And now for something (somewhat but not really) different!

So I’ve published a few reviews now. Readership is still pretty low, but that is to be expected. The bigger problem, in my opinion, is that many of the highest grossing films produced today are not films I am interested in seeing.

I started this blog with the idea of reviewing the most popular films in iTunes and Redbox–thereby ensuring somewhat timely material. Additionally I was interested in what kind of audiences iTunes and Redbox are serving, respectively. Thus far it seems that Redbox users prefer action/horror films (Jack Reacher, Texas Chainsaw) and iTunes users choose dramas (Cloud Atlas, Side Effects). I wonder if this distinction falls along class lines– i.e. people who can afford home internet vs those who cannot. But as interesting as these differences are to track, I need to do something more with this blog.

Therefore I’ve decided to introduce a new feature: the Ebert’s Great Movies Odyssey.

rogerebertRoger Ebert, who recently passed away after a long battle with cancer, was one of my heroes. He wrote with wit, charm and compassion, and above all, he loved movies. Sure, he could be harsh (see his review of North), but he was never pretentious. This is a man who was a fan of director Werner Herzog AND Speed 2.

I felt a particular connection with his reviews because, like me, he was raised Catholic in the Midwest. His blog entry on being a Catholic schoolboy remains one of my favorite pieces of writing ever published.In fact, I was in Catholic high school when I started reading his column. I remember flinching at certain reviews, containing as they did ideas that good Catholic teenagers were not supposed to have. But as I read more and more about these movies I had never heard of– indie and foreign films mainly– I began to think more like a worldly adult and less like a sheltered kid.

Over his years of reviewing films, Ebert pulled together a Great Movies list. These are films that are not only good; in some way they defined or changed how movies are made. It’s a wide-ranging list: from Casablanca to Alien, Moolaade to Withnail and I. There are over 300 films on the list.

I intend to watch them all.

This will be my project along with my usual reviews of the current popular films. I don’t know how long it will take. Years, probably. But I am determined to get through them all, not only because it will be a crash course in film history but also to pay honor to the man who made me love films.

I am excited to begin this journey, and I hope that others will be inspired to make their own way through the Great Films list!

Next: 12 Angry Men (1957)

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