The Host is such an awesome film. Carrie is horror at its best.

    First Blood... OH HELL YEAH!!! I'm glad we share a couple of films to see for the new year.

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    1. First Blood and The Host picked up steam near the end and just got 11 votes to make it in with the last few choices. I haven't seen any Rambo films, though I know the first one is much different than the others from what I've heard.

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    2. A bit of an odd choice. I had to watch Rambo II for one of my classes and I can tell you it is NOT a good movie. It was really, REALLY bad. However, I've been told that First Blood is quite a bit different from the sequels. If my understanding is correct First Blood is less Rambo running around shirtless in the jungle and more an anti-war film about a guy who is psychologically messed up by his experiences in Vietnam.

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    3. I've heard the same thing about First Blood, which is more of a drama than an action film I believe. The others get more ridiculous.

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  8. Dan, sorry that I didn't put in my votes on time...still had this on my to do list. Looking at the list there are some interesting movies in there and a couple I have not checked out yet.

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    1. No problem, Nostra! I know the weeks can fly by before you know it.

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  9. This is awesome. I look forward to reading your thoughts on The Host and Suspiria

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    1. Thanks Vern! I'm looking forward to finally checking them out.

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  10. I've seen those 12 selections. You mentioned being surprised by Wait Until Dark. I'd actually consider that more suspenseful than any of the official horror films on the list. It really worked for me. In addition to Hepburn, Alan Arkin is also terrific.

    I missed your post on the voting. I would have chimed in if I had seen it. I took a look at it just now and I've watched 41 of them. Of those 41, and of those that did not get picked for the 12, I'd have to put The Crying Game and The Green Mile at the top of your "should see" list. And the one for the "must see" list is The Haunting, which is one of the scariest movies I've ever seen - and it's from 1963.

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    1. Chip, that's an impressive total from the 50 choices. Many aren't that obscure, but it's still a higher number than most I'd expect. The Green Mile came pretty close to making it, but there wasn't much love for The Crying Game. The Haunting was also just two votes shy of making the cut.

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  11. That's a strong list of blind spots. I haven't picked twelve for 2015 yet. Man with a Movie Camera and Patton have been on my watchlist for years :)
    I've noticed Suspiria is a pretty divisive classic in the blogosphere, for the visuals and soundtrack it's a must-see.

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  12. Damn, I missed out on the voting. Can't complain about the end result though -- lots of good stuff in there. Out of the ones I have seen, I think Carrie is my favorite. Even though I knew pretty much the whole story going into it, it didn't spoil the film at all. Sissy Spacek's performance is just out of this world.

    Looking forward to your take on Suspiria especially. I'm not a huge fan of it, but it definitely leaves a lasting impression.

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    1. Carrie was the top vote getter, so I think a lot of people share your views on it. I've seen little parts but not enough to really get an impression. There were no real duds this year from the list, and I expect the same for next year.

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  13. Excellent and diverse list here, Dan. I mean shit, any list that features both Man with a Movie Camera and Dirty Dancing is worth paying attention to!

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    1. Alex, I do like how there's so little connections between the movies. I'm definitely not going to end up watching the same movies repeatedly!

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