Monday, August 17, 2015

Fall Film Challenge 2015: 25 Movies in 3 Months

After participating in a summer book challenge (well, technically I'm still participating since I haven't completed all 10 books!), I realized I really love these types of things. Challenges like this combine so many things I love: entertainment, making lists, connecting with others, and, of course, getting out of my comfort zone a bit to check out things I might otherwise have ignored.

So when Stephanie and Erin shared posts about a fall movie challenge, I was intrigued. I've been trying to read a lot this year, so I haven't been watching as many movies (or as much TV, for that matter). When I do watch Netflix, I'm usually binge watching a TV show. I guess I've been in kind of a movie rut lately. I can't even remember the last time I watched a movie that I really loved.

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I'm hoping this challenge will help me start enjoying movies again. I wouldn't say I don't like movies anymore, but sometimes it's hard for me to devote 100% of my attention to a film. (Which is probably why a lot of the foreign films on my Netflix queue have been sitting there, unwatched, for at least a year.) 

It will also be a little more fun because it's something I can share with Eric (when he wants to see the movie too, anyway). Although I've discovered that I love reading challenges, that's a solitary activity. Yes, he could read the same books I'm reading so we could discuss them, but we don't usually enjoy the same types of books ... So it wouldn't be very fun for him (or for me if he picked the book). We like a lot of the same movies, though, so I'm sure we'll be checking a bunch of these off the list together. (I know there are a few on this list that he'll probably pass on, though.)

I'll admit that finding movies to fit each category that I've never seen and that had a theatrical release was more difficult than I initially thought (and, if I'm being honest, I initially thought it would be pretty challenging). For the most part, I tried to pick movies that were already on my Netflix queue because I really need to clean that shit up. I did end up adding a few, though, so I still have about 100 on my instant queue and over 300 on my DVD queue. Yikes.

If watching 25 movies in 3 months sounds like something you'd want to do, you can read the official rules here.

Edited to add: I was either really tired when I wrote and edited this or I just don't know how to count (either is totally possible), but the challenge runs from September 1 through November 30, so you have 3 full months to watch 25 movies. I've edited this post to reflect that.

Here are my picks:

1. A movie set in New York City: Side Effects
I didn't know this was set in New York until I started Googling. I was relieved because I feel like it's been sitting in my instant queue for a really long time.

2. A movie that incorporates hot air balloons in the story: Night Crossing
Apparently there aren't that many movies that feature hot air balloons (or so it would seem). I'd already seen Up (if that even counts) and Enduring Love, and there weren't many other movies listed that appealed to me. This one sounds like it could be pretty good, though.

3. A movie featuring a child as the main character: Lolita (The 1997 version)
Although Humbert Humbert is technically the main character, I think this probably still counts. I love the novel, and I've wanted to see how it translates to film for a while.

4. A Disney film: Inside Out
Since Netflix didn't list any tentative release dates for this, I placed a hold on it at the library. I'm number 152. Hopefully I'll get it within the 2 month time period for this challenge! I know I can always pick something else, but I really want to see this one.

5. A movie set in Egypt OR featuring an Egyptian character OR starring an Egyptian actor/actress: Benny's Video
I was shocked to learn that part of this movie takes place in Egypt ... It seems kind of random. Regardless, this has been in my queue forever so I'm glad it fit into one of the categories.

6. A close friend or family member's favorite film: The Majestic
I asked Eric if he had any favorite movies that I hadn't seen, and this was one of them. He claims one of the last scenes is one of his favorite movie scenes of all time, so I'm definitely curious.

7. A movie with the word "Great" in the title: Great Expectations (The 1998 version)
I didn't really want to see this, but nothing else sounded better.

8. A movie starring Harrison Ford: Paranoia
I realized I've seen a lot of Harrison Ford's movies when I was trying to pick one for this challenge. Erin chose the same movie for this category, so hopefully we both enjoy it!

9. A movie featuring an idiot as the main character: Step Brothers
No, I've never seen this movie. I don't watch a lot of "dumb" comedies (or comedies in general), but this was still a difficult category because I've already seen the ones I'd actually want to see.

10. A movie mentioned in the Levi Strauss list Denim and the Oscars: A Look at Jeans in Cinema: Thelma & Louise
I've seen several of the movies on that list, but I kind of can't believe I never watched this one.

11. A film about a knight: Braveheart
Like Stephanie, I've never seen Braveheart. A lot of people seem to think it's good, though, so hopefully it's worth the time. (At almost 3 hours long, it really better be worth the time!)

12. A love story: One Day
Like comedies, romantic movies aren't really my thing. I did, however, have this movie on my Netflix queue already. I guess I'm willing to occasionally branch out.

13. A movie about something miraculous: 127 Hours
This was another movie that was already on my Netflix queue. I always try to avoid spoilers, so I don't actually know if this movie fits well into this category, but the summary makes it sound like a pretty extraordinary story.

14. A movie starring an actor/actress with your first name: Bridesmaids
I almost went with a Kristen Stewart movie (I know, I know) because I actually want to see Speak. I've never seen Bridesmaids, though, and I feel like everyone thinks it's hilarious. I want to see what all the fuss is about.

