I’m at it again…

Seriously, you give me 3 weeks, I’ll find movies to watch. I’m like 1010 WINS. (People from New York just got that joke and no one else did.)

I finished my Oscar Quest back in July. So from August 1st, for the first time in 15 months (we’re seeing it eye to eye), I had nothing to watch. There was no list of films I told myself I needed to see (thereby making it mandatory). Not even a list of films I should be watching. It was back to being like it was BQ (Before Quest), where it was just whichever I wanted to rent from Netflix. Like — anything. Not, what I wanted from this specific set of films I need to watch. I could watch anything. It was weird. It felt — empty. It’s like taking care of a kid for 18 years and then suddenly not having to do it anymore. Or retiring after 40 years on the job. It’s like, “How do I fill the time?” Of course, after doing anything for a sustained period of time, once I’m done with it, all I want to do is not do anything for a while. You know? The semester ends, and you go home, and you just want to sit for a week and do nothing.

So that’s what I did. I finished my Oscar movies and just did nothing. I listened to a lot of music, I watched random movies. The enjoyment movies. Where you pop them on and just laze. Pop on Bourne Identity and do laundry, clean up, and keep one eye on it. Those kinds of movies. I went back and watched the entire X-Men animated series from my childhood. I’d been wanting to do that for a while. I rewatched all the old Doug episodes. Shit like that. The equivalent of junk food. I spent about a week or two on that. Then I went and watched all the George Carlin specials again, after like four years of not seeing them (still have half those bits memorized). It was great. That was all around my birthday. I got done with all of it around Labor Day. Then I spent all of September getting way ahead on article writing for the blog. To the point where, before October started, all the articles for it were written and scheduled to go up. I felt pretty awesome about that. It was just one of those times where you don’t feel like you need to do anything, so you can just relax.

But, of course, like those times, after a doing nothing for a while, you feel like you should be doing something. Or, in my case, you organically find something to do and, before you realize it, you’re already in the middle of doing it. Which is what happened.

I had this idea a while back to make a bunch of lists detailing my favorite films. It was part of this whole idea that, if I’m going to put forth my opinion on the internet, I should at least give people as much information as possible as it relates to my personal tastes, because the internet is a place that includes a lot of assholes. Like, there are people who will read the stuff you write for a year, and then all of a sudden go fucking crazy about something you write, meanwhile it’s like, “You knew I don’t like these types of films, I don’t understand how this doesn’t make sense to you.” (Which is only a shade worse than the people who do know your tastes and still are like, “I don’t get it.”)

But, I felt that if I put as much information out there as I can, then, in an ideal world, people could see that and know where I’m coming from, and that way save us lots of time up front. If you like nothing but horror movies, and I said up front, I hate horror movies and don’t watch them — right there, you know, “Okay, maybe me and this guy aren’t going to have too much in common. That, and, I also figured, on the other side of the coin, if I did list all the stuff I liked, for the people who do like a lot of the stuff I like, then they see some of the films on there and be like, “I haven’t seen that,” and maybe go check it out. Plus I just love making lists. I love the actual process of making lists. I don’t put so much stock into the rigidity of them as be-all-end-all tools, as some people do, but I like making them. It’s fun for me.

So what I decided to do was — since I put that article on the sidebar that lists my favorite films, I figured I’d expand on that. Make specific favorites lists. Since “favorite films” is too general to really list anything. Once you get past like, top five, the films get interchangeable with an exponentially larger set of films. But I figured — “If I do lists of my favorite films from each era (Top Tens of the Decade lists), or by genre, and by star and by director, then we can really get specific, so when people search for, ‘Well, what kind of comedies does he like?’, then I can have these lists, like, ‘Here are my favorite screwball comedies, my favorite slapstick comedies, my favorite stoner comedies, my favorite spoof movies, etc.'” Of course, originally it started out as just a general list of stuff, but, knowing me, the meticulousness takes over and what starts as a simple, “Hey, let’s watch all the Best Picture winners” turns into — well, you’re looking at what it turns into.

So what I did was, originally, say, “Let’s make lists of stuff like, “Favorite Pixar Films” and “Favorite Costume Dramas” and “Favorite Comedies of the 70s”” — those were the actual categories I started with — and then, as the idea sat there in the folder of stuff to do at some point, like most of my scripts, I started getting ideas for it randomly. That’s what I do, I let things sit on the side, to get to them at some point, and because my brain is always firing, I’ll get ideas for things at random times. And then I go and write down my new idea, and, depending on how much I run with it, I could end up doing quite a bit of work on it without planning on it. And sometimes that leads to, “Well, shit, I’ve already written fifteen pages and have almost a full outline. I guess I’m writing this now.”

