The Best Years of Our Lives
You Haven’t Seen WHAT? And Other Humiliations
It’s week 2 for my little blog and with classes having just started and a head cold ravaging my senses I was all out of blogspiration (if this is not already a word it should be). Besides, the first weeks of baby bloghood are so unsatisfying: why am I doing this? is anyone reading this? should I take a nap? But today I received an e-mail from a colleague in my department (hello Randall!) who said this regarding my inaugural post, “The Watercooler” :
Interesting comment during your water-cooler post. I’ve also noticed how little we talk about lit and film. I wonder if some of the lack of wc talk is due to a fear of showing ignorance, revealing that you have not seen a particular movie or read a particular book. I certainly don’t want Marianne [our department’s Shakespeare expert] to know that I haven’t read most of Shakespeare’s plays and can’t remember much about those I have read.
I say we come up with a log in which every one lists their most embarrassing literary or cinematic oversights.
Upon reading this I thought “Eureka! I have something to post about this week!” So in the spirit of Randall’s e-mail I have assembled a list of the films I am most embarrassed to have not seen:
1. Rambo: First Blood (1982, Ted Kotcheff)
As a child of the 1980s, this is unacceptable.
2. Lawrence of Arabia (1962, David Lean)
My friend, Ali, is devoting a substantial portion of her dissertation to the films of David Lean. When I admitted that I hadn’t seen Lawrence, she replied “It’s long.” That pretty much sums up why I’ve avoided it.
3. L’avventura (1960, Michelangelo Antonioni)
I have brought this film home from the library at least twice. And then I’ve opted to watch something like America’s Next Top Model instead. Oh the shame.
4. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946, William Wyler)
I have read numerous critical essays about this film and even sat though several conference presentations that address this classic WWII flick. Does that count?
5. The Grapes of Wrath (1940, John Ford)
I haven’t read the book either. Nail me to the cross.
6. Shane (1953, George Stevens)
I am embarrassed about this one primarily because I always show a clip from it when I teach the Western to my Intro to Film students. Shhhh, don’t tell them.
7. Pather Panchali (1955, Satyajit Ray)
My knowledge of Indian cinema is woefully thin.
8. Rashômon (1950, Akira Kurosawa)
I know, I know, bad me.
9. Way Down East (1920, DW Griffith)
As with #6, I always show a clip (the one on the ice floe) of Way Down East when teaching melodrama. I should watch this tomorrow.
10. Thelma and Louise (1991, Ridley Scott)
I’m an American chick who was in my teens when this film was released. What the hell is wrong with me?
That was oddly liberating.
Care to share your own list of embarrassing cinematic oversights? Yes, you may use an alias…