Blind Spots Series 2012

Blind Spots

Every time I get together with other film bloggers here in Toronto, somebody inevitably gasps in horror as someone else admits that they haven’t seen a particular movie. This has always been amusing to me, because, you know, everyone has their cinematic blind spots. Though there is no Official Canon of Films You’re Supposed to Have Seen™, sometimes we act as if there is. And there are definitely films that, as a cinephile, I know I should have seen by now, but just have never gotten around to. Hence the idea for the Blind Spot series.

I shared this idea with Ryan McNeil a few weeks back and he’s already gotten the jump on me in posting his list, but the gist of the idea is that I’m going to list a dozen films below. Films I feel somehow guilty or silly for not having seen yet. I’ve sometimes nodded along to discussions of these films, hoping nobody would ask me my opinion. By the end of 2012, I will be armed with my own opinions on them, along with a small sense of accomplishment.

My hope is to watch and post something about each film on this list during 2012. Though I have many many more than 12 on my blind spot list, for this first attempt, I’m going to try to balance Hollywood films with foreign and documentary films. Ideally, I’ll post once a month, but I’m not holding myself to that and neither should you. Here goes (and no gasping!):

  • Raging Bull (1980, Director: Martin Scorsese)*
  • Knife in the Water (1962, Director: Roman Polanski)*
  • Nashville (1975, Director: Robert Altman)
  • L’Atalante (1934, Director: Jean Vigo)*
  • Gone with the Wind (1939, Director: Victor Fleming)
  • Psycho (1960, Director: Alfred Hitchcock)
  • Blue Velvet (1986, Director: David Lynch)*
  • The Conformist (1970, Director: Bernardo Bertolucci)*
  • Jules and Jim (1962, Director: Francois Truffaut)
  • Grey Gardens (1975, Directors: Albert and David Maysles with Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer)
  • Cabaret (1972, Director: Bob Fosse)
  • Tokyo Story (1953, Director: Yasujirô Ozu)

Films marked with an asterisk (*) are ones I have actually owned on DVD for quite a while now.

You are more than welcome to join me in this enterprise. Come up with your own list, post in the comments and/or on your blog, and let’s keep each other accountable for expanding our knowledge of cinema next year!

Thanks to Flickr user atomische (Tom Geibel) for making his image available under a Creative Commons license.

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20 Responses to Blind Spots Series 2012

  1. David Brook says:

    That’s a great idea. I’ll join you in your quest over at Blueprint: Review. It’s going to be difficult to whittle down my epic ‘blind spot’ list to 12 though (I’ve been keeping a list like that for a while, and like yourself a good proportion of them are films I actually own, but haven’t got round to watching).

  2. Dave Voigt says:

    I’m in as well. Picking 12 will be tough…there’s a couple on your list that I need to see too. This should be fun ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Awesome James!! I’ll be very curious to hear how it goes. I had some of those on my unseen list too ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Max says:

    I just saw L’Atalante recently with the Jean Vigo Criterion. Surprise Surprise, it is a good movie. I have only seen 4 movies out the ones you listed with some of them also sore spots on my list. This was my list that I’m going to tackle in 2012.

    The Thing (1982)
    Total Recall (1990)
    Howardโ€™s End (1992)
    Full Metal Jacket
    Annie Hall
    Green Mile
    Blazing Saddles
    Oceans 11
    Animal House
    The Last of the Mohicans
    Sixteen Candles

  5. Thanks for the comments, folks. Great list, Max. I’ve seen a few of yours, but have to admit that I’ve never seen The Exorcist. It came out when I was quite young and I’ve always been afraid of that particular type of supernatural horror.

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  7. David Brook says:

    OK, I’ve got my 12 now and posted it on my site. Here’s mine (don’t laugh):

    1. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
    2. Bicycle Thieves
    3. Black Narcissus
    4. Breathless (A Bout de Souffle) (1960)
    5. City Lights
    6. Distant Voices, Still Lives
    7. Jules et Jim
    8. Nosferatu (1922)
    9. Persona
    10. Rio Bravo
    11. Seven Samurai
    12. Short Cuts

    These are all films I own or are legally available to watch for free online so there are probably some other titles that I really should have watched that aren’t there.

  8. Excellent list, David. And of course no laughing. That’s the rule. I’ve only seen two on your list, in any case. These lists are just making it very obvious how many films we have yet to see. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on these in 2012!

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  10. Dave Enkosky says:

    What a great idea. I think I’ll have to do this on my blog. From your list, the ones I haven’t seen yet are L’Atalante, Grey Gardens, and Cabaret. Now to come up with my own list.

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  12. Drew Kerr says:

    I missed this post until now, James…cool idea, though, and original. I didn’t see Grey Gardens until a couple of years ago…I wasn’t terribly impressed with it.

    One film that might qualify for such a list was the Paradise Lost doc, which I just watched a couple of weeks ago. I’ve heard and read about it for years, usually nothing but great things. Even though the subject matter seemed interesting and there’s a Metallica connection with the soundtrack (they’re one of my favourite bands) I just never quite got around to it. And I loved it…watched parts two and three back-to-back-to-back with it.

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  14. Glad to have you aboard, Gabe. You’ve also just reminded me that my March review is now officially late!

  15. Gabe says:

    Thanks James! Of your list, I’ve seen: Raging Bull, Nashville, Gone with the Wind, Psycho, Blue Velvet, Jules and Jim, Cabaret, and Tokyo Story.

    I highly recommend all except for Nashville (blasphemy, I know). Especially especially Raging Bull and Psycho. These are pretty mainstream classics, not very daring recommendations, but they deserve every ounce of their status as the greatest films ever made (Psycho is a little dated, but if you just accept that going in, you’ll be fine)

  16. I only just discovered this now! Even though I’m a little late to the party, I’d like to hop in and make a blind spot list of my own. I’ve got some pretty embarassing blindspots, considering I majored in film and am a classic film buff. The most notable one right now off the top of my head is probably… Gone With the Wind. I have seriously been delaying seeing that film.

  17. Well as you can see that’s on my list, too, and I think it’s on a lot of people’s lists. It’s the sort of melodramatic spectacle film that a lot of cinephiles just don’t get around to. Maybe we should have a Gone with the Wind viewing party so a whole bunch of us can get it out of the way?

    Oh, and welcome to the Blind Spot club, Titania!

  18. Nadia Sandhu says:

    Dave Voigt shared this idea with me and I love it! I’m blogging about all things “chick flick” at and and there are some romantic classics I need to get around to viewing. As I am a wee bit late to the game, I’m aiming for 2/month to catch up. In no order I’m going to view and review

    The Apartment
    Philadelphia Story
    It Happened One Night
    Love Story
    When Harry Met Sally
    The Way We Were
    The African Queen
    West Side Story
    Harold and Maude
    Say Anything
    Sunset Boulevard

    PS- I am happy to host a Gone With the Wind viewing on the big screen since so many people have somehow missed one of my favorite films of all time!

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