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My Year in Review - Plus...2020 Resolutions?

I was initially happy with the movie and TV resolutions I made for 2019, but at some point, the whole exercise became tedious. And while there were some great positives involved, my resolutions also had some negative consequences.


On the plus side, I knocked out several box sets and TV seasons that had been sitting on the shelf for years. Yet watching those box sets and TV shows kept me from watching other movies, especially "greater" or what you might call "art" films. I love him, but when William Castle is your most-watched director, perhaps something needs to change.

One of my long-term goals has always been to complete Roger Ebert's list of The Great Movies, which consists of over 300 films. Before 2019, I had 76 movies left to see from that list. I only saw eight of those this year. That's pathetic. (Roger, you should be giving me a thumbs-down, dude...)

I had mentioned that I was going to see fewer movies anyway in 2019, which I did (nearly 100 fewer). That allowed me to read more, which included more books about movies. I do not regret this.

Other positives? In 2018, 16% of the movies I watched were international films. In 2019, I improved that to 19%. I'm not sure if this is a positive, but in 2018, 25% of my movies were rewatches; in 2019, 30%.

At the library where I work, I introduced, screened, and discussed more movies than ever for a total of 24 films. (My co-worker Angela even got into the act, presenting Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead.) I also presented two other films - Purple Noon (1960) and Paradise Now (2005) at another library.

I was pleased to appear on The Movie Palace podcast twice in 2019, discussing North by Northwest (1959) and Detour (1945). (Carl, it's always a pleasure being on your podcast!)

I'm also so glad to be a part of The Dark Pages team, where I published several reviews, essays, and a regular "What's New in Film Noir?" column. (Many thanks, Karen!)

Perhaps my biggest honor of the year came early in 2019, when I had an article published in the Noir City 17 program, which was available at every Noir City event last year. The program was designed by the amazingly talented Michael Kronenberg.

How about getting out of town for movies in 2019? I was pleased to attend three Noir City festivals, the complete Noir City 17 in San Francisco, most of Noir City Chicago, and a few days of Noir City DC. In addition, I attended the Conference on World Affairs, primarily to attend Ebert Interruptus.

The best part of these events is meeting people. I've spoken to these two guys, Eddie Muller and Bill Selby, Alan K. Rode (in the second picture) many times, but I also got to meet lots of new people including Laura-Celest and Lacey Cannon Gonzales of the Fatal Femmes podcast, Aimee Pavy of Twelve Chimes It's Midnight, Jennifer from San Francisco, the Duffys, Karen Burroughs Hannsberry (pictured below), Deidre Egan, Chuck Pickerill, and many others. (Apologies if I've left anyone out - If I have, please remind me!)

I also met some great people at Ebert Interruptus, including the host and moderator Josh Larsen of Filmspotting and Think Christian, as well as my new friend Carol P.

Now, what about those 2020 movie resolutions? This is something I've been struggling with all year, and after listening to The Magic Lantern podcast's recent "Ants in Your Pants" episode, where both Cole and Ericca confirmed my own thoughts, I'm going to forego any 2020 resolutions except for one, which I'll name in a moment.

I do have a couple of goals related to what I'm going to write about in 2020, but there's no timeline involved. Whenever I finish is whenever I finish. I want to watch and write about:

1 - Every Alfred Hitchcock feature film that's available. This is a project that's been on my mind for years, and again, there's no timeline. I'm just going to watch and write, taking my time.

2 - The Ingmar Bergman Criterion box set. This massive thing's been sitting on my shelf for a year now, and (other than making sure all the discs are there) I haven't cracked it. I've seen about six or seven Bergman films, have enjoyed them, but have also been challenged by them. I figure the only way to overcome my fear of Bergman is to jump right in and write about them. Again, this is a long-term project rather than a resolution with a timeline. I'll finish when I finish.

Which brings me to my only real resolution for 2020: To finish Roger Ebert's Great Movies list, which means I'll watch the remaining 68 unwatched films on that list. I can do that.

Other than that, I'm going to follow Cole and Errica's lead and watch what I want, when I want. And I think I'll have a grand time doing so.

So, first of all how was your year? And what are your plans for 2020? Please share.

By the way, my Favorites of 2019 post (not a "Best of" list) will appear in a couple of weeks after I've seen at least six or seven more 2019 films. Happy New Year to one and all!

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