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First of all, thanks to anyone who read The Last Picture Blog during 2017. I appreciate that this round-up of the year is a bit late, and that most bloggers published their ‘end-of-year’ lists and whatnot a while ago, but I’ve only just caught up in terms of posting about the films I watched in December, and it seemed like I should wait until doing that before trying to write a summary post of the year.

Prior to 2017 I used this blog to write a little more in-depth about each film that I watched, but I don’t have as much spare time on my hands these days, and at the start of the year I decided to make some changes. The main decision, and the first thing that I did, was to delete the existing archive so that the only content you could see related to films that I watched during the current year. That means that after I’ve posted a few round-ups this week (my favourite documentaries of 2017 and my favourite features of 2017 will follow in separate posts) I’ll delete everything on the blog again and move on to 2018. Hopefully that’s clear, but don’t worry if it doesn’t make any sense… the world will keep on turning, after all.

Oh, and one further thing: I’m using Letterboxd’s excellent stats service for this update. You can find me here, if you happen to be on Letterboxd yourself, and if you’re not, I can highly recommend it.

General viewing habits

Apparently I watched a total of 426 films in 2017, though that does include shorts and a fair number of silent pictures, which of course tend to be much shorter than the feature lengths we are used to today. Total time spent watching films was 769.2 hours, or roughly 32 days, or just over a month, depending on the period of time you like the best (though it’s not wholly accurate, as I don’t sit through credits in their entirety). As you’ve probably guessed from that number, I tend to watch a film most evenings, either at home or in one of our two local cinemas (there’s a multiplex about five minutes’ drive from where I live, as well as a smaller arthouse cinema that tends to get new releases a couple of months later than everywhere else). On top of that I might watch a film during the day before/during/after work, if time allows. Unfortunately that means I split these viewings into half-an-hour before work, 50 minutes to an hour during my lunch break, and half-an-hour after work, which is sacrilege in the mind of some people but I don’t mind breaking movies up and I tend to watch the things that I’m not so bothered about that way anyway; anything I really care about I’ll see at home, uninterrupted, or in a cinema. Occasionally I’ll have a blow-out weekend and watch between 9 and 12 films over the course of three days, too. My wife, thankfully, is very understanding.

Of those 426 films I watched just one of them three times (Barry Jenkins’ Oscar-winning Moonlight, which I saw twice in the cinema and once at home), and two of them twice (Manchester By The Sea and Dunkirk, both seen at the cinema once and at home once). I mostly watched American films, and dramas, although apparently I sat through 92 comedies in total. That’s absolutely news to me.

The most-watched actors were Ewan McGregor and Samuel L Jackson (8 times each), which I’m sad to say is partly because I decided to re-watch the Star Wars prequels last autumn to see if they were as bad as I remember them being (they were worse, as it happens). After that comes Georges Méliès (7 times, mostly during an exhibition about his life and work in Cadiz) and a variety of other male stars with 6 viewings (Joel Edgerton, Tom Cruise, Adam Driver, Anthony Daniels and Michael Fassbender. I watched Marion Cotillard act in five different films, and even though they were a mixed bag, she was good in all of them apart from Assassin’s Creed. There’s absolutely nothing good about Assassin’s Creed. #

In terms of directors, I watched 12 films by Méliès, 5 by Agnès Varda (all excellent), 5 by silent film pioneer Alice Guy and 4 apiece by the Lumières, Charlie Chaplin and George Lucas (American Graffiti, as well as those dastardly prequels).

Notable viewings

I’m going to publish separate ‘favourites’ lists for 2017 UK releases, but I thought I’d finish off this post with a list of older (i.e. pre-2017) films that made a strong impression on me in one way or another when I saw them for the first time. (They’re ordered simply by date watched.) I rated all of these films as 4, 4.5 or 5 out of 5 on Letterboxd, which basically means I’d recommend all of them. Those that were part of my ‘Blind Spots’ list for 2017 (i.e. recognised classics I needed to get round to watching for the first time) are marked with an asterisk, while several were watched as part of a film studies distance learning course that I enrolled in with the University of Exeter.

