15 Things I Picked Up from Watching 378 Movies in 2015

Is it too late to say Happy New Year? Well, this is where we are. Happy New Year!

I’m a student of the cinema. It isn’t something I learned about myself, just something I sort of always knew. I’ll watch anything and everything and pick up what I can. Even if a movie is complete garbage in my eyes, learning what doesn’t work for me means I didn’t waste two hours of my life. Way back in January 2015, I thought it would be fun to start a movie log and keep track of every movie I watch from start to finish and see where I ended up by December 31st.

My favorite movies leave a lasting impression on me. An intriguing premise or specific actor draws me in, but there’s no such thing as a guaranteed win. What wins me over is that gut feeling, that visceral, emotional reaction to the story or characters or mise-en-scène or technique and in some very special cases — all of the above. I also have so much love and respect for bold creative choices.

When I say a movie is a film and gorgeous and life-changing in the way it captivates, it’s just my opinion and if I say a movie is a popcorn movie is a box office grubbing heap of garbage with no substance beneath the one liners and excessive explosions, I fully expect people, strangers and those I love and respect, to disagree. That’s the beauty of the cinema, right? Subjectivity! It’s beautiful. How certain films and characters and tropes rip my heart apart and make me enjoy it, but someone else can just shrug it off. Absolutely maddening, but beautiful. Movies are magic in the way people react differently to seeing the same thing. It’s magic. Movies are magic and 2015 was a great year in the world of professional make-believe.

In 2015, I watched 378 movies. The original plan was to watch a movie a day, but life had other plans more often than not so if I was too busy to watch a movie one day I’d make up for it by watching two (or four) on a later day. It worked out, for the most part. Here are a few of those things I picked up along the way:

1. Don’t illegally download movies! Can’t stress it enough. Just don’t do it, kids.

2. My favorite movies released in 2015 look a little like this:  

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Movie Log 2015

movielog

Okay, here’s the deal. I have issued myself a challenge. It’s a simple challenge, really. There are only two rules:

1) watch movies

2) keep track

For the entire year! (Then I plan to do it again next year and the year after that and so on.) Ideally, I’d like to watch one movie a day and I have so far, but I know myself well enough to avoid a setup for disaster. What better way to honor and continue developing my undying love for cinema than by watching as many movies as I possibly can? I actually keep pages and pages of handwritten notes and thoughts on every movie I see in a Moleskine because the best movies make me think about it for days after and I need to get it all out of my head. I try to keep it brief with the comments on the online log even though I can go on and on about a movie forever. I even rate each movie based on my own personal system of little gold stars.

Check out my movie log for 2015! Happy watching!