Movies to watch in your lifetime


Start from the year you were born. List one movie from each year of your life that you have not seen up to this point, but want to see. After you watch it review it, or at lest give a thumbs up or thumbs down. Keep an eye out on other peoples lists to find additional movies you want to watch. You don't have to do all your list at once. I'll probably do ten years at a time myself.

Jean-Luc Godard Contempt 1963

Beckett 1964

Fellini's Juliet of the Spirits 1965

Bergmans's Persona 1966

Benuel Belle de Jour 1967

Zepharelli Romeo and Juliet 1968

Satyricon- Fellini 1969

Antoniones Zabriskie Point 1970

Mcabe and Mrs. Miller Altman 1971

Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie Luis Benuel 1972

First ten years.


Jean-Luc Godard

Alberto Moravia (novel)

Brigitte Bardot, Jack Palance, Michel Piccoli |

I picked this movie because I wanted to include a Goddard film in my list. After I had watched the film, and then checked out the reviews I have decided that Contempt was a poor choice for this list. The first thing I read was that this film was an attempt by Goddard to do a big budget and big star movie. Evidently he got all of this out of his system, and went on to view the movie as negative experience.
The film is about an unsuccessful playwright who is hired by a Sleazy American producer to work on a script of a movie for a great movie director (Fritz Lang playing himself). The playright is married to a sexy typist (Bridget Bardot) who becomes the target for the American Producer. The film is going to be based on the Odyssey, but the American producer has a Hercules- style ripoff in mind, while lang wants to make an art film.

Ebert claims that the movie can be interpreted on multiple levels. 1) a parallel to the Odyssey with the playright, Bardot as Penelope, and Palance as Poseiden. 2) Another way of viewing the film is the screenwriter as Godard, the woman as Bardot's character, and the producer as the two producers attached to this project.

The film overall is a critique of the film industry in general. Ebert claims that this is the subject of much of Godard's work. I rated this movie a solid three which for me means a good movie, but for the above reasons, I could not go higher. I am going to have to watch a few more of Godard's work. I believe i will rewatch Breathless, and also watch his King Lear.

Welcome to the human race...
I think I might give this a go. Might make it a little more challenging by limiting it to one film per director.

1990: Awakenings (dir. Penny Marshall)
1991: Dingo (dir. Rolf de Heer)
1992: Lorenzo's Oil (dir. George Miller)
1993: Kika (dir. Pedro Almodòvar)
1994: Quiz Show (dir. Robert Redford)
1995: The White Balloon (dir. Jafar Panahi)
1996: Big Night (dir. Campbell Scott and Stanley Tucci)
1997: An American Werewolf in Paris (dir. Anthony Waller)
1998: Buffalo '66 (dir. Vincent Gallo)
1999: The Ninth Gate (dir. Roman Polanski)
2000: George Washington (dir. David Gordon Green)
2001: La Cienaga (dir. Lucrecia Martel)
2002: Solaris (dir. Steven Soderbergh)
2003: Coffee and Cigarettes (dir. Jim Jarmusch)
2004: The Machinist (dir. Brad Anderson)
2005: Red Eye (dir. Wes Craven)
2006: The Last King of Scotland (dir. Kevin MacDonald)
2007: We Own the Night (dir. James Gray)
2008: Punisher: War Zone (dir. Lexi Alexander)
2009: Repo Chick (dir. Alex Cox)
2010: The Other Guys (dir. Adam McKay)
2011: Martha Marcy May Marlene (dir. Sean Durkin)
2012: Antiviral (dir. Brandon Cronenberg)
2013: Stranger by the Lake (dir. Alain Guiraudie)
2014: The Voices (dir. Marjane Satrapi)
2015: The Devil's Candy (dir. Sean Byrne)
2016: Certain Women (dir. Kelly Reichardt)
2017: Outrage Coda (dir. Takeshi Kitano)
2018: Capernaum (dir. Nadine Labaki)
2019: The Miseducation of Cameron Post (dir. Desiree Akhavan)
2020: She Dies Tomorrow (dir. Amy Seimetz)
Iro is to reviews as Kubrick is to films.

