Many of you know I am a bit of a cinephile. Yep, it’s true. I love film.
What you might not know is that my first love happens to be reading. But over the years I have grown to love the visual arts more and more. Whereas literary form is an art form that works on a couple levels – literary style and prose, the diversity and range of storytelling and storytelling techniques in film is like no other art form that exists. There are so many working parts that it makes these stories not only accessible across sensibilities and interests and platforms (typically running at a couple hours of investment), but also ripe for discussion. You can appreciate the prose of a script or the expertise and precision of the cinematography. You can marvel at performances or indulge in the art of the score and song. You can appreciate the effects or be interested in the editing.
In truth, I like to refer in artistic terms to reading as my life and film as my hobby- a hobby of interest and wonder and investment and learning and collecting.
A Renewed Investment In My Hobby
A few years ago I joined a few online film communities as an effort to help compliment and foster this hobby. I also joined something called Letterboxd, a wonderful social tool that helps you log films and easily follow stats and ratings and trends in your viewing habits, while of course also allowing you to share in this with friends and fellow users. I noted earlier this year after looking through the stats of how many films I watch in a given year a very real correlation between joining these online communities and this Letterboxd site and a significant rise in the number of films I see in a given year. Which is super exciting to me, not because of the numbers (as we like to say in the online communities, it is not a competition), but because it means this investment is paying off. I am finding that I have never held a deeper love for the art of film, nor have I been as deeply connected to it, something that has been sticking with me as I engage in my annual tradition of poring over my year in film and considering end of the year lists, thoughts and most anticipated.
Just for my personal record, here is a resolutions list for my film watching in 2019 that I committed to in one of those online film groups:
1. Rewatch Del Toro’s entire filmography (my favorite Director) and do a blog piece on what his work means to me. This also coincides with reading the book he released with his touring art exhibit a few years back.
2. Get a start on my idea to own my top five films of the last 20 years in physical copy.
3. Increase the support I give to my local art house (Cinemateque) and/or other local art houses (like The Fargo Theater) which has been very rewarding this year. My goal is to see a few more films in that venue- 6 was my number, and perhaps finally become a member.
Putting Together My Personal Tops Lists
It has typically been a tradition for me to wait until the end of January, or even February to do this, as many films released in a year often don’t see wide release until after the New Year, and I have found it typically takes a month to check off the films I feel I need to see in order to complete my list.
That and typically the Oscar season brings with it an opportunity to catch up on some of those films through re-releases, which also gives me the chance to weigh in on both my top lists and the awards season at the same time.
THE FILMS OF 2018: What I watched, what I loved and what I’m looking forward to
So here is what I would like to do this year. I would like to weigh in with these three things:
1. In Part One look at my top list as it stands now for films released in 2018, first time watches in 2018 that were released in any year prior to 2018, a look back at how well my most anticipated of 2018 list actually fared in the end, and my top wish list for films I still need to see and which I fully expect to present a challenge.
2. In Part 2, my reflections on my year in film from a personal and thematic perspective.
3. In Part 3, my most anticipated films of 2019
And then later in my annual Oscar blog post I will update my 2018 list with 2018 films that I manage to catch up with along the awards season way.
And as always, if you are reading this and a fellow film lover, feel free to weigh in with your favorites, thoughts and anticipations on my facebook page, personal message or here. I always love hearing about and discussing film with others. And 2018 has been another pretty stellar year in film if you ask me.
Cheers to another year gone by and the New Year ahead. May it bring with it plenty more cinematic love and experiences and meaning and excitement.