Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

The Criticwire Survey: Your Most Embarrassing Cinematic Blindspot

Blogs
by Matt Singer
April 2, 2012 9:06 AM
8 Comments
  • |

"Gone With the Wind."
Every week, Criticwire asks film critics a question, and brings you the responses in The Criticwire Survey.  We also ask each member of the poll to pick the best film currently playing in theaters.  The most popular choices can be found at the bottom of this post.  But first, this week's question:

Q: "We posted a piece on Criticwire this week inspired by Eric D. Snider's Shame List, where the good Mr. Snider confessed to 25 of his most embarrassing critical blindspots and set out on a quest to watch them all.  So this week I want to know: what is the single most embarrassing movie YOU'VE never seen?  Be honest."

Their answers:

Michael J. AndersonTativille/Ten Best Films:

"So, I'm just going to say it: I can't think of a single film that I am 'embarrassed' not to have seen. Okay, now that you all find me extremely loathsome, the most iconic and therefore deserving blindspot I could muster, and which most of you have seen I suspect, is Dennis Hopper's 'Easy Rider' (1969). My best explanation for never having seen it is my lack of passion for New Hollywood, but really, it's probably just my hatred of hippies that has kept me away."

Ali ArikanPress Play:

"I have never seen 'The Wild Bunch.' There are other glaring omissions from the canon, but that film has been sitting on my DVD player for years now. It's almost become a fixture. I've seen bits and pieces from the film, and read up on it over time, but I don't think I've ever sat through the whole film. I hang my head in shame."

Danny BowesNextProjection.com/Movies By Bowes:

"I went back and forth between a few things for this one, as my list of "things I haven't seen but really should have" is a bit long, before finally realizing: I really don't have any excuse whatsoever for not having seen John Ford's 'The Grapes of Wrath.'  Considering, first, that I saw 'The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance' when I was about 9 and, second, dude, it's John Ford, this is not good and needs to be rectified immediately. In fact, I'm embarrassed enough that there's a chance I'll have hunted down a copy and watched it by the time this post goes up."

Matt CohenMeets Obsession Magazine:

"Most people look at me with utter bewilderment when I tell them that I've never seen Scorsese's 'Taxi Driver.' Even as a life-long cinephile and four years of film school, this film has somehow eluded me. It really is pretty shameful and embarrassing that I've never taken the time to watch it, and I suspect I'm going to catch a lot of hell from some friends and colleagues about it. I guess now I'll have to make it a priority to watch it."

John DeCarliFilmCapsule:

"I think my biggest critical blind spots come in the form of directors I haven't delved into yet rather than individual films. People like Rohmer, Vigo, and Carne come to mind. Don't worry, they're on my list!"

William GossFilm.com/MSN Movies/The Playlist:

"'Battleship Potemkin.' Still curious to see what Peter Berg does with the material this summer."

Jordan Hoffman, ScreenCrush:

"Forrest Gump."

John Keefer51Deep.com/Press Play:

"I feel no shame as it is impossible to see every movie.  And that's how I'll justify never seeing 'The Godfather' or 'The Godfather Part II' in their entirety, just bits and pieces on TV over the years.  Which is exactly the same as not seeing them at all.  My God...the shame."

Adam KempenaarFilmspotting:

"This is the part where I'm supposed to say 'Gone With The Wind,' but at this point I've pretty well dug in my heels and don't feel too much shame about having never seen it. The real answer: the films of Jean Renoir. Any of them. How do you make it through undergrad and graduate degrees in film and seven years as a critic without seeing 'Grand Illusion' or 'Rules of the Game' -- a movie that both critics and filmmakers consistently rank in the top ten of Sight & Sound's Greatest Films poll? It's baffling and, yes, embarrassing."

Peter Labuza, LabuzaMovies.com/PressPlay:

"Basically using They Shoot Pictures, Don't They? as a guide, there was a something I noticed in attempting to decide my worst blind spots. Many films I consider egregious blind spots are also impossibly difficult to see or only available in poor condition, and thus justifiable. Von Stroheim's 'Greed' and Welles's 'The Magnificent Ambersons' I only caught up with in the last year because I had the rare chance to see them on 35mm, as only the latter has finally come to DVD. The most egregious for me now would be 'Panther Panchali,' but I've put it off on purpose until I have a chance to see it either on film or that rumored Criterion Blu-Ray set, as I've never heard good things about the DVD (which has also never been available on Netflix either). In that way, someone could get away without having seen any Powell and Pressburger maybe five years ago, but because the work Film Foundation and Martin Scorsese have done restoring their films and promoting their importance, they are now essentials. Really for me it should be Jean Renoir's 'The Grand Illusion.' I have had a good DVD of it sitting on my shelf for 3 years."

