"May has 31 days… May has 31 days... May has 31 days... May has 31 days..."
That's been my mantra since pulling up the newly re-tooled Movie Slot Machine's selections for May. Out of the 12 movies it has chosen for me to watch this month, three of them combine for a longer running time than the other nine put together. I was tempted to monkey with the results, but after April's flu-riddled, lazy final week, I figure a movie-workout might help me clean out the remaining toxins. It's certainly a compelling and provocative schedule, and evidence that my engineers have successfully fixed the Movie Slot Machine's earlier predilection for spewing out uninspiring choices.
May's Movie Slot Machine Selections
- Spellbound (1945)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Fish Tank (2009)
Dir.: Andrea Arnold
List: Cannes Jury Prize
- Point Break (1991)
Dir.: Kathryn Bigelow
Flickcharter: Ben Shoemaker
- Le bonheur (1965)
Director: Agnès Varda
- The Best of Youth (2003)
Dir.: Marco Tullio Giordana
Cannes Prix Un Certain Regard
- Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)
Director: Terence Davies
- A Face in the Crowd (1957)
Dir.: Elia Kazan
Actor: Lee Remick
- Shoah (1985)
Dir.: Claude Lanzmann
List: Paste Magazine's 100 Best Documentaries of All Time
- The Great Divide (1929)
Dir.: Reginald Barker
Actor: Dorothy Mackaill
- Lifeboat (1944)
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974)
Dir.: Jacques Rivette
Actor: Bulle Ogier
- Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid (1973)
Dir.: Sam Peckinpah
List: Time Out: London's 50 Greatest Westerns
Here's how I changed the Movie Slot Machine prior to May's selections:
- Previously, I had four separate criteria for choosing movies: my personal watchlist of interesting movies, a crowd-sourced roster of notable actors, a crowd-sourced roster of notable directors, and a variety of curated movie lists from sources such as film festivals, awards organizations, prominent critics and other groups.
- I combined all of these previously separated criteria — as well as adding in 20 Flickcharts from last year's Peer Review project — into one long list of 230 film-filtering rules.
- I ran this one omnibus list through Random.org twelve times, each time assigning the top rule to one of the twelve slots in May's schedule.
- Once a rule was assigned to each of the 12 slots, I located the highest-ranked movie that I hadn't seen (usually according to Flickchart's global rankings, with a couple of exceptions) which fit that rule.
Here are the rules and movies that were allotted to each of May's 12 slots:
- Director: Alfred Hitchcock / Spellbound (1945) — I watched a lot of Hitchcock's classics in the late 1980s and have been slowly revisiting them. I can't recall anything about Spellbound, which is the highest ranked Hitchcock on Flickchart that's not on my own chart.
- List: Cannes Jury Prize / Fish Tank (2009), Dir.: Andrea Arnold — This movie has come up in conversation a few times recently, and made its way onto my informal Watchlist just last month.
- Flickcharter: Ben Shoemaker / Point Break (1991), Dir.: Kathryn Bigelow — Point Break is ranked #49 on Ben's chart, his highest position for a movie that I haven't seen before.
- Director: Agnès Varda / Le bonheur (1965) — Earlier this year, as part of a "movie exchange" with another Flickcharter, I watched Varda's Cleo from 5 to 7, which was very nice. I'm looking forward to see what she does with color.
- List: Cannes Prix Un Certain Regard / The Best of Youth (2003), Dir.: Marco Tullio Giordana — I had never heard of this movie prior to its selection for May. I'm surprised to find that it is six hours long, but will try not to look at it as a chore.
- Director: Terence Davies / Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988) — Davies is frequently praised by the BBC's great critic Mark Kermode. It's about time I've seen one of his movies.
- Actor: Lee Remick / A Face in the Crowd (1957), Dir.: Elia Kazan — Lee Remick is great. This is her highest ranked movie on Flickchart that I haven't seen.
- List: Paste Magazine's 100 Best Documentaries of All Time / Shoah (1985), Dir.: Claude Lanzmann — Another long one, this documentary (#2 on Paste's list behind the great Hoop Dreams), runs eight-and-a-half hours. And I hear there's not a single laugh.
- Actor: Dorothy Mackaill / The Great Divide (1929), Dir.: Reginald Barker — When I asked for help compiling my actors and directors lists, some eccentric hipster put this Silent Era starlet into the mix. This is her highest ranked movie on Flickchart. No idea what to expect.
- Director: Alfred Hitchcock / Lifeboat (1944) — Hitchcock came up twice. of all of his classic-era movies, this one sounds the least interesting to me.
- Actor: Bulle Ogier / Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974), Dir.: Jacques Rivette — I saw this once back in a college film history course. A friend of mine complained about it endlessly. It's three hours of French weirdness, but I have since become entranced by actress Bulle Ogier, so I'm looking forward to it this time.
- List: Time Out: London's 50 Greatest Westerns / Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973), Dir.: Sam Peckinpah — #2 on Time Out's list behind the great McCabe & Mrs Miller. I've seen far too little from Peckinpah, so this will scratch a needed itch.