My 2024 Watchlist Obsession!

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I forgot the opening line.
You know what? I'm not going to waffle on. This thread is pretty self-explanatory - I want to start catching up on my watchlist, so that the number of films on it goes down instead of creeping up. I start with a nice even total of 450 films on it - and I want to go through it from the earliest added onwards, otherwise there will be a group of films deep down that never get watched.

I've been planning this for a couple of months now, and was going to start on January 1st - but I'm done waiting and will award myself a couple of bonus days to finish off 2023. I have to have a firm target, so that when 2024 ends I've caught up some. I'll say, 150 movies plus however many additions there are in 2024.

TARGET : 300

The earliest film that ever went into my Letterboxd watchlist was Out of the Past (1947), directed by Jacques Tourneur - but coincidentally, that film came up on the last Hall of Fame I was involved with, so I've already watched and reviewed it. That was film 451, giving me a neat, round figure.

Out of the Past review - 450 films left.

So - here we go. The next film up on the list is Targets (1968)
Remember - everything has an ending except hope, and sausages - they have two.

Latest Review : Aftersun (2022)

I forgot the opening line.

TARGETS (1968)

Directed by : Peter Bogdanovich

I watched this film along with Nitram yesterday, making for a themed double feature - a mass shooting one. The killing in Targets is fictional, but inspired by the Tower shooting at the University of Texas in 1966, perpetrated by Charles Whitman, whose shadow looms over this film ominously. It's Peter Bogdanovich's first ever feature film - done with a low budget and produced by Roger Corman. The great thing it does is connect this new modern monster with the frightening visions of old by including Boris Karloff as pretty much himself (in the movie his name is Byron Orlok) and even including footage of real film The Terror, featuring Karloff as this film's 'movie within a movie' - Orlok's new feature. Most notably, that movie features Jack Nicholson, giving me a "oh my God, is that Jack Nicholson?" moment. It also includes a brief snipped of 1931 Howard Hawks movie The Criminal Code, which also features Karloff. Half of the film is devoted to a storyline with actor Orlok, and screenwriter/director Sammy Michaels (Peter Bogdanovich himself), prior to a promotional appearance the actor is to make after his new movie, and the other half deals with the killer - a fairly normal, quiet, nondescript man called Bobby Thompson (Tim O'Kelly) who is planning a killing spree.

The film itself keeps everything simple and straightforward, and that adds to the creepy sense of how these events warped the very reality of 1960s America. The way Thompson just continues his life as if nothing at all is wrong, while at the same time obviously harboring the desire to kill strangers and end his own life, is beyond our reckoning. In the meantime the man who plays monsters in movies notes how scary he finds this new breed of menace. Of course, the two are on a collision course, because one of the places Thompson plans to take out a great number of people is at a drive-in Orlok is due to make his appearance at. Visually, all of this is pretty unsparing as we follow on with Thompon's POV through the scope of his rifles, seeing what he sees. While there is a sense of prescience considering what we go through in today's society every year, I can't shake that feeling of how foreign it still was back when this was made - the shockwaves still felt from Whitman's crimes. The film flopped at the box office (it was marketed as an "anti-guns" feature, alienating some) but has lived on, and kick-started Bogdanovich's career regardless.

I thought Targets was a perfect example of what's achievable when a talented and hungry filmmaker has to work with a very limiting budget. Bogdanovich would follow this up with The Last Picture Show, which proves the kind of form he was in. I was really impressed and enjoyed it, considering that it was unnerving all the same. At 90 minutes it falls way short of overstaying it's welcome. Jaws editor Verna Fields worked on it (in the sound department) and I was happy to see László Kovács as cinematographer (he was director of photography on films such as Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces along with a few other Bogdanovich films.) Although the "monster" in Targets represents something really scary, one of the reasons they do what they do is because of how inconsequential they feel, and how scary they're not, in person. Targets presents this as an immediate reaction to something we didn't know yet - that this was only the beginning, and half a century later the problem would become an ever-present and painful part of our lives.

Glad to catch this one - Criterion #1179 and in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.

Watchlist Count : 449 (-1)

Next : The Housemaid (1960)

Thank you very much to whomever inspired me to watch Targets

I've also been wanting to chip away at my watchlists (I have three of them: one at JustWatch, one on the IMDb, and a hand-written list somewhere).

My problem has been that I've watched all the fun stuff, so the majority of the films on my list have plot summaries that start like "After the tragic death of her . . . " or "In this harrowing tale . . .".

So I'm cheering you on! After I finish Jabs 2024 Film Challenge, I want to start on my watchlists.

I want to start catching up on my watchlist, so that the number of films on it goes down instead of creeping up.

and I want to go through it from the earliest added onwards, otherwise there will be a group of films deep down that never get watched.
I often choose a movie to watch for the sole reason that it's been on my list longer than anything else and I'm tired of it being there. Which is exactly the right frame of mind to interact with art, I think.

