DVD: You’ve been a DVD Netflix customer since 2001, do you remember what prompted you to join?
Greg: Probably like most people that love movies, I’d spent way too many hours combing a video store for titles they didn’t have, and now all of a sudden I have every single movie in the world at my fingertips? I’m good!
DVD: We understand our extensive DVD library is helping you to watch the biggest films of history in chronological order. Can you tell us a little about that?
Greg: I’ve been watching the most critically acclaimed and biggest box office movies from 1934 forward, so it’s taken me about 10 years, but I’m now at 1961. It’s been absolutely fascinating, being able to follow film forward and contrasting it to sociological and historical context.
DVD: Wow! Ten years of classic film, and so many critically acclaimed films to go. When do you think you’ll be caught up with the present?
Greg: Well, I started the project in 2009, and in the last 9 years I’ve made it up to 1961. I’m coming to realize that this project may take 10 more years total to reach the year the project started (2009) — and by then I’ll likely be 20 years behind. But that’s okay! It’s all about the journey, right? I’ve always been a film buff, but this has been extremely enjoyable. I’ve rented 3300+ films since I joined DVD Netflix in 2001, and still watch many current movies, but this project is one of my favorite things in life.
DVD: We’re curious what you thought of the films you’ve watched thus far with your project. Any must-watch highlights that we should add to our queue?
Greg: Well, it just so happens that I send my daughter mini-reviews of the best films of each year I watch! This list just scratches the surface. So many interesting flicks!
Here are a few I’ve sent her that are a little off the beaten path....
Heaven Can Wait (1943). An early big budget romantic comedy done in technicolor. Well-written, still quite clever in spots. Technicolor consultants went nuts with this one. Every frame is bristling with as many colors as humanly possible to the point of some scenes being drowned in colored clutter! Fascinating to watch.
Henry V (1944). MUST SEE! A masterpiece. First Technicolor Shakespeare film, by Laurence Olivier. Shot three ways. First as a straight play being performed in the Globe Theater, then the French sections are shot to look like the paintings of the time without perspective, which makes for fascinating sets and looks to each scene, and then traditional cinema after that. The Criterion version has excellent commentary. Olivier produced, directed, and starred. He went so far over budget to create this labor of love that he actually sold his full interest in the film to get enough money to complete it. So he saw no return on his investment, but at least he was able to complete his art.
A Matter of Life and Death (1946). Excellent film study. A surreal innovative movie, with earth in technicolor and heaven in black and white, about a pilot who should have died but gets missed in his pick up for heaven, then pleads his case to stay on earth because he has fallen in love. Fascinating. Groundbreaking camera work and effects.
The Conqueror (1956). This film features John Wayne in one of the worst movies of all time, playing Genghis Khan. Yes. Seriously. So funny to see him in bad makeup spouting pseudo Shakespearean lines with his familiar drawl. SO much about this movie is just so perfectly wrong you can't take your eyes off of it. Also known as the picture from which almost half of the cast, including Wayne, died of cancer after filming in a radioactive area of the desert.
DVD: And beyond your film project, what are some of your favorite movies of all-time?
Greg: I’ll try to cull my list to ten, but when you’ve watched 3,330 movies....