Sunday, June 12, 2011

Twelve Movies

On December 31, 2010, despite having made three discrete sets of plans in different parts of Manhattan, with the last one across the street from Jane's apartment, we ended up ringing the New Years staying in. Jane wasn't feeling well, and one by one, the plans all were jettisoned. At 11:30 when we were planning to walk across the street for champagne with our neighbors, even that seemed like too much. The adolescent part of me that always wishes to be out somewhere really fabulous on that evening was mollified by the fact that we watched Chungking Express instead of going out. Getting Jane to cheerfully agree to watch a movie is usually a little bit of a sell, but on New Year's Eve in, I had the advantage. I shamelessly exploited it.

It was the second time I had seen it, but I thought the sweetness and particularity made it perfect for New Year's Eve. Quentin Tarantino's douchey introduction on the DVD notwithstanding, Jane also allowed that she appreciated its quirky, ambiguous love story.

There we were under a pile of blankets, each with a full glass of prosecco. This makes me happy, I thought. What if I could get Jane to agree to do this once a month with me? After the film ended, I made the pitch. Would she be willing to sit down twelve times in 2011 and watch a movie of my choosing without any multitasking? With the expectation of finishing it? The benefit to her was that likely that for the remainder of the month she'd be left alone to do whatever she wanted when I had something to watch. Jane wasn't entirely sure this was going to work out in her favor, but she agreed, and I had the green light to come up with a list of 12 movies.

Now, the trick wasn't to make Jane watch my twelve favorite movies. Nor was it to come up with twelve foundational movies to exposed her to. (How much of a blowhard would that make me?) The idea was to pick movies that for one reason were another were important to me, that she would also enjoy. Or at least appreciate. (Movies that Jane did not tolerate include Lucrecia Martel's La CiƩnaga and The Red Balloon.)

I just like watching movies and I wanted to do it with my sweetie.

We are almost halfway in, and so far so good. Here is what we have so far:

January - Chung King Express, Wong Kar Wai
February - Kung Fu Hustle, Stephen Chow
March - Talk to Her, Pedro Almodovar
April - Celestial Clockwork, Fina Torres
May - Night on Earth, Jim Jarmusch

Kung Fu Hustle was actually in Jane's Netflix cue, but I thought it should count since I had seen it and liked it, she hadn't seen it, and we were going to watch it together. Jane picked Night on Earth after watching the trailers for it and Down by Law. Of all of these, the one she seemed to like the most is Celestial Clockwork.

As to the second half of the year, Run Lola Run is the next in my cue. At this point, I am not sure about the others. Bonnie and Clyde and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown seem like good candidates. It seems like it would be good to throw in some Hitchcock. And I haven't seen Seven Samurai, so maybe that should be folded in. That's what I love about all this, that there are so many films from so many decades from all over the world. There is so much to see.