I approve of this thread is what I'm saying, and I will vicariously enjoy the pruning of your list.

Victim of The Night
This is a great idea and a great thread idea. I am with you.

Incidentally, I was going to do the same - without the thread though - starting on November 1st - and since then I have watched... *checks notes... zero films from my watchlists.
(In fact, I think I may have watched zero films period since Halloween!)

I forgot the opening line.


Directed by : Kim Ki-young

So, this was a good time to get a book on Korean cinema - the one I was gifted had a whole chapter devoted to The Housemaid in it, although I must say nothing beats simply watching this thing. Adultery has never, ever looked this crazy - and I was never quite sure how this figured in relation to Korea, either culturally or artistically. The handsome Mr. Dong-sik Kim (Kim Jin-kyu) gives piano lessons and leads a choir group at a factory, and there is a never-ending conga line of ladies throwing themselves at him. He's happily married, and his wife is having their third child - but the intrusion of a newly hired maid unleashes an unusual kind of living hell for everyone. The Housemaid is kind of like Fatal Attraction - only if Glenn Close's bunny-boiling Alex character had of just moved in with the Gallagher family. When the characters make a big deal out of the rat poison early on in this film, you'll know it's going to come into play later - but not how much. This movie became so much more than melodrama when people started tumbling down staircases, and poison starts being passed around.

Something I especially enjoyed was the fact that it's director, Kim Ki-young (now revered by the new young modern masters of Korean cinema) adds so many avant-garde touches to the way this is filmed - fetching tracking shots along the home's second floor as we voyeuristically watch vixen housemaid Myung-sook (Lee Eun-shim) hide around corners and slyly slip in and out of situations. Or the fact that when Myung-sook succeeds in seducing Dong-sik Kim lightning hits the tree outside, which then bursts into flames. This film never lets the flames die out - and is never, ever boring - but I found the characters behaved in inexplicable ways. Like I said, I could never quite discern if this was a cultural thing, or part of a very strange story. There are times when you expect the status quo to disintegrate - but being revealed, and even murdering someone, does little to change the dynamic of this family's situation. Myung-sook's determination makes her the ultimate immoveable object, and the Kim family undergoes convulsive upheaval.

So, I learned a lot about early Korean cinema - and that fact that most films up to 1960 are now lost because old film stock was used and recycled. It took a while to even get a full version of The Housemaid, but by 1997 a few missing portions had been fixed up and reintegrated into a film which Kim Ki-young had subsequently made two more versions of - in 1971 (Fire Woman) and 1982 (Fire Woman '82). Full of raging passions, melodrama, great film technique and pulsating score - it's the kind of over the top that explores adultery from a cultural perspective that's extremely interesting. I don't think Lee Eun-shim did much else, but she's a sultry and desperately sad figure I won't forget too soon as the titular housemaid. I can hardly believe this film was nearly lost to us, and that there are many other Kim Ki-young films that have been lost. Brought to Criterion as part of the Martin Scorsese World Cinema Project, it's a fiery taste of the Korean cinematic world that birthed the likes of Bong Joon-ho - I found it electrifyingly crazy and great movie-making of the highest order.

Glad to catch this one - Criterion #690 and also in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.

The good news? I watched an incidental movie that was on my watchlist :

Mentioned here, and reviewed here.

The bad? A few more additions to my watchlist has me right where I started. Oh well, I guess that's better than being over where I started.

Watchlist Count : 450

Next : King and the Clown (2005)

Thank you very much to whomever inspired me to watch The Housemaid

Also answers to Jabba
I approve of this thread is what I'm saying, and I will vicariously enjoy the pruning of your list.
This. Good luck with that.

I've been hoping to do the same but I keep adding things to my watchlist and it's been sitting at a little over 2k for a long time.

I forgot the opening line.


Directed by : Joon-ik Lee

If mowing through my watchlist turns out how the first three films did in general, I'll be very glad I undertook this venture. It figures though - I'm watching the movies that caught my eye as definite "I have to watch this" entries. The King and the Clown was surprisingly brilliant, and I loved it. Another South Korean film - a nation that has a special pedigree now, with so many great filmmakers flooding the international scene with great films. Director Lee Joon-ik is known primarily for this one, but has a strong resume backing him up (two of his other films have gone onto my watchlist - this is going to be a battle!) This is a historical film - set in the late 15th Century, during the reign of one of the most tyrannical kings of Korea (of which he formed part of an unbroken line of kings which stretch out 500 years in time.) The characters we're introduced to initially though, are a couple of street clowns - Jang-saeng (Kam Woo-sung) and the feminine Gong-gil (Lee Joon-gi), who usually plays the part of women in the various situations they act out.

