Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A busy movie year

It's become clear to me that in 2009, I have committed to my love of cinema more than ever before. Starting this blog is just one example. Others include attending six different critic screenings, and embarking on a major ranking project through the wonderful resource known as Flickchart.

The latest example: As of last night, I have now seen more new movies in the calendar year 2009 than in any previous calendar year.

And it happened on November 22nd, with 39 days still remaining on the calendar.

That's right, A Home at the End of the World, which my wife picked up from the library but which happened to be on my list of films to review, was the 212th previously unseen movie that I've seen in 2009. Couple that with the 37 films I've seen for at least the second time this year, and that's 249 movies on the 326th day of the year. That's an average of .76 movies a day, or just over three-quarters of a movie each day.

The old record for new movies was set on December 31, 2005, when Good Night, and Good Luck. was my 211th and final movie of 2005. I don't know how many repeat viewings I had that year, since I didn't keep track of that at the time, but it probably wasn't more than a dozen. That's another thing about my 2009: I have also made a special effort to revisit films that I've loved, leading to what is probably also a calendar year high for movies revisited.

The next closest year to 2005 was 2006, when I saw 205 movies. In no other year have I broken 200. Wedding planning knocked me out of contention for 2007 and 2008. (I got married in April 2008).

Now, I only started keeping track of my running movie order, which has produced this information, in the spring of 2002. That means there could have been some earlier year when I saw more than 211 movies. But given the way I'd been busy with various schooling (high school, then college 91-95, then grad school 98-99), and other complicating factors in my life (moving, not having my own TV, etc.), the only year that would have had a chance would have been 2001. That year, I was trying to make my living exclusively on being a freelance film critic, so I saw a lot of movies. However, I didn't really get started on that until May, having spent the first four months of the year wrapping up business in New York, then driving out to California over the course of a week. Given that busy schedule, I may not have watched more than a dozen movies in the first quarter of 2001, which pretty much puts that year out of contention.

So what does it all mean? I don't know. What does anything I write about on this blog mean?

But one thing is clear: I am a movie lover through and through, and in a way, 2009 has also helped reconfirm that watching movies can be a purpose in life. Some things that may have defined me in the past have taken a clear back seat in terms of their position in my daily life. I am always looking for my next score, and if I use the language of a drug addict in this metaphor, it's because movies are an addictive drug for me -- happily, one with no side effects.

And for me, this addiction is a positive thing. It drives me onward and fuels me in my pursuit toward greatness. I feel like the more I see, the more I consider, the more I compare and the more I write, the closer I get to a full-time career as a "film scholar," if I dare use such highfalutin language. I don't have to be employed at an institution of higher learning to be a film scholar, though that might be something I'd like to consider at some point. I just need to watch a whole lot of movies, and think intelligently about them.

And damn is that fun.

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