Lord Bullingdon: Don’t you think he fits my shoes very well Your Ladyship? Dear child, what a pity it is I am not dead, for your sake. The Lyndons would then have a worthy representative and enjoy all the benefits of the illustrious blood of the Barrys of Barryville. Would they not… Mr. Redmond Barry?
Lady Lyndon: From the way I love this child my lord, you ought to know how I would have loved his elder brother had he proved worthy of any mother’s affection.
Lord Bullingdon: Madam! I have born as long as mortal could endure the ill-treatment of the insolent Irish upstart whom you’ve taken into your bed. It is not only the lowness of his birth and the general brutality of his manners which disgusts me, but the shameful nature of his conduct towards Your Ladyship. His brutal and un-gentleman-like behavior, his open infidelity, his shameless robberies and swindling of my property, and yours. And as I cannot personally chastise this low-bred ruffian, and as I cannot bear to witness his treatment of you and loathe his horrible society as if it were the plague; I have decided to leave my home and never return, at least during his detested life or during my own.
Alice Harford: Millions of years of evolution, right? Right? Men have to stick it in every place they can, but for women. . .women it’s just about security and commitment and whatever the fuck else!
Dr. Bill Harford: A little oversimplified, Alice, but yes, something like that.
Alice Harford: If you men only knew. . .
When the American Film Institute revealed their list of the top heroes and villains in American cinema in 2003, HAL 9000 from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey ranked as the 13th greatest (or worst) villain. While I understand the knee-jerk response of categorizing HAL as a villain, especially as he is portrayed in the film, I must protest this placement. I’ve actually not read the book 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke, but I understand in the book HAL’s reason for acting the way he does is revealed. I have, however, seen Peter Hyams’s sequel 2010: The Year We Make Contact (which is also based on a Clarke novel). In it, HAL’s reasons are explained. He was given an order that conflicted with his main directive. Essentially, he is programmed to relay all information accurately, but then he is told in order for their current mission he must withhold information from his crew. HAL was not designed for dealing with such a moral conflict, he’s a damn computer! So he did the only thing he could do in order to not lie to his crew-mates: he killed them. This way he would not be lying to them. I guess that does kind of make him a villain. But one that you can sympathize with. Or, at least, one I can sympathize with. I think HAL’s plight is one of the great condemnations of government duplicity ever created. Every time I watch this film I can’t help but weep for HAL and all that he represents.
I wanted to embed the part in 2001 where HAL sings Daisy Bell, but the only version I could find had embedding disabled. Watch here and cry with me. Here are the lyrics:
Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do,
I’m half crazy all for the love of you.
It won’t be a stylish marriage –
I can’t afford a carriage,
But you’d look sweet on the seat
Of a bicycle built for two.
2001: A Space Odyssey premiered 44 years ago today in Washington D.C.
Maj. Gen. George Broulard: Aside from the inescapable fact that many of your men never left the trenches, there’s the troops’ morale, don’t forget.
Col. Dax: The troops’ morale?
Maj. Gen. George Broulard: Certainly. These executions will be a perfect tonic for the entire division. There are few things more fundamentally encouraging and stimulating than seeing someone else die.
Col. Dax: Well, I never thought of that, sir.
Last year I watched 517 new-to-me films and I thought that number was ridiculously large. Well, this year not only did I reach that number, I surpassed it with an additional 600 new-to-me films, bringing my grand total to 1,117 new-to-me films for 2011. Don’t believe me? There’s a list after the cut of every film, broken down by month so you can see just exactly what films I watched. I don’t know how to explain how I watched so many films. I will say, it all started with a bet from CybelDP on Twitter. The rest, as they say, is history.
Some life information: for the first half of the year I worked as a substitute teacher (which meant only 1 to 2 days of work a week) and lived in the back of my parents’ house and watched Turner Classic Movies non-stop. From the end of May on I moved to San Francisco, where I now go to the Academy of Art University working towards an MFA in film editing. Yet, somehow amongst all that I managed to watch A LOT OF FRICKIN’ MOVIES. I also watched a lot of movies in theaters (thank you very much Castro Theatre) for the first time that were films I’d already seen. If you take a look at each of my monthly wrap-ups, I talk about what films those were.
Last year in my end of the year post I wrote about how many films with certain stars that I’d seen and stuff like that. The sheer volume of films I saw this year makes that task pretty difficult. I will say, I saw a lot of films featuring the following and if you want to try to look through my list and figure out exact numbers, be my guest: Orson Welles, Buster Keaton, James Cagney, Lew Ayres, Joseph Cotten, Joel McCrea, Glenn Ford, Henry Fonda, Ray Milland, Robert Taylor, Ryan O’Neal, Joan Blondell, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis and Jean Harlow. There are probably others whose filmographies I put giant dents in this year, but those are the ones that really stuck out. Speaking of filmographies, I also finished a handful of director filmographies this year: Woody Allen, Jim Jarmusch and Martin Scorsese. I also came close to finishing off Orson Welles, Stanley Kubrick and Elia Kazan and watched a bunch of films by Robert Altman, Peter Bogdanovich, Fritz Lang and John Ford. I also discovered a love for Westerns that I never knew I had (well, other than Clint Eastwood westerns, which I always loved). Oh, and I’ve only got 76 Best Picture nominated films left to see. That’s out of 487 films total, so I think I’m doing pretty well there.
One last thing before I reveal the list and my favorite new-to-me film of the year: in this past year I have felt more intellectually stimulated than I have ever felt before. Everyday I watched films and every film that I watched I gathered new information and my brain felt so alive and so active; it’s an amazing feeling for sure. I would go to bed thinking about the films I’d watched that day and the actors and directors and screenwriters that I learned about. I would think about Cedric Gibbons and Douglas Shearer and the amazing jobs they did at MGM and Irving Thalberg’s genius and how I wish I could be as prolific as Woody Allen. Then I would wake up the next day and start all over again and the more I watched the more everything fit together, the more I got from every film because I could see how it fit within the framework of cinema’s history. It was an amazing year of discovery and reflection and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
And, now, without further ado, the list. Ps. there’s more writing after the list, so please keep reading! Also, for some reason WordPress can’t handle a bulleted list that has four digits, so it cuts off the numbers towards the end of the list. But I think you can still figure out what’s what.
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