So - I wish to give nothing of importance away - they (and a bunch of other performers) obviously come into contact with the notorious king. It's a situation fraught with danger (they at first stake their lives on making him laugh - and suffer a moment of terrifying stage fright) and one that will eventually be steeped with intrigue. I was so impressed with actor Jung Jin-young as King Yeonsan - a complex mix of stunted emotional growth and rage. His child-like joy with the performers, and tension-filled attempts to join in on their comedy acts, are pitch perfect in body and voice. Kam Woo-sung and Lee Joon-gi also get everything just right, the former charismatic, and latter delicate and filled with barely concealed emotion. Everyone who lives within the king's orbit has the ever-present strain of knowing he can order them executed for any perceived infraction - and the troupe of comedians win no friends at all amongst those at court. There is one though, that guides the performers in the hope they can open the king's eyes to the corruption in the palace.

There was something of everything for me in The King and the Clown - it has it's very funny moments, and it's hard not to laugh along with the various audiences who watch the shows these performers put on - a blend of acrobatics, comedy and theater. The costumes are of course something else - a very pleasing visual presentation of life in 15th Century Korea. This was adapted from a stage play called "Yi", and the story never let me out of it's grip for a moment - some films make you forget about everything else until they eventually end, and this one was one of those. I also usually enjoy "I Claudius" kinds of royal conspiracy and machination - and there was plenty of that as well. This film was huge in South Korea during 2005 - and I'm going to do my best to make sure anybody who doesn't know about it gets to know about it. At first I was neither looking forward to watching it nor dreading it - I didn't see fun from a first glance. But The King and the Clown is more than fun. It's fairy tale mixed with history and unique South Korean cinematic sensibility. That's a concoction that'll always go on my watchlist.

Glad to catch this one - South Korea's official submission for the 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Watchlist Count : 451 (+1)

Next : Mad God (2021)

Thank you very much to whomever inspired me to watch The King and the Clown

I forgot the opening line.

MAD GOD (2021)

Directed by : Phil Tippett

I marvel at what I can hardly describe. A stop-motion "world" - or perhaps "hell" would be a more accurate description, although I doubt hell would be this much fun to watch. Phil Tippet's project - which had it's genesis 30 years ago and finally came to fruition thanks to the likes of Kickstarter (for shame, but thank goodness) - was worth the wait. A maelstrom of monsters and creatures fallen prey to the likes of mad scientists, sadistic madmen and a dimension full of fire and fury. This world has all of the bad, and none of the good - but is a pure joy to watch. At one stage the character we follow through the first portion of this film steps on a trio of bickering tiny gnome-like creatures (was one of them Santa Claus?) which manages to ease much building apprehension. This isn't misery porn - it's a celebration of pure invention and wonderful creative spirit. It's stop-motion at it's very best, and while dark there's no malice or ill-will involved here. There seems to be a natural order to this very unnatural place.

So, is there a story? Not quite. There's a progression, for sure, but this film is too surreal to describe in any narrative sense. There's as much sense to things as your imagination provides, even for the journey of the redoubtable "assassin" who makes his way through the dangerous levels of this ultimate dystopia. What I loved were the monsters themselves, created by hand and brought to life through stop-motion. The imagination here is on an inspired level, and it's not only what the monsters look like, but what they do and the way they do it - which is invariably horrible, and earns the film's tag as horror. What they do and what we see isn't always logical, but purely surreal and adds to the psychological impact of the place as a whole. There's so much here as well - Mad God is another one of those films I'm going to have to see multiple times, and I'm very much enthused about that.

I can remember reading about Mad God now, when it first came out - and that just goes to show how valuable a watchlist is for keeping in touch with films you hear about and grab your attention. If not for it being on my list, it would have never come up again in my mind - and that would have been a real shame. A subconscious trawl through a dreamscape featuring war, torture, experimentation and one which makes references to God's warning of fire, brimstone and vengeance in Leviticus, you'll find a panacea encoded in our universe's natural tendency for regeneration and creation. It's the driving force of everything (just think of Darren Aronofsky's Mother!) Around the time Phil Tippett won an Oscar for his effects work on Jurassic Park, he figured the days of stop-motion were long over. If this is a clue, it might be around for quite a while yet - there's no surprise to learn that I like it more than CGI.

Glad to catch this one - available to anyone who's currently subscribing to Shudder!

Watchlist Count : 450

Next : Funeral Parade of Roses (1969)

Thank you very much to whomever inspired me to watch Mad God

Next : Funeral Parade of Roses (1969)
How bizarre! I was just thinking about this film last night and for the life of me I could not come up with the title!

I'll be interested to hear your thoughts.

Not waiting for any good movie in 2024. I always keep a look in TorrentFreak list of movie.