Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"I'm Listing!"

I've always loved that category name on Whisky Prajer's site, so I'm borrowing it for today's post.

Apparently listing is a spring phenom, because there's certainly been a rash of it lately on the sites I hit. (See post below, too.)

Today's lists are the 1,001 (!!!) books and movies you should see.

There's a lot to disagree with on those lists, particularly the book list because it's weighted >Dr. Cox from Scrubs Emphasis<wuh-huh-haaay>/Dr. Cox from Scrubs Emphasis< too much towards the genre of literary fiction. (I'm using M. Blowhard's conceit that literary fiction is essentially just a genre, and not this lofty alternative to the popular fiction enjoyed by the great unwashed and unlettered.)

But, that aside, here are the source lists:

- 1,001 movies to see before you die, and changes to the list (thus I've included all additions). (via
- 1,001 books to read before you go blind

I'm following Kottke's example and only listing those I've actually seen and read.
- Here's the movie list.
- Here's the book list.
(Thought I'd try to avoid a post 1,001 pages long.)

I calculated roughly how much time I've spend watching just the movies on the list (based on 1.75 hrs. avg. per movie), and it comes out to 770 hours, or 32 days (assuming non-stop viewing), or 96 8-hour work days.

SWAGing (Silly Wild Ass Guessing) at approx. 7 hours per book (assuming the shorties average out the doorstops), I've spent 581 hours reading the books, which is 24 days (non-stop), or 73 8-hour work days. And I've read a LOT more books than are on that list. Probably by a factor of 20 or more.

Out of those lists, here are the ones I would recommend:

A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001)
Airplane! (1980)
Alien (1979)
Aliens (1986)
All That Jazz (1979)
Amelie (2001)
American Beauty (1999)
American Graffiti (1973)
Annie Hall (1977)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Back to the Future (1985)
Blade Runner (1982)
Blowup (1966)
Blue Velvet (1986)
Body Heat (1981)
Brazil (1985)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Die Hard (1988)
Doctor Zhivago (1965)
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
E.T.: The Extra-Terestrial (1982)
Fargo (1996)
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
Fight Club (1999)
Forbidden Planet (1956)
Forrest Gump (1994)
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
Frankenstein (1931)
Groundhog Day (1993)
Harold and Maude (1971)
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Koyaanisqatsi (1983) [Stoned - if possible]
Laura (1944)
Little Big Man (1970)
M*A*S*H (1970)
Manhattan (1979)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Moonstruck (1987)
One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Poltergeist (1982)
Psycho (1960)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Raising Arizona (1987)
Rear Window (1954)
Salvador (1986)
Star Wars (1977)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Terms of Endearment (1983)
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
The Big Chill (1983)
The Big Lebowski (1998)
The Birds (1963)
The Breakfast Club (1985)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
The Elephant Man (1980)
The Graduate (1967)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
The Matrix (1999)
The Princess Bride (1987)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
The Sting (1973)
The Thing (1982)
The Thin Blue Line (1988)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
There's Something About Mary (1998)
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Titanic (1997)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Up in Smoke (1978)
When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Young Frankenstein (1974)

A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
Breakfast of Champions - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Cat's Cradle - Kurt Vonnegut
Contact - Carl Sagan
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
Dracula - Bram Stoker
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - Hunter S. Thompson
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater - Kurt Vonnegut
I, Robot - Isaac Asimov
Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace
Interview With the Vampire - Anne Rice
Invisible Man - Ralph Ellison
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Moby-Dick - Herman Melville
Neuromancer - William Gibson
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez
Slaughterhouse-five - Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
The Cider House Rules - John Irving
The Corrections - Jonathan Franzen
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
The Shining - Stephen King
The World According to Garp - John Irving
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë


Sya said...

Koyaanisqatsi - also works if you're in a dark room...alone.

That 1001 book list makes me feel depressed. I've only read two books in the first 200 - one because a blogger had recommended it and another because I found it for fifty cents at a library book sale.

Yahmdallah said...

Good tip on Koyaanisqatsi!

Yeah, both lists of 1001 initially made me depressed, too.

What got me past it - besides the fact that life is short, so you've gotta keep that ratio of fun to drudgery on a level - is that most of the really really old stuff isn't all that crucial unless you're studying it. Their ideas have been so absorbed into the world culture that you really know them already. That's one of the few reasons they're fun to read is the moment of recognition: "Oh! This is where that came from!"