Will LeitchDeadspin:

"I've never seen 'Blade Runner.' I didn't see it when it came out -- I was seven -- and then by the time I would have caught up with it, there was one version, and then another version, and then another one. I figured I'd just wait until everybody settled down and decided, 'OK, this is the final and last and best one. We're done now.' I'm still waiting."

Christy Lemire, Associated Press:

"I'm not sure it's the single most embarrassing film but it's the first one that occurred to me, and that's 'The Searchers.' My dad loved all those classic John Wayne Westerns when I was a kid and I could never get into them. So there. Now I'll go play catch-up."

Joey Magidson, The Awards Circuit:

"I actually wrote a post on this about a year ago at The Awards Circuit, on my cinematic blind spots.  The piece is a little embarrassing, but the most notable omission to many who responded was that I've never seen any of the Harry Potter films, something that people took special umbrage towards when 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2' came out.  I just was never interested in Potter, but considering how much of a potential Oscar player it was last year, it's definitely a little embarrassing that an Oscar prognosticator didn't even see it."

Mike McGranaghanThe Aisle Seat:

"Despite its reputation as an all-time classic, I've never seen 'Gone with the Wind.' For years, I blamed this oversight on the movie's length, but that's not really it. The truth is that I've heard and read so much about the film that I kind of feel like I've already seen it. For that reason, it's been almost impossible for me to muster up the enthusiasm. 'Gone with the Wind' is the sort of movie that everybody knows all about, whether they've actually experienced it first-hand or not."

Jenni MillerJenniMiller.net:

"Let's go for an obvious choice: 'Casablanca.'"

Tony NunesDreaming Genius/Fangoria:

"My most flagrant foul on the film canon would have to be my neglect of the highest grossing film of all time (adjusted for inflation), 'Gone with the Wind.' I’ve been meaning to get to it for years, but it keeps getting knocked down my Netflix queue. When I was a kid my dad used to wear a t-shirt that said 'Frankly scallop I don’t give a clam,' New England humor at its worst. Back then I had no clue what it meant. To this day I don’t know the context of the line, a truth I’ve repressed for far too long. You know what; I’m refreshing its place atop my queue right now."

Michelle Orange, Movieline:

"I haven't seen 'Gone With the Wind.' Or 'Jaws.' Somehow I missed 'The Matrix.' I was only recently sat down to watch 'The Godfather Part II,' in a friend intervention."

David Plummer, Windy City Live:

"Embarrassed to say, I've never seen 'Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.' I've seen every other Kubrick movie and have loved the majority of them. I also realize that 'Strangelove' is considered Kubrick's best by many, but somehow I've managed to miss it. That changes this week..."

Kristy Puchko, Cinema Blend/Critical Mob/The Film Stage:

"Akira Kurosawa's 'Yojimbo.' I'm an ardent fan of Westerns, I know this is hugely influential. I really have no good excuse."

Vadim RizovGreenCine Daily

"Oh god. The two biggest ones that come to mind are 'Ordet' and 'Only Angels Have Wings.' But what may be worse is that I've never seen a single minute of 'Die Hard,' and it upsets me every day."

James Rocchi, MSN Movies:

"I often joke that I've seen 'Tango and Cash' more than I have 'Jules et Jim.' But my biggest shame is having, yes, not seen "The Shining.'"

Mike RyanHuffington Post Entertainment:

"I have never seen 'Annie Hall.' I have seen parts of 'Annie Hall,' but I have never sat down and watched 'Annie Hall' from start to finish. Honestly, I think it might be due to some sort of subconscious protest against 'Annie Hall' for winning the Academy Award for Best Picture instead of 'Star Wars' -- and that Woody Allen didn't even bother to show up to collect his trophy. I am not defending this stance as logical or even real, but I have an irrational annoyance toward 'Annie Hall' that I can't explain. I mean, what if I watched 'Annie Hall' and I liked it more than 'Star Wars?' My entire life would be a lie. I'm not sure I can allow myself to take that chance."

Nick SchagerSlant Magazine:

"My single most embarrassing critical blind spot is either 'Triumph of the Will' or 'Amadeus.' The former I've never seen because I'm not sure I have the stomach for it (formal innovation or not), and the latter I've never seen because, well, I have no excuse."

