Good morning, folks. Those of you who are aware of my regular schedule will have noticed that yesterday I posted a review instead of my usual Wednesday article. I swapped Wednesday and Thursday’s usual posts this week because today I’m starting a new feature… but not here at Morgan on Media. My good friend Dan Fogarty at Fogs’ Movie Reviews has recruited me to help him keep up the level of content while he adjusts to a new (and busier) working situation. So today, “Catching the Classics” launches over there with The French Connection. I’m not sure exactly what time the post will be going up, but it should be at roughly the same time as this one.
So head on over to start reading, or keep reading here if you want to know a little more about “Catching the Classics”, what it is, and how it came about.
I’ve made no secret about the fact that, although I’m a movie fan, there are a lot of must-see films that I haven’t, in fact, seen. Part of this is simply due to the usual limitations of age; movies that are older than I am (or predate when I was old enough to watch them) are less likely to have been seen than movies that are newer. I’m pretty sure we all have gaps like that simply because once something is no longer the newest thing, it doesn’t get aired all the time, and watching it becomes a deliberate choice you have to make. Out of sight, out of mind. So many films from the 1970s and earlier I haven’t seen simply because I was born in 1979 and haven’t gotten back to them. It’s also partly because when I was a kid, I didn’t have much patience; there aren’t a lot of movies that I sat all the way through for as a kid. My attention span was just about long enough for a 30-minute TV show; more than that, and I was usually ready to switch. Thus even though I’m a child of the 80s, there are a lot of 80s favorites I haven’t seen either. It was about when I graduated high school that I started to really get into watching movies (and, probably not coincidentally, when my interest in television started to wane).
In 1998, the year after my graduation, the AFI put out their first “100 Years, 100 Movies” list. I watched the broadcast, and remarked on how many of these alleged classics I hadn’t seen. My mother suggested that I write down the ones that I hadn’t seen and was interested in so I could remember to look them up later. This was the start of my watchlist. Initially it had somewhere around 40 films on it. I had, after all, seen some of the AFI’s list, and there were others that I didn’t think sounded interesting at the time (I have since added those films as well). Over the years, more films have been added for various reasons. Films that were recommended by friends and family. Major new films that I didn’t get a chance to see in the theatre. Films acclaimed by other major sources (such as my recent decision to add all the Oscar Best Picture nominees). Films that just sounded interesting to me. Even films that sounded so terrible that I just had to see for myself.
The list of 40-ish films is now 1300 films longer. And it still continues to grow. I was thinking just the other day that, since I enjoy science fiction, I should add nominees for the Hugo and Saturn Awards as well. Though not all of them; the Saturns have sometimes nominated Twilight films for some unknown reason and there’s no way I’m putting those on my watchlist.
So flash forward from 1998 to 2003. A friend introduces me to the game Heroclix, a collectible miniatures strategy game with Marvel and DC Comics superheroes. I wound up getting fairly into the game, and joined an online forum about the game, and eventually a sister site dedicated to comic book discussion as I wound up getting back into reading those as well. I’ve since dropped both hobbies, and both sites are long since abandoned, but it’s on those sites that I met Fogs (as well as several others of the regular commentators here and at FMR). Since many of us were interested in movies, and not just the comic book movies, films became a frequent topic of discussion. And every so often it would come up that I hadn’t seen a particular film that was considered a classic by Fogs or someone else.
Yeah, he’s been busting my chops for ten years on some of this. I only occasionally get to turn the tables on him.
Flash forward a little more, and Fogs and I have each started blogging and writing movie reviews, which brings us to today. Fogs is caught in that eternal conundrum of money vs. time, in that his job provides the former but not much of the latter, so he’s asked for a bit of help filling out the blog’s weekly schedule. We talked things over for a while, and decided that it could make for a fun column if I knocked off some of the items on my list that he thought were particularly significant, so I sent him a copy of the list. To the best of my recollection, he’s the only person other than myself to see the full list since I first created it. He’s cherry-picked a little more than a year’s worth (at one per week) of titles from the list and charged me with tracking them down, watching them, and reviewing them for FMR. He’s picked the possible films, I pick the order in which I get to them. The French Connection is the inaugural selection.
So how will all of this affect Morgan on Media? Theoretically it shouldn’t. One more review shouldn’t disrupt things significantly here (in fact, I’m currently about a week ahead on my viewing, if not my writing). And I’ll continue to review the same type of content I always have here, including other items on the watchlist. You just get one more review a week to read, at Fogs’ Movie Reviews instead of here. So head on over to Fogs’ Movie Reviews to start reading, and thank you.