coming out

This past weekend was the Out After Carleton reunion here, and one of the great annual events that is part of this is the Coming Out/Back party at The Cave, where alumni and current students take the stage to share stories and have the chance come out as anything — a hipster, someone with depression, the owner of a vast collection of Beanie Babies, a poet, and, oh yeah, any range of identifications within (or out of) the LGBTQA spectrum.  It was pretty awesome, and moving, and hilarious at times, but it got me thinking about the identities we have and build around our majors (for those of us who are college students, or were, or plan to be…).  I am a CAMS major (Cinema and Media Studies), and this means there is a canon of films that we are ‘supposed’ to have seen — the films that come up in casual CAMS conversations as necessary examples of genres or auteurs or ‘classics’ or historical periods or important technological and ideological and stylistic transitions and traditions within the last 115 or so years of THE CINEMA.  Films we should have studied, or at least have seen.  Necessarily, there are films that I haven’t had time to see in my young life thus far — and some (many?) or these seem to come under this big, shifting canonical umbrella.  I cringe when Metropolis gets brought up.  It makes me feel like a less-than CAMS major, remembering that I have yet to see Pulp Fiction.  But I am learning to live with these ‘gaps’ in my education, to recognize and accept that my filmic education is a work in progress (and that ‘The Canon’ is somewhat arbitrarily exclusive, when seen as a genre that is comprised entirely of what critics and academics and the Carleton College CAMSland has recognized as worthwhile).

So, in honor of last Friday, I want to finally come out as a proud CAMS major who has NOT SEEN ANY OF THE FOLLOWING MOVIES.  In no particular order, and of course not exhaustive, is a list of 111 movies I am planning to watch.  What should I add?  Is my concept of the canon strange?  Spot on?  I’m curious.  And of course, I’m slowly knocking these off — don’t judge me too harshly, and take me for what I am.  Acceptance is a process.

Pulp Fiction
The Matrix (any of them…)
The Godfather (any of them…)
8 1/2
The 400 Blows
Y Tu Mama Tambien
Modern Times
Raging Bull
Gone With the Wind
Schindler’s List
City Lights
The Graduate
On the Waterfront
All About Eve
A Clockwork Orange
Dr. Strangelove
Dr. Caligari
Duck Soup
Silence of the Lambs
Toy Story 3
Brokeback Mountain
Old Joy
Stand By Me
The Terminator
The Shawshank Redemption
Bonnie and Clyde
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Rebel Without a Cause
Taxi Driver
The Asphalt Jungle
American Graffitti
Blue Velvet
Brief Encounter
Days of Heaven
The French Connection
The Birds
Two or Three Things I Know About Her
Rules of the Game
The Magnificent Ambersons
The Great Dictator
A Fish Called Wanda
A Man for All Seasons
The Piano
Saturday Night Fever
When Harry Met Sally
Being John Malkovich
Boogie Nights
Bull Durham
The Earrings of Madame de…
Dirty Harry
Dr. Zhivago
Down By Law
No Country for Old Men
Empire of the Sun
Grand Illusion
Hoop Dreams
The Jazz Singer
The Big Lebowski
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Mr. Hulot’s Holiday
My Dinner with Andre
Mullholland Dr.
My Left Foot
Animal House
The Pianist
The Red Shoes
Say Anything…
La Strada
Requiem for a Dream
Wild Strawberries
The Year of Living Dangerously
Lost in Translation
Gangs of New York
Exit Through the Gift Shop
Bowling for Columbine
2001: A Space Odyssey
The Bicycle Thief
The Passion of Joan of Arc
Touch of Evil
La Dolce Vita
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
Fanny and Alexander
The Shining
McCabe & Mrs. Miller
Nanook of the North
Midnight Cowboy
Paris, Texas
Reservoir Dogs
Twelve Angry Men
Cleo from 5 to 7
Land Without Bread
Chronicle of a Summer
A History of Violence
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Night Moves
The Sting


6 responses to “coming out

  1. We have work to do.

  2. I have seen 24 of these. I actually watched several of them this summer while staying up absurdly late. Here are what your viewing priorities should be (according to my obviously expert opinion): Gangs of New York, A Clockwork Orange, and Schindler’s List. And have you ever seen Moonstruck?

    • 24, impressive. Don’t you wish you were a CAMS major? I have not seen Moonstruck, but perhaps I will add it to my Netflix queue, if not to this list. I don’t know if I would consider it canonical. Point though – canons are pretty arbitrary.

  3. Here’s my take on this ubiquitous movie lover crisis: everybody has blind spots. They’re nothing to be ashamed of, and we should all come out about them, like you’re doing here. And we should all be struggling to erase them, too. Open-mindedness is all that matters.

    Furthermore, since there’s not one definite “canon,” you just have to keep watching and watching, taking suggestions from everywhere. Which can be lots of fun. I counted 14 movies here I haven’t seen and, can’t deny it, now I kinda want to watch them all. Yay compulsive movie-watching!

    • What you say is so true – thanks for the encouragement and agreement about the indefiniteness of the canon. I know that intellectually, but it’s interesting to think about why I feel inadequate when I admit I haven’t seen Blue Velvet – a blind spot I hope to erase in the very near future! I’m also a little curious which ones you haven’t seen – I tend to assume your blind spots are pretty hard to find. 🙂

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