We’re all guilty of it. You’re in a circle of friends, someone references that classic quote from that movie you have been meaning to watch for so many years but keep forgetting to prioritize, and instead of coming clean to your friends, you nod along with them and move on as quickly as you can, hoping no one will look to you for the follow up line. There is a small roster of films in particular that I, very guiltily, have lied about seeing on several occasions. As someone who has dedicated her life to studying film, this list is pretty egregious. But, that being said, I have a major gripe with the unending comments of “You haven’t seen that?!?!?” that I have received for some of these and will receive much more of very soon.
Very recently, my friend was quoting Beetlejuice (1988), and his references were completely lost on me. Now, let me clear this up. I have seen Beetlejuice many times. However, it had probably been a good ten to fifteen years since I had actually watched it. When I sat down to watch it again a couple weeks ago, I was pretty blown away with how little I remembered. So I guess my point in all of this is to say that even if you have seen a movie (maybe even multiple times) that’s not to say you even remember it very well. Hell, I have a friend who loves Citizen Kane but only saw it once back in middle school. So, barring these following films aren’t among your absolute favorites, how well do you really remember them? Think about that next time you bully some well-meaning wannabe film snob (this is just my way of trying to circumvent the ensuing embarrassment).
1) The Godfather (1972)
Yeah. I’m not going to try and defend why I haven’t seen this yet because, frankly, I don’t have a single reason other than laziness. I can, however, make lots of great “You come to me on the day of my daughter’s wedding” jokes just like everyone else, which has gotten me far enough in my life at this point when it comes to convincing people I’ve seen it. Sorry, world. I’ll see it soon, I swear (she says for the millionth time).
2) Schindler’s List (1993)
This one is pretty embarrassing given what a heavy, important subject it is. I have seen bits and pieces—definitely enough key moments to get me by if it comes up (“Oh, the little girl in the red coat in a sea of black and white? Yeah—great scene, great scene.”) but at the end of the day, it’s true. I have not seen this incredible Hollywood classic.
3) Apocalypse Now (1979)
You know what? I think I’m going to place some blame on my parents for some of this. They raised me pretty damn well in terms of what movies they showed me growing up. By age eight my favorite movie was The Shining. By age twelve my favorite director was Paul Thomas Anderson. They did really, really well. Most of the time. Other times, they completely neglected groundbreaking movies like this one. Thanks a lot, you jerks.
4) Seven Samurai (1954)
This might be one of the worst on the list, which is why I put it off to number four. As a student of film history, it actually makes no sense that I haven’t seen this. My experience with Kurosawa is pretty limited—I have seen Rashômon (1950), and High and Low (1963) is one of my favorite films of all time—but to have not seen this movie feels like an unforgivable travesty. Not that this is an acceptable excuse, but it can be pretty difficult to convince friends or a boyfriend to dedicate almost four hours to a foreign film.
5) Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Ugh. I almost didn’t include this one because of how painfully embarrassing it is for so many reasons. I have seen literally every other Kubrick film. I have read countless theory on his work. I have driven 100 miles just to see his films projected in 70mm. I even have a HAL iPhone case. For some unknown reason this Kubrick classic has slipped by me all these years and I think at this point I’ve said I’ve seen it so many times that I’ve subconsciously convinced myself that I have. I went so far once that I had an entire twenty minute discussion with someone about this movie, and I am 100% convinced I sounded like a total fool. Because I am.
Well, there it is. Roll your eyes all you want, but you totally have a list too. I’m really banking on you sharing yours so I can feel a little less like a fraud.
Author: Catherine Haas
Catherine Haas is Philly born and raised, and is currently pursuing her masters in film history at Columbia University. When she’s not organizing her Criterion DVDs by spine number, she can usually be found ostensibly reading a pretentious poetry anthology in the park while introducing herself to all the dogs.