The Seventh Seal (Bergman, 1957)
On The Waterfront (Kazan, 1954)
Zero Dark Thirty (Bigelow, 2012)
Margaret (Lonergan, 2011)
Scenes From A Marriage (Bergman, 1973)
The Four Troublesome Heads (Méliès, 1898)
Seven Samurai* (Kurosawa, 1954)
The Man With The Golden Arm (Preminger, 1955)
On The Town (Donen, Kelly, 1949)
Volver (Almodóvar, 2006)
Nosferatu (Murnau, 1922)
Fish Tank (Arnold, 2009)
L’Avventura* (Antonioni, 1960)
Great Expectations (Lean, 1946)
A Wedding (Altman, 1978)
Suspiria* (Argento, 1977)
Songs From The Second Floor (Andersson, 2000)
Beau Travail (Denis, 1999)
Cléo from 5 to 7 (Varda, 1962)
The Human Beast (Renoir, 1938)
Cinema Paradiso (Tornatore, 1988)
To Kill A Mockingbird (Mulligan, 1962)
In A Lonely Place* (Ray, 1950)
Un Chien Andalou (Buñuel, 1929)
The House Is Black (Farrokhzad, 1963)
Harold And Maude (Ashby, 1971)
The Bridges Of Madison County (Eastwood, 1995)
Limelight (Chaplin, 1952)
The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg* (Demy, 1964)
Let The Right One In (Alfredson, 2008)
The Man With The Rubber Head (Méliès, 1901)
The Melomaniac (Méliès, 1903)
Atonement (Wright, 2007)
M*A*S*H (Altman, 1970)
The Third Man (Reed, 1949)
Sunrise: A Song Of Two Humans* (Murnau, 1927)
Le Bonheur (Varda, 1965)
The Selfish Giant (Barnard, 2013)
Blue Is The Warmest Colour (Kechiche, 2013)
La Strada (Fellini, 1954)
The Sting* (Hill, 1973)
One More Time With Feeling (Dominik, 2016)
Lourdes (Hausner, 2009)
Anvil! The Story Of Anvil (Gervasi, 2008)
Close Encounters Of The Third Kind* (Spielberg, 1977)
The Gleaners & I (Varda, 2000)
You, The Living (Andersson, 2007)
Meek’s Cutoff* (Reichardt, 2010)
Philomena (Frears, 2013)
Eraserhead (Lynch, 1977)
The Gold Rush (Chaplin, 1925)
Plein Soleil (Clément, 1960)
PlayTime (Tati, 1967)
The Story Of Film: An Odyssey (Cousins, 2011)
Barry Lyndon* (Kubrick, 1975)
Woman On The Run (Foster, 1950)
The Square (Noujaim, 2013)
Tokyo Drifter (Suzuki, 1966)
8 1/2* (Fellini, 1963)
Schindler’s List (Spielberg, 1993)
The Friends Of Eddie Coyle (Yates, 1973)
Man With A Movie Camera (Vertov, 1929)

As I look back on this I realise there are a hell of a lot that I’d like to watch again, and if I was to pick five absolute favourites from the list I’d probably say The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, PlayTime, Barry Lyndon, On The Waterfront and Schindler’s List were the ones that made the biggest impression. Anyway, that’s all from me for now, I’ll be back in a couple of days with my Top 20 documentaries of 2017.




Post a comment
  1. February 19, 2018

    How the heck do you pick five favorites out of those? 😄 So many of my favorites are on that list:

    The Third Man (all-timer for me)
    8 1/2 Week’s
    La Strada
    Schindler’s List

    See, I’ve already went over!

    • Stu #
      February 19, 2018

      Well I suppose I could just as easily have gone with those six!

  2. February 23, 2018

    Okay, here are my six favorites from that list:

    Seven Samurai
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    The Third Man
    The Sting
    Close Encounters of the Third Kind

    And good lord, 426 films last year? That’s more than double what I watched! And I’ll check out your Letterboxd page…I have one too, but I’m still getting it stocked with films and lists and such.

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