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Tonight, I enjoyed a pastime I've treasured as a fixture of family activities since my childhood: I watched a film with my parents. I came over to their home on a brisk yet clear night with a copy of Taken, a new action film starring Liam Neeson. Though it certainly had its faults, including shaky direction and some simplistic dialogue, it was an amazing and fun-filled experience that has now entered my film repertoire. The placement of this film in this gamut holds a special significance for me: it represents the 1001st film I have rated on Rotten Tomatoes.
I started my ratings, as many of us have, back when I first joined Rotten Tomatoes about two years ago. I stumbled onto this site looking to absorb and share information about my favorite films with others with similar tastes. I started rating films (based on my own system) just as a way to mark a mental note of my favorite films as opposed to films about which I was not as impressed. Eventually my list grew as newer films came out, which then gave me the idea recently of going back and rating any film I've seen since my childhood that so happened to come to mind. I didn't start becoming serious about it until about a month ago, when I noticed that my list surpassed 500 films. That is when I really started digging deep.
I reflected on films that I've seen in key points of my life. My first musical (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), historical epic (Ben-Hur), classic comedies (Start the Revolution Without Me, Bringing Up Baby), science fiction masterpieces (Star Wars, E.T.), and even the Sunday morning chick flick (Steel Magnolias) always stuck out in my memory. These moments of reflection branched out to other significant moments, including the first R-rated film I saw in the theater (Terminator 2 - it was my 9th birthday), films I reenacted in the living room with my brothers and sisters (White Christmas - my bro and I pull of an impressive Sister Act!), and even the first and only film I ever walked out on (you guessed it - Batman and Robin). Eventually, this not only became a way to build my list, but it gave me a chance to recall things about my childhood I wouldn't remember on the spot. It is at that moment I fully understood the importance of the art of film. It enlightens, frightens, inspires, and excites us in ways that we can also relate to our daily lives. It gives us references of comparison to life, windows into unexplored worlds, and gateways into our filmmakers' imaginations that help us in discovering our own. Some would say that viewing 1001 films in one's lifetime is a waste. I'd like to think that my life is much better because of it. Even tonight, watching this one film gave me one more enjoyable moment with my parents that, someday, I may recall and smile.
This list is, of course, still growing. After I started having mental blocks about films I've seen, I started going through the many lists and countdowns Rotten Tomatoes have done recently. The countdown of Disney Animated Films added at least 20 more to the list I probably wouldn't have remembered on the spot. Then I hit the Academy Awards database and started checking out all the films that have been nominated over the years. Currently I am up to 1993, and I am sure there are at least a handful, if not more, of films since that are absent from the list. I even created a shortlist of classics and popular picks that I will hopefully view in the next few months, including Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Strangelove, Annie Hall, Slumdog Millionaire, and A Clockwork Orange. I currently have 71 films rated 100 percent. These films I had to consider hard before rating, and I'm sure some of them may fall as the years roll on. Of course, not all of those films would be among my personal favorites, but they certainly represent the most well-crafted and artistically stunning films I've seen. Some of those include Schindler's List, All That Jazz, Alien, The Endless Summer, The Godfather, The Princess Bride, The Secret of NIMH, and even Young Frankenstein.
If you're reading this, check out my ratings page if you would like an idea of the films I've rated. My system of rating doesn't necessarily reflect that of others I"m sure, and if you would like to talk about some of these films, let me know. Please also recommend films not on the list that interest you that you think may also spark my interest. I like to consider myself well-rounded, but I am always interested in new film experiences. I would definitely encourage all film enthusiasts to work on their all-time list, giving them a chance to reflect on a lifetime of significant film experiences. I hope they have an enjoyable experience as I have. 1001 films - and still growing.
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