What happened here was, I said, “Let me start with favorite films by director.” It was just a throwaway idea. Because I’d just written a month’s worth of Oscar Quest article, and I was totally Quested out. You’ve seen the structure of those articles. I wrote 30 of them in a very short time span. I wanted nothing to do with any of that for a little while. So, I said, “Let me look up directors and see if I can make Top Ten or Top Five lists of the films they made that I’ve seen and liked.” It wasn’t about ranking them in terms of quality, but rather, how I liked them. Kind of like the Top Tens of the Decade. It’s not “the best,” it’s “my favorite.” So that way, when I write My Top Ten Martin Scorsese films and rank Bringing Out the Dead above Taxi Driver, people who haven’t seen Bringing Out the Dead could be like, “He ranked that higher than Taxi Driver,” and go out and see it. And it’s not that I think Bringing Out the Dead is a superior film than Taxi Driver, it’s just that, if it came down to it and I was looking for something to watch, 8 out of 10 times, I’d pick Bringing Out the Dead before I picked Taxi Driver. And the goal with the lists was for people to see them, and, if they hadn’t seen Bringing Out the Dead, maybe go and check it out and possibly discover a film they hadn’t seen before that they might end up loving.

And that’s what I did. It started very randomly at first. Like, “What directors can I think of off the top of my head?”, and I went to IMDB, tried to find five or ten films of theirs that I saw or liked, and ranked them in the order I liked them.

But of course — knowing me — it grew into something else.

I should have known. I should always know. Yet it all happens so organically that I don’t realize it until I’m already doing it. And it’s like, “Oh, so this became a thing. Hmm.”

Like the Character Actors thing. At first that started as a list of character actors as a change-up post, and also as something people could be like, “Oh yeah, I’ve seen him before! I know him!” And then I was like, “Well, if I add a bunch more people, I can have all the people we recognize but don’t necessarily know.” And what started as a minor list of about 100 actors became what it is now — which I think is at like 400 or 500 or something. I forget. I haven’t counted in a while. But it’s a lot. And I’m putting on new people every week. Every Sunday, I go and add all the people I found during the week who either I hadn’t thought to put on before or didn’t realize weren’t on there yet (and I’m also abolishing the original point of the list, which was not to include the really famous character actors that everyone knows, like Christopher Walken and John Goodman. They’re gonna go on now, since, I figured, why not just have everyone? Because, by now, I’m reaching the point where, soon, I might have everyone on there, and in that case, why not put them on?).

So, what I’m saying is — like that, and like everything else, it grew. And grew. And grew. To the point where I now have 500 films I’m in the process of watching just so I can make these lists. And it all just happened so gradually that I didn’t even realized it until I was like, “There are 500 films here.” And there are now about 150 directors on this list, too.

Part of this comes down to my inability to just phone things in and rank certain films on the lists based on their critical standing. I have to watch every film I put on the page. And since quite a few of them are major films I just haven’t gotten around to seeing yet (quite like those of the Oscar Quest), I’m just gonna see them and make it a thing (thereby making it mandatory), because, why not?

I think of it as self-improvement. You know how people are like, “You never stop learning”? Well, that’s me and movies. You never stop watching. You’re always finding more things to see.

Though, I do think, after I see this batch of films, there will actually be very few things I haven’t seen. Which is a pretty scary thought. So I won’t dwell on it. Plus, because, I know me, and I’ll find lots more shit I haven’t seen yet and get on that.

But, the point of this was to break up what feels like the monotony (though, admittedly, I’m like a month ahead of where the blog is, so maybe it’s just compounded for me) with one of those posts that just got thrown together twenty minutes before it went up. It was to let all, I don’t know, seven of you that read this on a regular basis (I know I have 18 subscribers, but I know only like six or seven people actually keep up on the day to day of it all. I see the stats. I know what it is. Also, congrats to like, the four of you who read this one), that I’m embarking on another Quest. I can’t really keep track of this one, since — how? It’s the kind of thing where — I have my lists and it’s filled with stuff I’ve seen and a bunch of ones I haven’t in the spots that need to be filled. It would make absolutely no sense to anyone but me if I posted it, not to mention, how would I post it? Just list the films I’m gonna watch? Who cares about that? Put the lists up unfinished? That’s not interesting either. So I’m just gonna say I’m doing it, and when I get satisfactorily completed with it, I’ll post the lists and just add whichever ones I finish after that as I finish them.

So that’s what’s up over here. I’m now watching about 500 more films, all by director. And we’ve got some obscure ones in there. If I could make a list of at least five films I liked by a director, they went on.

And, oh yeah, I’m gonna be doing it by actor/actress after I’m done with this, so, no, it doesn’t end. It goes on, and on, and on, and on.

Wow, I am so embarrassed by how low I will go to make a joke. (Fucking Journey? Really, Mike?)

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