30 Before 30: Cinema Edition

11 Jan

Three hundred fifty-nine days from now, I will be saying “Goodbye, twenties!” and “Hello, thirties!”

So to celebrate the last few days of my youth, I thought it would be fun to do a 30 before 30 list. However, since I have less than a year to do this and since I just started an 11 for 2011 list on January 1, I think I’m going to forgo the traditional skydiving, bungee-jumping, climb Mt. Everest hullabaloo and try something a little different. A little more low-key.

I’m making a list of 30 must-see movies to watch before I turn 30. As someone who comes from a somewhat disadvantaged background (You can read more about that here), one of the phrases I hear quite often (usually from my husband) is “What!?! You’ve never seen that movie!?!” There are a lot of classic (and cult classic) movies that I have never seen: The Godfather, The Shining, St. Elmo’s Fire, The Color Purple, Airplane!

Over the next 359 days, I hope to shorten that movies-not-watched list, and I want your input. I’ll be posting the list within the next week or two. What movies do you think I should add?


12 Responses to “30 Before 30: Cinema Edition”

  1. David Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 9:34 am #

    My two favorites are “The Graduate” and “The Lion and Winter,” but if someone is saying, “What! You haven’t seen that?” about either of those movies, it’s usually me. Well, “The Graduate” is probably considered a must see by lots of people.

    • LJ Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 12:15 am #

      I think “The Graduate” will probably make it on the list. It’s on a lot of must-see lists. And I don’t think I’ve ever heard of the other one.

  2. Brock Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    Skip “The Color Purple” and “Airplane!”. Maybe one day you should see “Airplane!” for its historical significance, but overall it’s not that great. If you want to watch some perennially great comedies, I suggest:

    “The Big Lebowski”
    “Super Troopers” (trust me)
    “When Harry Met Sally”
    “The Royal Tenenbaums”

    However, if you’re going for 30 MUST-SEE movies, here’s my rough top 30.

    1. “8 1/2” – It’s a movie about making movies. It’s also Fellini. Simply the best.
    2. “The Godfather Part II” – Obviously you should see the first one if you haven’t, but the second is even better.
    3. “The Usual Suspects” – Slick, cool, film making.
    4. “Rashomon” – Kurosawa’s meditation on the deceptive nature of narrative.
    5. “Goodfellas” – Scorsese at his best.
    6. “The Seven Samurai” – Another Kurosawa that inspired so many good American westerns.
    7. “There Will Be Blood” – Daniel Day-Lewis hits this one out of the park.
    8. “Brazil” – It’s weird. But it’s also the perfect movie to watch as you enter you’re `responsible’ and potentially `bureaucratically dominated’ 30s.
    9. “Manhattan” – Woody Allen’s best, funniest, heartfeltest. This must be seen if you want to take American cinema seriously.
    10. “Heat” – Maybe the most masculine film on this list. Tell Daniel to thank me later.
    11. “Taxi Driver” – I take it back about Goodfellas. This is Scorsese at his most rock and roller filmmaking, though it lacks the broad scope of Goodfellas.
    12. “The Professional” – The best Luc Besson movie (though La Femme Nikita is also stellar) and the best Natalie Portman movie ever she’ll probably ever do.
    13. “Platoon” – Total classic.
    14. “12 Monkeys” – Another weird, though less weird, Terry Gilliam film.
    15. `Amelie” – Adorable French comedy/romance.
    16. “Lord of the Rings” – This may just be a nerd pick, but I think they’re actually very well done films.
    17. “The Big Lebowski”
    18. “Annie Hall” – The other essential Woody Allen film.
    19. “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” – `The Science of Sleep’ might be a better Gondry film, but this is the best first one to watch.
    20. “Donnie Darko” – A personal favorite of mine.
    21. “The Royal Tenenbaums”
    22. “Tombstone” – Oops, maybe manlier than Heat.
    23. “Reservoir Dogs” – Tarantino is mostly intolerable, but this is from his better, less indulgent days.
    24. “Lost in Translation” – Bill Murray at his best, though if you like this, “Broken Flowers” is also good.
    25. “Back to the Future” – If you haven’t seen this, God help you.

    Those are probably the BEST movies to see, however, I now realize that they aren’t the most canonical films (not that that should be your purpose necessarily). The above list will let you look down on those who haven’t seen them. But if your goal is to avoid people being shocked you haven’t seen stuff, you’re gonna have to see stuff like:

    “Star Wars” series
    “Indiana Jones” series
    “The Goonies”
    “The Matrix” (only the first one, the rest are crap)
    “Pulp Fiction”
    “The Shawshank Redemption”
    “Fight Club”
    “The Silence of the Lambs” (I must admit never having seen this, and I get strange looks sometimes)
    “Memento” – It’s not great, but people seem convinced it is.

    Good luck, and have fun!

    • LJ Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 12:21 am #

      Thanks for the list. I’ve actually seen most of the ones on your secondary list, including “Silence of the Lambs.” “Fight Club” was the one that seemed to return the most shocked responses until I finally watched it last year. The main list, however … not so much.

      I’m pretty sure “The Godfather” and “Amelie” will have to make it on the final list.

  3. Brock Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    I realized I left off the last 5 of my top 30. Here they are, and I hope they don’t hold it against me:

    26. “Ghostbusters”
    27. “Die Hard” – Best Christmas movie ever.
    28. “Chinatown”
    29. “Full Metal Jacket”
    30. “Cool Hand Luke”

    • LJ Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 12:24 am #

      Um, I think I just heard Bruce Willis say “Yippy ki aye.” I’d watch my back if I were you.

  4. Jonathan Miller Wednesday, January 12, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    Will look forward to your list. My 30 by 30 is a little different than yours. And a lot sooner! And I’m sure I’ve never seen a lot of the movies that will be on your list either.

    • LJ Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 12:27 am #

      Thanks! And I just realized that I’m kind of doing your 30 by 30, too, if you add the 20 lbs. from 2010 to my 11 lbs. for 2011. Ha. Good Lord, 10 years ago, I never would have thought that lose weight would ever be on my list of goals.

      • Jonathan Miller Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 12:30 am #

        Ten years ago… who would have thought one of my goals would have been running ANOTHER marathon?!

  5. David Moore Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 9:22 am #

    Sorry, Laura. That was supposed to by “The Lion In Winter.” It takes place in the court of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Henry lets his wife, Eleanor, out of prison for Christmas, so the whole family can be together. She is in prison for conspiring with her son, Richard the Lion-Hearted, to overthrow the king. It’s a really fabulous story about two people who can’t stand each other but are in love because no one else around is anywhere near their level (in many different ways). Peter O’Toole, Katharine Hepburn, Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton all star in it.

    If you take Brock’s suggestion and watch any Kurosawa, you should really watch “Yojimbo” too, it is pretty funny.

    Also, “Children on Men” is somewhere in my top five. It is violent and disturbing and depressing, but it also one of the most hopeful movies I never see. Rae and I agree on very few things, but one thing we do agree on is that this is one of the best movies ever made.

    • David Moore Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 9:26 am #

      Sorry, I really should have proofed that last comment. My typing went off the rails a little at the end. It should have read, “…It is violent and disturbing and depressing, but is also one of the most hopeful movies I’ve ever seen…”


  1. 30 Before 30: Cinema Edition. The Final List. « In the Bleak December - Monday, January 17, 2011

    […] it is. The final 30 Before 30 movie list, which I originally wrote about here. These are the 30 movies I plan to see before I turn 30 on January 5, 2011. Most of them are […]

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