Michael Sicinski, Cinema Scope:

"Most embarrassing film I've never seen? Wow, so many 'guilty omissions' to choose from, but I think I'll have to go with von Stroheim's 'Greed.'"

Chase Whale, Next Movie/Twitch Film/MovieWeb:

"'Monty Python and the Holy Grail.' I take salt baths with razor blades to wash away the shame. Just kidding, I’m not ashamed."

Alan ZilbermanBrightest Young Things/Tiny Mix Tapes:

"I haven't seen 'Citizen Kane.' Honestly, I wonder whether the other critics you survey have an admission that's more shameful."

The Best Movie Currently In Theaters on April 2, 2012:
The Most Popular Response: "A Separation"
Other Movies Receiving Multiple Votes: "The Deep Blue Sea," "Goon," "The Hunger Games, "Jiro Dreams of Sushi," "The Raid: Redemption"

Blogs
  • |

More: Criticwire Survey

8 Comments

  • Brad Z | April 3, 2012 1:33 PMReply

    I liked this a lot. I'm a big Filmspotting fan and they are always very open and candid about the movies they haven't seen yet, which is a lot more honest than acting like you know everything about everything. It puts things in perspective and makes me feel better about having not seen some of the greats. Being a movie fan is a process and you just have to stick with it.

  • Edward Copeland | April 2, 2012 3:50 PMReply

    I don't feel embarrassed for never having seen it, but I've never watched The Birth of a Nation. I feel that with a film such as that when you know why it is important and have seen the most crucial scenes in terms of the development of filmmaking, that actually is enough. I would feel shame if I didn't know anything about the film, but with that I do know enough that it doesn't bother me. The ones that really bug me are the films I've wanted to see but simply aren't available for whatever reason. I can't tell you how long I've wanted to see Truffaut's Such a Gorgeous Kid Like Me, but it has never crossed my path, but its lack of availability has been the problem, not me just not getting around to it. If I have blindspots, they usually involve excessively long films that I can't bring myself to watch no matter how much I want to or know I should such as Shoah or Berlin Alexanderplatz. Those probably would be my most obvious blind spots. In fact, I'm sadly lacking in the Fassbinder department in general. His films would be my blindspots.

  • Edward Copeland | April 2, 2012 3:53 PM

    Note to Michelle: There are far worse things to feel bad about missing than The Matrix.

  • Big Bomb | April 2, 2012 1:59 PMReply

    The critics who write for other critics totally revealed themselves here. They picked obscure choices -- "even the films I haven't seen are cooler than the films you've seen." Okay, okay, we get it. You get a free pass to move to Silverlake/Brooklyn. The other lame tactic was picking a widely loved popular film to show that you are too cool to see something that most critics loathed. You know who you are. I thought the Annie Hall reply was the best -- totally honest and human about his avoidance. Cheers Mike Ryan. Now go watch "Bullets over Broadway" as redemption. This is the one that will outlast the others anyway ...

  • a | April 4, 2012 1:31 AM

    Please, don't pretend to know these people or their motivations. Look at the list again and tell me which of these films you find so "obscure." They're all "big cultural and critically-loved" films. The fact that you've never heard of some of them doesn't mean anyone else is at fault. It means you have blind spots. Bunuel and Lubitsch are both important filmmakers, by the way. Oh and which Bunuel was "filmed entirely with shadow puppets?" (Must be one of my blind spots.)

  • BIG BOMB | April 4, 2012 12:03 AM

    serves me right for trying to get the accent mark in on "Bunuel."

  • Big Bomb | April 4, 2012 12:01 AM

    I can't reply under yours Chase. I apologize, but this is my reply nonetheless. The choices that I thought were honest, we're big cultural and critically-loved films like Casablanca, Dr. Strangelove, Citizen Kane, etc. That felt like what the exercise was set up to be. Something you are slightly ashamed of. Most critics are not "ashamed" of not seeing "You've Got Mail," but a good one for the list would be "Shop Around the Corner." Nor are you really ashamed that you didn't see that Buñuel one filmed entirely with shadow puppets. It just makes you look cool amongst your fellow crits to care so much about shadow puppets.

  • Chase Whale | April 2, 2012 6:07 PM

    So we're "lame" for either picking "obscure choices" or "widely loved popular film?" What's the middle ground we are allowed to choose from?

Email Updates