56, if I counted correctly. For someone who studies film, I’ll admit that my collection is very thin, but living on a post-doc’s salary with huge student loans makes buying films seem like too much of an indulgence. Plus, I’ve usually lived within walking distance of top-notch independent video stores.
When I did buy vidoes, it was often when I was bored and hungover browsing the shelves in a Target or previously mentioned video stores. So the films I do have are pretty random and don’t really represent my tastes. Anyone want a slightly used copy of Point Break? Body Double?
2. Last film I bought.
I got a free copy of dirty filthy love at the Atlanta Film Festival, but I haven’t had time to watch it. The last one I actually paid for was probably Control Room.
3. Last film I watched.
Miranda July’s amazing Me and You and Everyone We Know. Don’t miss this film.
4. Five films that I watch a lot or that mean a lot to me (in no particular order).
This is a tough question. Like Darren, I’ll sometimes put in a DVD just to watch one or two favorite scenes. And some of the films I watch often aren’t necessarily meaningful to me (but instead are selected to help me fall asleep). But here are five that I really like, in no particular order.
Sans Soleil (dir. Chris Marker, 1982): Probably the film most responsible for my interest in cinema. I’ll never forget the experience of watching the opening sequence, a shot of three children walking across a wind-swept hill in Iceland, accompanied by the poetic voice-over describing it as “the image of happiness,” and just feeling blown away.
Red (dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1994): Some of his Polish films, Blind Chance and the ten-episode The Decalogue, would also fit here, but Red was my belated introduction to Kieslowski. I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for films that reflect on questions about chance/fate, but the film is also incredibly beautiful and left me feeling completely exhilirated when I first watched it.
Dazed and Confused (dir. Richard Linklater, 1993): This is my official comfort film right now. For some reason, I’m always blown away by the scene in which Mitch, “Pink” Floyd, and Wooderson walk into the pool hall with Dylan’s “Hurricane” playing on the soundtrack. Office Space and The Big Lebowski have worked as comfort films in the past, but Linklater’s ’70s nostalgia trip has been pulling me in lately.
All the Real Girls (dir. David Gordon Green, 2003): Tim Orr’s cinematography is breathtaking, and Steven Gonzales and Zene Baker’s editing during the opening squence beautifully establishes the film’s melancholic mood. The awkwardness between Paul and Noel captures the awkwardness of young love very well.
The Third Man (dir. Carol Reed, 1949): One of the films I most look forward to teaching in my Introduction to Film classes. Love the canted angles and the scenes in post-war Vienna’s labyrinthine sewer system. And the final shot, which I won’t describe in detail, is just devastating.
5. If you could be any character portrayed in a movie, who would it be?
Tough question. Maybe Jesse from Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. I’d like to be half as witty as Cary Grant’s Walter in His Girl Friday. But that’s off the top of my head.
Like Scrivener, I have mixed feelings about tagging people for memes, so I’ll leave things open. If you want to join the fun, send a link so I can find you.