Welcome to the human race...
I'll drop them three at a time...

1990 - Awakenings

Based on a true story about a doctor (Robin Williams) who discerns that certain catatonic patients can potentially recover through the use of a new experimental drug, especially one particular test subject (Robert de Niro). One can readily question how much it relies on disability narrative tropes, especially in how much it centres Williams' doctor and resorts to having De Niro play his character as a bunch of tics as his condition improves and worsens wildly throughout the film. That doesn't mean that its attempts at pathos don't land as the film does make one reckon with the ramifications of such an illness and the toll - not just physical but psychological - that it can take on those it afflicts.

1991 - Dingo

From the director of Bad Boy Bubby comes another film about a weird Australian outsider (though decidedly less weird than Bubby) - this time it's a dingo tracker (Colin Friels) whose chance encounter with a legendary jazz musician (Miles Davis) at a young age has made him into a lifelong jazz obsessive who has always dreamed of meeting his idol again. It's an intriguing set-up that unfortunately plays out mostly how you'd expect as Friels spends much of the film stuck in the outback and growing more frustrated by being caught between his dreams and his reality. The combination of the outback and jazz should be its own curious juxtaposition that continues the vibe of that first meeting and it does that in spots, but it never stops the first two thirds of the film from feeling like preamble to the bit where Davis properly re-enters the picture, and even then it still feels like it should've been at least half the picture rather than the third act. Oh, well, Miles is still Miles so I didn't hate it.

1992 - Lorenzo's Oil

This biopic about a boy with a degenerative brain disease and the parents who will stop at nothing to find a cure for him is at once the purest outlier in Miller's already-erratic filmography (for context, he made this between The Witches of Eastwick and Babe: Pig in the City), but his background in medicine makes him quite suitable for capturing such a film. There is the odd moment of visual flair that is matched by some out-sized melodrama (not really helped by some broad choices like Nick Nolte's curious attempt at an Italian accent), but for the most part things are played carefully straight and relatively realistic.

I've been thinking about this one too. It' surprisingly hard to make that list though. I don't have a massive four-digit watchlist and quite a few of the films I've added to such are somewhat hard to find - especially the older ones). I'll keep trying and will post a list if I manage to finish it.

Welcome to the human race...

1993 - Kika

What if John Waters had started to take himself more seriously as he aged? When reflecting back on Kika, it really struck me how much Almodóvar had in common with the filth king of Baltimore in his earlier films that took an already-exaggerated genre like the melodrama and opted to crank things up to comical effect (sometimes darkly so). That much is true of Kika, which quickly establishes its camp credentials and promises the same colourful carnage as the likes of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and What Have I Done To Deserve This? Unfortunately, in doing so Kika reveals itself to little more than diminishing returns. There are some amusing details - Jean-Paul Gaultier's cartoonish costume design is remarkable enough, especially when applied to the ruthlessly exploitative journalist/talk show host who attempts to capture true crime and other dramatics through an elaborate camera-suit - but between the warmed-over plot and the ways in which Almodóvar doesn't quite seem to have a handle on how to mine delicate subject matter for humour (the most obvious example being an extremely protracted rape sequence that serves as the film's midpoint) I have to label this the first time that I've been genuinely let down by one of his films.