15. A film about the Olympics: Munich
This is another movie that has been on my queue for a really long time. I just never got around to watching it.

16. A film mentioned on Time magazine's list The Top Ten Newspaper Movies: Zodiac
Can you believe I've never seen this? I can't. I mean, it's a movie about a serial killer that stars Jake Gyllenhaal (I love him) and is directed by David Fincher (I love him too). It's a perfect movie for me, so it was the obvious choice here.

17. A movie with a question in the title: What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
I'm glad I got to include this one because my mother-in-law has told me several times recently that I should watch it.

18. A movie with a score of 90% or greater on Rotten Tomatoes: It Follows
This one was actually tough because there were so many movies I'd like to see that fall under this category. And, although the premise seemed kind of ridiculous to me at first, It Follows has been getting pretty consistently good reviews. I felt like I should give it a chance.

19. A film about a superhero: Kick-Ass
I don't really like superhero movies, but this one might be bearable.

20. A movie with subtitles: The Hunt
It's no secret that I love foreign films, so it was hard to choose just one. This one has been on my queue for a while, though, and it seems like the kind of deeply emotional, deeply disturbing movie I'd love.

21. A movie that incorporates unicorns in the story: Black Moon
I was kind of surprised that there were so many to choose from in this category. I'll also admit that I've seen The Cabin in the Woods, Fantasia, Heavenly Creatures, and The Virgin Suicides and I couldn't remember anything about unicorns in any of them. Maybe it's been too long since I've seen any of those, but I've even seen The Virgin Suicides multiple times ... It makes me wonder how I could forget (or possibly not even notice) something like that.

22. A film about a personal victory: Captain Phillips
Again, since I avoid spoilers, this was kind of a tough category for me. Since it's based on true events, though, I'm going to assume he probably survived to tell the story. (Don't answer that if you've seen it. I still want to be at least somewhat surprised!)

23. A movie with the word "Black" or "White" in the title: Red White & Blue
This is probably one of the most fucked up movies on my list (which means I'll probably end up watching it alone). It's been on my queue for a while, though, and it's received quite a few positive reviews.

24. A movie set in a country you would most like to visit: Enter the Void
This was difficult for me because I want to visit so many places. Parts of this movie are set in Tokyo, though, and Japan is pretty high on my list of places to travel. It's also another movie that has been in my queue for a long time, and I'm sure it will be awesome (and probably fucked up) because it's a film by Gaspar Noé. (He wrote and directed Irreversible, which made it into my Guide to the Best Disturbing Films.)

25. A film set in a zoo: A Zed & Two Noughts
Since I've already seen We Bought a Zoo, I was worried it would be difficult to find something for this category. I managed to find this weird little movie, though, and miraculously it's available on Netflix.

If you've seen (or want to see) any of these movies, feel free to let me know your thoughts!


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  2. it's three months, not two. and if you haven't seen the great raid, i highly, highly recommend watching that.

  3. So glad you're doing it too! I feel like Braveheart will be one of the last ones I get to haha. It IS long.
    I liked Zodiac, but it was kind of slow. Step Brothers was almost too dumb to be funny, but I think you already know that going into it!

  4. oh I hope you like Kick Ass. I thought it was great.
    I almost went with a Kristen Stewart movie as well - but I had seen most of them already haahhaa.

  5. I don't always love "dumb" movies either, but Step Brothers had me laughing out loud several times. Bridesmaids too.

    I wasn't thrilled with my Black/White pic, and I like fucked up movies, so I'm going to check out that choice of yours....

  6. Fun picks! Braveheart is long, but really good! I hope you like One Day more than I did...I wasn't a fan of the end.

  7. I'm participating in this too! Got your link from the Facebook group. I'm also going to be watching Step Brothers for my idiot pick and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? This is so fun!

    As for your other picks... Bridesmaids is awesome. It's one of my favorite comedies in the last decade. Inside Out is also excellent and is, in my opinion, the best thing Pixar has done in a long time (even though I can't say for sure until I see Up, which is on my list). Kick-Ass, It Follows, and Thelma and Louise are all really good!

  8. I had the same thoughts about this challenge vs. a book challenge- I'm glad my husband can participate in this one with me :) I love The Majestic! I hope you do, too! And Bridesmaids is a classic!! Ha!

  9. My husband and I are planning to watch a number of them together as well. I have been on reading kick lately and had similar thinking on this being something fun we could do together! I wanted to pick Inside Out...can't wait to check it out...but ended up going with another one! Loved Captain Phillips though...might be partly due to my adoration for all things Tom Hanks, but I really enjoyed it! Good luck with the challenge!

  10. You'll love Inside Out I watched it twice it was that good. Such a great message within the film too :) I am a sucker for a Disney film!
    I love Bridesmaids and Stepbrothers maybe because I enjoy comedy films when done well :)

  11. In reading everyone's lists I'm amazed at how many people have never seen Braveheart. It truly is a good movie. I ugly cried the first time I watched it. I wasn't a fan of Kick-Ass at all.

  12. Great choices! I really loved Munich, Inside Out, Bridesmaids, and Captain Phillips. I can't wait to see what you thought of them. I also chose Great Expectations because I couldn't really think of anything else. Haha!