Introduction: This is a guest post by one of our readers, Dallas King, who paid more attention to our 500 Greatest Films Of All Time list than most. After meeting him at Movie-Con III and hearing about his insane quest to watch all 500 in a single year, we thought that the least we could do was ask him to tell you all about it. And here it is...
How many people can say that an entire year of their life has been influenced by a Meryl Streep movie? Well I can. Last September I saw Julie & Julia, which told the true life story of Julie Powell who cooked and blogged her way through all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s ‘Mastering The Art Of French Cooking’ book. Inspired by this, I wanted to do the cinematic equivalent and started out on an epic challenge to watch and review every single film on Empire magazine’s 500 Greatest Films Of All Time list in just 365 days.
When I told people what I was doing, I was told that it was “nuts”, “impossible”, “stupid”, “geeky”, etc. It sounded like one of those crazy challenges that Dave Gorman or Danny Wallace would write a book about.
The rules were simple. 1) Each film on the list must be watched (at least) once during the 365 days. 2) I must start at number 500 (Ocean's Eleven) 3) I must finish with number 1 (The Godfather) 4) I can watch the other films in any order I choose 5) At the end of each day I must post a blog stating which films I have watched and a review of each film 6) The film can be watched in any format (cinema, DVD, Blu Ray, VHS, etc) except for illegal download
Time spent watching all 500 films = 59792 minutes = 996.5 hours = 41.5 days.
And on Wed 15th September 2010, 365 days after I had started, the challenge ended with a screening of The Godfather at my local cinema. People have asked me how I feel now that it is over. What will I do with all my spare time? Would I do anything like this again?
For every five star film on the list like The Shining or The Empire Strikes Back, there was the disappointment of having to revisit films like The Phantom Menace or Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, both of which had destroyed happy memories of my childhood.
It was also a voyage of discovery, both literally and figuratively. I watched films I had never seen before and found gems like High And Low or Blow Out, but I have visited cinemas across the country including London and Brighton (even a trip to the Cannes Film Festival) in order to cross films off the list.
I’d like to think that I have gained a considerable amount of film knowledge could be put to good use around the Empire offices, but if nothing else I’ve a head full of film trivia which might come in handy at future pub quizzes, which I will be able to attend now that I have a social life again. Would I do it again? Let me know when Empire publishes their 1000 Greatest Films Ever Made list and I’ll book myself in for the Ludovico Technique!
Favourite Film = Casablanca / Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Least Favourite Film = Crash
Most Memorable Film Screening = Watching The Leopard at the Cannes Film Festival with introduction by Martin Scorsese
Biggest Surprise = Blow Out (I know Tarantino loved it but was amazed how great it actually was)
tommypocket Posted on Friday September 17, 2010, 11:26
Great stuff Dallas... something I'd love to do - need a James Stewart/Rear Window injury to confine me to the TV...
I planned on reading Time Magazines 100 gretaest novels of the 20th century a while back... until I realised I'd have to read one every 3.65 days.
Didn't really think that one through did I...
Ethanial Posted on Friday September 17, 2010, 11:48
Your head wasn't full enough to win a second Bastard Hard quiz though...
Excellent work Dallas, I don't think anyone couldn't be proud of you, just brilliant work with such a horrendous idea (Seriously, what a truly extreme thing to do with your life, still, stand up, tv series and book deals await).
Look forward to the imdb 100 bad films in 35 days.
thrashly Posted on Friday September 17, 2010, 12:22
Top work Mr Dallas... with reading your reviews it almost feels like i watched em at the same time! ;)
jackmansgirl Posted on Friday September 17, 2010, 12:34
Well done Dallas! Amazing work.
Hope to share a beverage with you again soon.
Dr Science Posted on Friday September 17, 2010, 13:04
nclowe Posted on Friday September 17, 2010, 15:47
Congrats Dallas!!! Lets hope this comes in handy for next years moviecon so you can re-claim your crown "Bastard-Hard" Crown :D
AquaDragon2K Posted on Friday September 17, 2010, 16:28
Mr Dallas - I salute sir . There should be a day named after you. Sterling work!
The_Bob Posted on Friday September 17, 2010, 16:59
Impressive... most impressive...
... still can't believe you didn't like Russian Ark though.
PatsyIrvine Posted on Friday September 17, 2010, 19:17
That's pretty inspirational. Me and my friends talked about doing this, but it was unfotunately just another idea in the pub. Wish we'd had your dedication!
Cyberleader Posted on Friday September 17, 2010, 22:17
Thing is, I don't understand why no one likes the latest indiana Jones. I loved it. That ant scene was one of the greatest scenes of all time.
kisswithatear Posted on Friday September 17, 2010, 23:58
I envy you for your time and effort, well done film soldier, I admire your work :)
I'm working my way through 100 films this year and beyond but I doubt I could do 500 in a year, (I dont have a social life as it is and I'm finding THIS difficult) so well done :)
matsnowie Posted on Saturday September 18, 2010, 07:53
Well done, although I still don't entirely understand why most people dislike - or even despise - Crash, Indy 4 and The Phantom.... wait, actually meesa do remember why people hate The Phantom Menace, but I'll still defend Crash and Indy 4. Inspiring none-the-less, and I plan to follow in your footsteps, although not in a single year, and I'll likely skip Episode 1.
Fenwick Posted on Saturday September 18, 2010, 10:32
Good work, very impressive. I look forward to reading the reviews.......Im at work on a Sat morning with noone else around - what better time to do it!!! Ah gettign paid to read film reviews......:)
PhilAbernethy Posted on Saturday September 18, 2010, 14:48
That's not even 2 films a day for a year, I don't understand how this is impressive at all.
The900MidNightBee Posted on Saturday September 18, 2010, 15:05
Impressive effort. My stastistics for that read as follows: 500 – 401: 62 400 – 301: 56 300 – 201: 41 200 – 101: 61 100 – 1: 82 Total = 302/500
How's everybody else fared then?
Jenzy Posted on Saturday September 18, 2010, 19:01
Yeh I thought Crash was overrated as well. Far too overrated and that Oscar just took the proverbial in my opinion.
This was a really good read. It's one of them things I would really love to do...
Roll Posted on Saturday September 18, 2010, 20:18
PhilAbernathy: I think I speak for all of us when I Say Shut It. Why don't you try it then? Must be fun tracking down all those rare films like Dallas did...
On which note: well done mate. I've read the blog the entire 365 days!
jolietjake78 Posted on Thursday September 23, 2010, 14:50
Hang on a minute!!! Who the fuck put Indy IV on the list of 500 best films ever??!??!?!?!!!?!??! I can see how Phantom Menace creeps on there (podrace, Darth Maul) but Indy IV, I can't remember seeing it on there...
carzed_fairy Posted on Thursday October 7, 2010, 00:14
makes me proud to be a belmont cinema go-er