1994 - Quiz Show

The most unassuming-looking Best Picture nominee at the 1995 Academy Awards, Quiz Show is at once as dry as its premise - a dramatisation of the investigation into allegations that the hit television quiz show Twenty-One is fixed by producers who force out the smart but unappealing champion (John Turturro) in favour of a less adept but clean-cut challenger (Ralph Fiennes). It's smart enough to know that there's more here than just a beleaguered underdog story - Turturro isn't some innocent martyr and Fiennes isn't a mustache-twirling opportunist - but makes sure to probe into how this scandal itself is playing off the cultural biases of its audiences that have been discerned (or even manipulated) by the people behind the cameras even before Twenty-One itself turns out to be rigged. It's not subtle about it either - Martin Scorsese of all people has a scene-stealing bit part as the program's sponsor who basically spells out the movie's message - and that didactic approach does hurt the proceedings a bit, but not by much.

1995 - The White Balloon

It's been interesting to get into Jafar Panahi's work through his post-ban output like This Is Not A Film or Taxi that deftly plays with the idea of what cinema can be (albeit with the explicitly pragmatic goal of eluding the Iranian government) then go back to his earlier, more conventional works. The White Balloon conjures up associations with Italian neorealism as it tells a simple low-stakes tale - a little girl wants to buy a pet fish - and fills it with all kinds of mundane obstacles that are never too dangerous but nevertheless make for tense proceedings without resorting to any kind of exaggeration. Much of it is a straightforward progression of events with just enough vagueness to stay interesting and invite its audiences to question the significance of certain aspects (especially the eponymous balloon) - it's enjoyable enough as a realistic drama, but some parts of it demand further contemplation and make the film better for it.

Welcome to the human race...
1996 - Big Night

A novel and somewhat comedic tale of immigrant life that centres on two Italian brothers struggling to run a restaurant in 1950s California, with one (Stanley Tucci) trying to make the restaurant appeal to the American locals while the other (Tony Shalhoub) refuses to compromise his cuisine. There are boundless complications involving the pair's social circle and the idea that they need, well, a big night to really save the restaurant - though it's slow to start in this regard, it's around when Ian Holm as the brothers' affable rival shows up that things definitely pick up and never truly let up until the credits. It certainly keeps things appreciably ambivalent beyond what its save-the-restaurant high concept might've implied and it assembles a solid ensemble to pull it off - when it's not luxuriating in old world aesthetics and delicacies, that is.

1997 - An American Werewolf in Paris

Oof, I really should've gone with Kundun for my 1997 pick instead. This recycles the same fundamental set-up as its predecessor - American hitch-hikers go to Europe and one of them becomes a werewolf - but exaggerates everything from the scope of the narrative to the broadness of the humour to universally detrimental effect (to say nothing of the ugly CGI on hand). Simply no fun whatsoever.

1998 - Buffalo '66

Punch-Drunk Love's ******** older brother, never shying away from its ne'er-do-well protagonist's awfulness even as it provides explanation after explanation for his arrested development and various hyper-fixations (most notably through his contentious relationship with his eccentric parents). A deliberately unpleasant watch that works more often than it doesn't, at least - and it features some inspired prog-rock needle-drops.

1999 - The Ninth Gate

The director of Rosemary's Baby once again deals in Satanic horror, this time centring it around an unscrupulous book collector (Johnny Depp) who has been contracted to seek out the surviving copies of a book that can summon the devil and unsurprisingly gets more than he bargained for. Maintains a consistently strong atmosphere buoyed by a solid supporting cast and craft a compelling mystery that manages to work despite its apparent pacing issues, plus the man's capacity for indelible imagery is as strong as always.

Welcome to the human race...
Don't everyone join in at once...

2000 - George Washington

Moody little small-town indie about a handful of impoverished kids who deal with everything from first love to abusive families to the accidental death of one of their own (and the subsequent emotional fallout). A solid effort in this regard as it uses the accident as a midpoint and spends just enough time building up its characters and world before sending them reeling. There are definitely far worse ways to handle kids handling traumatic incidents in cinema and the way that this one bends in ways both cynical and idealistic throughout its second half definitely make it a worthwhile use of a brief running time.

