Yesterday I read a movie blog entry by Jim Emerson (which can be found on Roger Ebert’s review site) called “101 Movies You Must See Before You Die.” Emerson says they are not necessarily the “best” movies, or even his favorites, but “the movies you just kind of figure everybody ought to have seen in order to have any sort of informed discussion about movies.”
It was a very interesting (and very debatable!) list. I think I’ve seen less than half of them. Some of them are favorites of mine (Bringing Up Baby, The Seven Samurai, Wizard of Oz), some I haven’t seen at all but always kinda mean to (The 400 Blows–which sounds oddly like something from Ellora’s Cave–as well as Aguirre The Wrath of God, Battleship Potemkin, Nosferatu, etc), and some are pretty obvious (Godfather I and II, Persona, Rebel Without a Cause). Now, I enjoy movies very much, but since I haven’t seen so many of these does this mean I should never attempt to discuss them? Does it mean I’m less “worthy” as a movie-goer than someone whose favorite movie is, say Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (as it was with an ex-boyfriend of mine)? And what does it say about me that I am a sucker for these “countdown” lists???
Megan’s post about To Kill a Mockingbird also reminded me of all this. One of my favorite books is War and Peace. For one thing, I’m a sucker for long, sad, navel-gazing Russian novels (I definitely DON’T want to know what that says about me!!!). For another, it shows “our” period from a different viewpoint and culture, which I love. But do I think this is a must-read for everyone, and anyone who hasn’t read it is an incomplete person who should never discuss literature? Well–no. Otherwise, the fact that I have never been able to read Moby-Dick would disqualify me.
All this rambling is just meant to ask–what are your personal “must-see” movies, “must-read” books? How did they affect you, or change your life? I think I need to add to my “must-see before I die” list. ๐