Title: A Trip to the Moon
Director: Georges Méliès
Genre: Science Fiction
I invite you to watch “A Trip to the Moon” above, and join me in taking on the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list.
Why? Mostly because lists like these have always intrigued me. They sit there, whispering a subtle dare, “Have you even heard of half the titles here? Do you really think you can handle taking me on?”
Why 1001? Because it tips the scale from arrogant to ridiculous. AFI’s 100 is a much more manageable number, and will take far less time (a third of a year at a movie a week, as opposed to nearly twenty years), but I always feel like there’s an air of pretension around those lists. 100 can be used as a way to show yourself better than the hoi polloi. 1001 requires admitting a certain level of foolishness from the start.
Why 1001 Movies? There is a ton of books in the Before You Die series. The movies book occupies a sweet spot of possibility, time commitment, monetary commitment, and entertainment. Given an average lifespan, in order to complete the 1001 Books list, a person needs to read 13 books a year from the instant they’re born; I’m over 400 books behind. 1001 Places requires a level of financial freedom I can only hope to achieve one day. On the other end, 1001 Songs and 1001 Albums can be completed in, relatively, no time at all. With Netflix, a few hours a week, and with the avoidance of an untimely death, I can pull off 1001 Movies.
Why post this here? The list covers the entire span of the 20th century into the 21st. That means a big chunk of films are in the public domain. At a base level, that means I can share them without fear of retribution from an angry movie studio.
At a higher level, these films are the genesis of our modern love of movies. They’re history we can experience and continue to enjoy. More even than that, the more people that watch these, the more likely we are to continue to preserve them.
Because of that, even if you don’t want to take on the list with me, I still hope you’ll watch and enjoy the movies I post each Tuesday.