2001 - La Cienaga (The Swamp)

Bleak little social drama about a dysfunctional family of questionable means that lives in a decrepit mansion with a filthy swimming pool (the "swamp" of the title), yet they still hold themselves in higher esteem than the help. Decent enough in its attempts to satirise a racialised class divide that is maybe a lot blurrier than its bourgeois characters are willing to admit through their own blinkered (or maybe just drunken) perception, it's definitely an uncomfortable watch that still manages to avoid sinking into nihilism or despair.

2002 - Solaris

Steven Soderbergh's always been a director I respect more than enjoy due to his eclectic choice of projects and somewhat dispassionate way of filming them, which may well reach a peak with him remaking Andrei Tarkovsky's sci-fi classic about a widowed scientist seemingly reuniting with his wife aboard a space station. More passably inessential than outright sacrilege, it's interesting to see the ways in which Soderbergh pares down Tarkovsky's lengthy original by a whole hour while still maintaining the same fundamental structure - more a sign of his trademark economy, though one does have to question how well it serves a story about dwelling on the past. Would be interesting to watch it back-to-back with the original - hell, maybe I should even try finding the book.

2003 - Coffee and Cigarettes

Mystery Train and Night on Earth were both solid Jarmusch anthologies, though that may have been helped by the fact that they had relatively few segments (three and five respectively) compared to the considerably larger eleven that formulate Coffee and Cigarettes. The first few chapters were initially intended as shorts in their own right and it becomes clear how much the subsequent eight are actively trying to recapture their vibes in one way or another with varying levels of success. I'd say I liked most of them and that's usually the best you can hope for with any anthology, but when it drags, it drags.

2004 - The Machinist

"If you were any thinner, you wouldn't exist."

A comment about Christian Bale's dangerously emaciated physique ends up proving an unintentionally useful way of describing this film's underwhelming attempts at psychological horror as Bale's titular machinist tries to cling onto what little mental stability and human connections he has while sinister figures and disturbing incidents start to coagulate around him. Though Bale has gone all-out to convey how much his character has wasted away not just his body but also his mind and soul, it's in service of a film that never truly seems to warrant such dedication as its runs through all sorts of distorted perspectives and unreliable narrator tropes to no particularly worthwhile end.

Beckett and King Henry have been friends since childhood. In the beginning they were drinking buddies and chased women together.When Henry became king he came to rely on Becket to solve his most difficult problems. Their relationship was working so well until King Henry started having problems with the church. When the Archbishop of Canterberry dies king Henry installs Beckett as the new bishop (the head of the church in Britain). Beckett begs the king to not do it, but Henry does it anyway.
Not long after he becomes archbishop there is a conflict between church and state when a nobleman kills a priest without a trial. Beckett excommunicates him from the Church and Henry is furious. Becket has to flee for his life to France where he finds temporary refuge.

The movie was a little to long, and I have read the story is not always accurate. I thought the acting of all the principles was very good. Recommended for fans of O'toole and Burton.

Welcome to the human race...
2005 - Red Eye

An extremely straightforward suspense thriller where a woman takes a flight only for the man sitting next to her to blackmail her into an assassination plot. I still think that Wes Craven as a director is simply fine at best, but he's got enough talent that he can take such an aggressively simple concept as this and keep it compelling throughout a tight 85 minutes, but it's still fundamentally disposable in a way that his other films (even the ones that are ostensibly worse than this one) end up being.

2006 - The Last King of Scotland

I ended up watching Barbet Schroeder's documentary about Ugandan dictator Idi Amin recently and it made me think that I should finally get around to clearing this off my watchlist. Its fictionalised account of a Scottish doctor (James McAvoy) who ends up serving as personal physician and ultimately chief adviser to Amin (Forest Whitaker) frames a depiction of the luxurious highs and heinous lows of his regime - an arguably necessary choice to show how easily one can end up sympathising with a fascist under the right circumstances (especially between the foibles of McAvoy's irresponsible young doctor and Whitaker's compelling rendition of Amin's affable countenance). Still, there are limits to the effectiveness of this approach to the point where even the film itself seems to realise that.

