Project 500

I know, I know, I don’t update this blog often enough. Too often I figure I have stuff to write here, but then for one reason or another, I never get around to it. Well, I hope that’s going to change from here on in.

But first, I thought I’d inform those not in know, of the movie project that I’ve been running with some friends for around twelve months or so, entitled Project 500.

What’s it about? Well, a quest to watch all of the 500 greatest movies of all time (well, up until 2008 when the list was compiled), according to revered movie mag Empire. The list (which you can view here) was voted by both the public and movie industry (film-makers, critics) plus some sort of jiggerypokery to rank the votes, so there’s a certain authenticity to it unlike the IMDB Top 250, which can be voted for by Joe Anybody. The quest actually started when I spotted the issue in a motorway services; which I still have to this day, though in slightly poorer condition than when I bought it:

So, the procedure is as follows:

1. Tick off all the films you’ve seen (not seen it all the way through? Doesn’t count.)
2. Track down the ones you haven’t
3. Watch those you haven’t seen
4. ?????

Why am I doing this? Well, partly from the perspective of a movie fan curious about all those mythical titles that get banded around such ‘greatest movies’ list (Citizen Kane, Psycho, It’s a Wonderful Life) that I’d never seen, partly to up my culture points and improve my frame of reference which I watch a new film, and partly to feel smug that I have at least sampled film from slightly different demographics than I would’ve done otherwise; such as the delights of world cinema, silent movies and musicals. From the one hundred-odd movies I’ve already ticked off in the last year that I hadn’t already seen, there’s been some brilliant discoveries from territories I may not have wandered into otherwise, such as: The Apartment, Duck Soup and The Philadelphia Story.

I’ve set myself the personal challenge of not making it too ‘easy’ –  with the internet at a finger’s touch and pretty much every film ever available (if illegally) through streams, torrents and whathaveyou, it’d be too easy to raid through the list at a rate of knots. It’s almost more of a challenge to try and track them all down legally, even those really obscure foreign ones that no-one’s ever heard of. I’m allowing use of YouTube (when and where they exist; largely only old black-and-white movies), but other than that, it’s all above-board. Plus I get to keep a bunch of really cool movies and watch them again and again whenever I like, so everyone’s a winner.

How does it work? Well, there’s a Facebook group which pals of mine are welcome to join, where we organise semi-regular movie nights to chomp down through the list, swap DVDs and (sometimes) discuss what we’ve thought of certain films. If you’re interested in joining the quest and aiming to complete the whole 500, then you’re very welcome to join. I’m also updating all the data onto a Google document, so the latest progress can be observed in the chart below:

As I write, I’m currently approaching 2/3s of the 500; which has, technically, taken me 26 years of my life, but has really only taken me one year to knock off 100 movies since I properly started this quest. Clearly I’m not going to be finishing it any time soon (unless my exit velocity gets truly astronomical), but if it’s something to make the long winter evenings go by with friends, nibbles and movies, then long may it continue. I’ll be updating this when and where applicable, so expect (semi-)regular new posts on the current status.

Again, I’ll reiterate: If any of you Southamptonites are keen to join the quest and commit to knocking off more of the 500 greatest movies ever, then make a request to the Facebook group, and join in the fun.


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18 thoughts on “Project 500

  1. […] few of you may be aware of my ongoing Project 500 film challenge to watch every one of the five-hundred greatest movies as selected by Empire […]

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