In 2019, I finished my PhD in English Literature.
That sounds super fancy, but it was really just my chance to receive grants/scholarships and teach in a university setting while the rest of my time was devoted to watching as many movies as I could within the five year span of my degree (2014-2019).
My research was mostly on adaptation studies. For those who do not know (or who would like a refresher), adaptation is the process of translating a story from one medium to another. This usually means ‘how books become movies’ and most scholars tend to focus on how many things went wrong along the way, but adaptations can be from many sources/over many mediums and I certainly never liked to focus on only the negative side of the process. As such, many of the movies I enjoy are adaptations of previous sources—but I also didn’t restrict my own viewing pleasures to these types of films.
After five years of watching, I came away with a lot of unsuspected gems or just plain wonderful movies. Since there is only so often I can put my own favourite movies on my college and university courses, or make my characters in my stories devotees of film, I figured this series of blog posts on some of my favourites will allow me to scratch film itch, while also telling you all about some interesting, innovative, or just plain wonderful titles!
I also have a secret: many of these films that I consider to be absolutely fantastic, and worth of multiple viewings, are often considered to be “bad” or definitely not Oscar quality. While sure, Citizen Kane is amazing, I still find the blinding pink and blue outfits of Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion to be some of the best out there in cinema history.
Yes, you read that right. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion still remains one of my absolutely favourite films, and it is a strange relic from the 1990s that is chock filled with bad acting, ridiculous set-ups, and a strange dream sequence that might not be a dream sequence?
Most of the movies I’m going to list here are probably more like Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion than the content of 1001 Films to Watch Before You Die–but that’s okay, because that book has already been written, and even if I was given another series of grants/scholarships to continue studying film, I don’t think I’d get to the 1001 other movies to watch before you die blog series anyway. Or that I’d want to. The ones I do write, though, I can assure you that I think these movies are great, wonderful, and worth viewing multiple times, if only for their costumes and soundtracks.
And you can trust me! I’m a doctor now. 😉