2007 - We Own the Night

Kind of unfortunate to have seen James Gray's subsequent films and appreciated their ambition only to get around to this one and find it a decidedly paint-by-numbers crime drama about two brothers on different sides of the law. Phoenix and Duvall are dependable screen presences as always (Wahlberg ends up getting sidelined as a result but it's arguably for the better) but there's little to recommend about the proceedings here (and the car chase that concludes the second act definitely falls prey to some especially unfortunate mid-2000s shaky-cam).

2008 - Punisher: War Zone

The Punisher has never struck me as a particularly interesting character. - what exactly is supposed to make him different from countless other gun-toting vigilantes that have graced the screen over the past few decades? A skull logo that is barely visible at all in this considerably shadowy film? Punisher: War Zone doesn't exactly do a good job of answering that, though one can readily see how it's distinguished itself as a minor cult classic due to its lurid and ultra-violent take on the source material. It's a slim narrative and its moments of action are never quite as well-executed or over-the-top as I'd have hoped, but I think there's just enough here to keep it engaging.

2009 - Repo Chick

Alex Cox reimagines the Cold War anxieties and punk attitudes of his 1984 debut Repo Man for the 21st century by essentially recycling the same premise (bratty protagonist falls into the repossession trade and ends up searching for a mysterious vehicular bounty) but updating the iconography (e.g. Predator drones, Hope posters, and reality TV) as a means of commenting on the various absurdities of the Bush administration and the War on Terror (plus the ways in which Western society has developed underneath them). While the occasional relevant point is made, it happens amidst an audio-visual maelstrom that seems to be going out of its way to torment even fans of Repo Man as it crams all sorts of call-backs into a low-budget effects showcase (virtually the entire film is shot in front of green screens). I gotta respect how Cox still manages to be his own kind of iconoclast who is committed to his own ever-shifting weirdness, but that doesn't make experiencing this much better.

1. It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010)
2. The King's Speech (2010)
3. The Terminal (2003)

It's been interesting to get into Jafar Panahi's work through his post-ban output like This Is Not A Film or Taxi that deftly plays with the idea of what cinema can be (albeit with the explicitly pragmatic goal of eluding the Iranian government) then go back to his earlier, more conventional works.
Love his work. The first movie I saw of his was The Circle (2000).
I’m here only on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays. That’s why I’m here now.

Welcome to the human race...
The Circle is definitely on my to-do list

2010 - The Other Guys

I still run hot and cold on Will Ferrell as a comic presence, and while I'd agree with the idea that Anchorman is his best film, I have found his other collaborations with Adam McKay a little wanting (Step Brothers is okay more than anything else and what little I remember of Talladega Nights struck me as aggressively insipid, but maybe I'll revisit it). The Other Guys isn't too different in that regard, playing as a fairly broad spoof of buddy cop movies (with Ferrell playing a straight-man archetype to such a ridiculously exaggerated level that it makes Mark Wahlberg's hothead partner seem rational in comparison) that still relies on inane non sequiturs and riffing actors for much of its humour. That gets barely anything more than a chuckle here and there, which is definitely a disappointment but not too much so. The denouement and end credits are a nice touch, though.

2011 - Martha Marcy May Marlene

A decent enough drama about the eponymous young woman ("Martha" to her sister, but "Marcy May" to her fellow cult members, "Marlene" to anyone who requires an alias) who is trying to readjust to normal life after escaping a cult. The jagged approach to narrative where the protagonist's past and present bleed together in a disorienting fashion is an effective means of depicting her trauma (especially in how there's not that much of a difference between living with a cult and living with her highly-strung sister and said sister's perpetually-frustrated partner) and definitely makes for an unsettling experience that never truly lets up until the credits roll.

