On Being “Well Watched”

We’re still working our way through the movie list I made for Daniela, but I just wanted to pause for a minute and say again how happy it’s making me. It took away all the stress of “which movie will we watch”, empowered everyone to be able to decide what they wanted to do on their own, and it’s gotten us watching a really wide array of films. Daniela’s been there for all of them, enthusiastically watching them and then discussing what she liked and didn’t like about them after they’re over.

What have we watched so far? Risking some judgement by admitting to how many, here we go:

  • WALL-E
  • Rear Window
  • His Girl Friday
  • Field of Dreams
  • Ghost
  • Interstellar
  • West Side Story
  • My Man Godfrey
  • 12 Angry Men
  • Roman Holiday

The best thing is that 4 of those movies are black and white. Almost all of them are quite very old by any modern standards. I don’t know why, but being “well watched” has always felt as important to me as being “well read.” In fact, it’s probably felt more important to me, ironically. Probably because I can knock out a classic film in under two hours, whereas getting through Les Miserables in print took me a good two weeks. (But it was totally worth it!)

The fact that my kids are taking interest in the same sort of thing? Tickles me pink. It’s not different from them watching my favorite movies. I mean, as much as I think UHF is a classic, I don’t necessarily think it makes you a better person to have seen it. (But it might help you understand me . . .) But watching movies that are recognized as important and noteworthy helps you evaluate and understand all the other movies you encounter in the future.

The movies we’ve been viewing right now have been heavily skewed to “Hollywood classics,” mainly because I’m limiting myself to films we own first, because money. But films like Spirited Away or Seven Samurai are coming. The list is light on international movies, however. (Probably because I drew heavily from AFI’s lists, which are all American, but also because Daniela’s only 12, and I didn’t want to overwhelm her all at once. I wasn’t sure how some of the older movies would go over with her. At this point, I’m pretty confident we’ll do a second list once we’re through with this one. Yay!)

Anyway. I know I’ve posted about this multiple times already, but these days I have to take my victories where I can get them. I think we might add on a few impromptu additions to tackle some of the racial issues that have been coming up in current events . . .


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