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Happy New Year, folks! It feels like it’s been too long since I’ve written anything. Work, a need to sleep, and a little lack of mental clarity has gotten in the way, but lucky for you (and for me), I’m coming back strong to start the new year and the new decade. I’ve got the day off from work, so it’s going to be a pretty major movie day. So, what can you expect before the end of the weekend? Check it:

  • Several capsule reviews–these won’t be my usual essays, but I’ll touch base as much as I can on my latest finds and the stuff that has piqued my interest lately. Some will be 2009 films, some will be The Decade I Missed, and some will be part of my Year(s) Revisited–these will be dedicated to films I’ve seen before, but for one reason or another never gave a fair shake. For example, I’m planning on watching Lars von Trier’s Dogville this weekend, a film I hated at the time, but am willing to give a second chance.
  • You might be thinking, “For a blog called ‘My Year(s) In Lists,’ I ain’t seen one damn list.” Well, that changes this weekend, with the first of what will surely be many to come. Get ready for my first decade retrospective with…My Decade in Photography, counting down my list of the top achievements in cinematography this decade.
  • I’m also considering making a special post about a film that, while not great in any respect, hit me for personal reasons. More on that as it develops.

What can I say? Well, I’ll let these guys say it for me:

Yes, a weekly feature, I do say.

After some deliberation, I’ve decided that I’ll be doing a weekly feature called “The Decade I Missed”. Or, at least that’s the tentative title. Don’t be surprised when this post is edited with one of those slashes followed by the new title unchanged.

The central purpose of “The Decade I Missed” is to take a look back at some well-regarded films from the past ten years that I didn’t catch for one reason or another.

Of course, it wouldn’t be “My Year(s) In Lists” without a nice tidy collection to cap it all off. Ultimately, each installment will bring me ever closer to a major geeky milestone: my Top 50 Films of the Decade. It will be a major undertaking, so don’t hold your breath — I probably won’t finish it until the new decade starts, but expect comprehensive write-ups of all 50 films, along with pretty pictures and the like.

Keep your eyes peeled this week for our first installment of “The Decade I Missed”, featuring Jonathan Glazer’s polarizing 2004 film Birth. 2007’s Palme d’Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days.

[NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: Don’t worry, Kidman fans, I watched Birth this week, but 4 Months was fresher in my mind, so I wrote on that. My “The Decade I Missed” installment on Birth is forthcoming.]

Monday December 21, 2009 – Day 1 in My Year in Lists

Forgive me if most of this first post is a reiteration of the biographical information, but what the hell, we gotta start somewhere, right?

First thing’s first: my name is Adam. I was born in North Carolina, raised in Virginia, and just graduated from the University of Virginia with a very expensive piece of paper that claims I got a B.A. in Drama. I currently live in West Bloomfield, Michigan, working a low-paying theatrical internship.

With the meager wages I can scrounge and the limited free time I have, I spend a sizable chunk on entertainment–going to movies, renting DVDs, listening to records, and arguing with people on the internet. Don’t worry, all you parents out there (particularly mine, as they’re half my readership at present), I do occasionally crack open a book. But mine is a life spent largely in front of screens for one reason or another.

Growing up in Danville, Virginia (look it up), I eventually had to go through what comedian Patton Oswalt likes to call “The Test of the Small Town”. Basically, it comes with the territory of being in a backwards-ass place like Danville, Virginia (look it up) where everything interesting, intellectually stimulating, or vaguely cool is strictly verboten (or at least entirely outside of your grasp). The day will eventually come where you must throw down the gauntlet and choose whether you go out to find this stuff on your own initiative or get a job at the Citgo so you can get free gas for the rest of your life. It was by good fortune (and an auto accident that left my brother unscathed, but my van totaled) that I don’t have a car, so the choice becomes much easier.

I don’t know precisely when the tradition started, but somewhere around 2000 or 2001, the yearly tradition for my birthday was an excursion from our not-so-beloved Danville, where Michael Bay’s grip on the cinema is most powerful, to Greensboro, where the multiplex still plays its fair share of shit, but at least had the decency to show some art-house features, albeit in a tiny cabaret theatre.

And frankly, those moments of being scrunched together like a pack of sardines with the 30 other hipsters in Greensboro in a back room watching these movies were some of my fondest memories of high school. In fact, my experience with films and art are responsible for some of my most vivid memories. I remember convincing my parents to take me to see Mulholland Drive in 2001, and my simple exclamation of “What?!” as the credits rolled. I remember waiting in line with my brother to get tickets to Fahrenheit 9/11 on opening day, overhearing a bemused couple that thought that everyone was in line for that weekend’s other offering, that Wayans Brothers classic White Chicks. I made a lifelong friend from going to Anchorman opening night, and I can still see the excitable fanboys dressed as the Channel 4 News Team, and hanging out in the quad after the movie, sharing a pizza and just shooting the shit.

Whenever my life starts to get hectic, these are the experiences that keep me grounded. And if things get especially hectic, putting it all together in lists gives me unexpected moments of clarity. After spending four years with a stable group of friends and my family never too far away, I find myself uprooted, and if that wasn’t jarring enough, I am transplanted in the grayest city in the country (and apparently the 48th happiest state–again, look it up).

Which is all to say, you can expect lots of reviews and lists over the next few months.

I’m thinking about the potential for weekly features, a film/show/album/song/video of the day, the week, the moment, whatever. For now, enjoy the insight when it decides to rear its ugly head.

And a big thank you to Los Campesinos for the inspiration for the title.

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