2012 - Antiviral

Brandon Cronenberg's breakout film seems to fit with the same cinematic and intellectual preoccupations that came to define much of his father's own filmography, blending body horror with satire in a dark little tale about a world where people's obsession with celebrities has gotten to the point where they will eat meat cloned from their favourite stars or even voluntarily subject themselves to a celebrity's diseases. However, the absurdity of the situation is not mined for much black humour; instead, the proceedings are much more sickly and sinister as the protagonist (Caleb Landry Jones) gets caught up in a conspiracy involving one infected starlet (Sarah Gadon). It's a stark film that does indulge in some uncomfortable visuals (let's just say there are a lot of shots of syringes being used) and, while it does exhaust its core ideas a little too soon, it's not like it lacks for the kind of clinical grotesquerie that one associates with the name "Cronenberg".

2013 - Stranger by the Lake

It begins as a disarmingly casual film about a lakeside beach and the men who use it for nude sunbathing and cruising one another for sex - once you get used to that, it introduces a mysterious death. The existential intermingling of sex and death hangs heavy in the air before said death even occurs, which is in itself both an intriguing and unsettling development.

2014 - The Voices

An absurdly simple premise for a black comedy - a schizophrenic factory worker inadvertently kills a colleague and becomes a serial killer in the process - gets mined for very little of worth here. While it is admittedly refreshing to watch a Ryan Reynolds movie where he's actually playing a character and not just coasting on Deadpool smarm, he doesn't get put to good use in a film that fails to get any amusement or do much of a job at delving into its protagonist's fractured psychology (though it it thankfully better at the latter).

The Godfather
Shawshank Redemption

2011 - Martha Marcy May Marlene
I have to dig this out of my collection & re-watch it. Can’t remember a single scene.

2011 - Martha Marcy May Marlene

A decent enough drama about the eponymous young woman ("Martha" to her sister, but "Marcy May" to her fellow cult members, "Marlene" to anyone who requires an alias) who is trying to readjust to normal life after escaping a cult. The jagged approach to narrative where the protagonist's past and present bleed together in a disorienting fashion is an effective means of depicting her trauma (especially in how there's not that much of a difference between living with a cult and living with her highly-strung sister and said sister's perpetually-frustrated partner) and definitely makes for an unsettling experience that never truly lets up until the credits roll.

I really loved that one, though it‘s been a while, so I might feel more sceptical if I rewatched it. I felt it did quite a good job as far as ‘cult’ films go (I mean films about cults). Always on the lookout for something similar, but it’s quite unique - though what did it for me, I think, is the Jackson C. Frank soundtrack and references.

Juliet of the Spirits- Fredrico Fellini


The story goes that Fellini made this film as a gift to his wife. However, after watching the film you have to wonder if the gift is really of his wife, or for himself. The film is about a wife who believes that her husband is cheating. What is odd is that Fellini cast his own wife to play the part of Juliet and his wife's real name is Giulietta. In the film Fellini suggests that Juliet of the movie would be happier to accept her husbands philandering and seek out some extramarital affairs of her own
It is revealing how Fellini and Giulietta differed in their takes of the final scene when Juliet wanders out toward the nearby woods. Fellini interpreted this scene as Giulietta being set free. To Giulietta it meant that she was alone, abandoned and lonely.

I have the first 20 years.

'74 - Murder on the Orient Express
'75 - Barry Lyndon
'76 - The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
'77 - Looking For Mr. Goodbar
'78 - Ice Castles
'79 - Last Embrace
'80 - Kagemusha
'81 - Fort Apache, The Bronx
'82 - White Dog
'83 - Silkwood
'84 - Once upon A Time in America
(now it gets difficult)
'85 - Shoah
'86 - Mona Lisa
'87 - Empire of the Sun
'88 - Cop
'89 - Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!
'90 - Miller's Crossing
'91 – The Double Life of Veronique
’92 – Bram Stoker’s Dracula
’93 – Three Colors: Blue