Last week I posted the bottom half of my list of my 10 favorite films that I saw for the first time last year. Note that these are films from all years -- I've only seen nine 2011 releases, so I literally couldn't make a Top 10 list for 2011 itself! These are all films that I could recommend with few or no reservations.
5) Murder He Says (1945) - Fred MacMurray stars in a wild comedy about a pollster with the Trotter poll service who stumbles into a mess when he comes across a dangerous rural family while looking for a missing coworker. Nonsense rhymes, missing money, and more.
4) The Uninvited (1944) - Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey star as brother and sister who movie into a seaside house only to discover that there's a reason it was for sale. This is a fantastic haunted house movie with one of my favorite visual effects from all of the movies I watched this year. (It involves a flower sitting on a table.)
3) True Grit (2010) - The Coen Brothers create a new adaptation of Charles Portis' novel starring Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld and Matt Damon. I've still not seen the John Wayne original, so I can't compare the two adaptations, but this one was a well-made movie with a lot of humor and great performances.
2) Dial M For Murder (1954) - Ray Milland shows up twice in my top five for 2011. In this Alfred Hitchcock thriller, he shares the screen with Grace Kelly. Something I didn't realize until putting together this list was that this film was originally intended to be released in 3-D!
1) Kuroneko (1968) - The film center at OSU showed a double-bill of two Kaneto Shindo movies one night this summer. The first was Onibaba, which I'd heard of before. The second was Kuroneko, based in part on Japanese legends of ghosts of wronged people. And like with the double-bill of Malick movies I mentioned last week, the film I was primarily interested in ended up being my second favorite. I was very glad when a Criterion DVD of this was released late last year. I need to make some time soon to re-watch this, my favorite of the 67 movies I watched for the first time in 2011.
In January, as part of the #writemotivation project, I'll be blogging every Monday about how things are going with my writing goals. Here's how things are looking so far, about 1/2 of the way through the month.
1) Spend time in the first half of January analyzing my first draft of "Adrift" and time in the second half of January planning the second draft. - Like last week, zero progress. I'd definitely consider this goal met if I finished it all by the end of the month, regardless of "first half"/"second half" splits. But...
2) Write 25,000 words of new fiction including at least one new short story. - I'm sitting slightly under 10,000 words for the month. I think I'm going to have to make a choice between trying to catch up goal #1 or goal #2. I plan to make a decision on that by the end of the week.
3) Keep all my writing routines -- Seinfeld Chain, blogging schedule, etc. - This is still going well.
4) On 1/31, have one non-time-sensitive blog post written and ready for future use on a day when I'm not able to post something "new." - I'm partially done with a spare post.
5) Submit one or more short stories for the first time this month. - Done. So I've completed the entire "Write 1/Sub 1" goal for the month.
Goals 3-5 there's really no reason I shouldn't be able to meet barring some truly unexpected event. I'm a bit disappointed that I haven't made better progress on 1 & 2. I'm not sure whether I was too ambitious with those, or if I've not been devoting enough time to them. Truth be told, I think it may be a mixture of the two.
As always, I'm glad that I set goals and that I'm measuring progress against them. This gives me a constant drive to push forward. And that's the point of #writemotivation and other similar efforts.