July 22, 2002

The "Clean Slate" List

In the age of hyper-marketing, it seems like you cannot avoid awareness of upcoming films. It has become all to easy for a movie buff to learn too much about a movie they haven't seen yet. Wouldn't it be nice to go into a theater with zero expectations, no foreknowledge, and be totally surprised by a movie? It doesn't happen very often. I went through my ticket stubs scrapbook and made a Clean Slate List:
  • The Godfather, Part III • At age 19 I vaguely aware of what The Godfather was, but I had not seen either part 1 or part 2 yet. I only saw Part III because all my friends were going. I haven't seen it all the way through since, but I think Part III is better if you don't know how good parts 1 and 2 were.
  • The Last Seduction • This movie is the reason I made this list. I had read about a different thriller with a similar name, and got the titles mixed up. I figured out pretty quickly that I was in the wrong theater. I appreciated the unflinching noir tone of the film, and I enjoyed a movie with a irredeemable female protagonist.
  • Vanya on 42nd Street • I was expecting something totally different. I was not expecting a bunch of very talented actors sitting in a circle reading the script.
  • Sullivan's Travels • The second half of a double feature with It Happened One Night, I left halfway through. I don't appreciate "wrongly imprisoned" films.
  • The Killers • All I knew about this was the blurb in the Brattle Theater schedule. That was enough to lure me to the screening.
  • The Barefoot Contessa • I was in a movie-going mood, and the Brattle Theater's blurb sounded interesting. Too bad I almost fell asleep!
  • The Station Agent • All I knew about this was that there was a little person in the movie, and Patricia Clarkson too. What else did I need to know?
  • The Umbrellas of Cherbourg • All I knew going in was "It's a French movie, and there's no dialog. It's all-singing".