The List of Shame


After thinking long and hard about this (well, for at least 20 minutes) I've decided to put my List of Shame online. What is a List of Shame, you ask (unless you have one yourself)? Well, the List of Shame is something every film freak, film nerd, film geek, or whatever you like to call yourself, should have. It's a list of important films you really ought to have seen, but for some reason still haven't checked out. Which films will end up on this list is entirely up to you.

Some lists (like mine) may focus mainly on the classics, others could include only current films, or it could be a mix. The point is: This is YOUR list. It's not a list of oh-so important films that some film scholar thinks you ought to see before you die, or the result of peer pressure from your friends, who simply can't understand why you haven't seen the collective works of Weird Al Yankovic. No, this list should include films you WANT to see and are EMBARRASSED not to have seen yet, hence the name.

Let me give you a few examples from my list, to elaborate on this.


Sunset Blvd. (1950) is at the very top of my list (for now). I love film noir, but I haven't seen this one, despite the fact that it is one of the most iconic ones. Every film noir fan should see this film. More importantly, though, I feel like I need to see it, or I'll be missing a piece in my understanding of film noir.

Return to Oz (1985) is also on the list. Yes, this is a weird one, but it's one of only three films nominated for an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects since 1972 that I haven't seen (the other two are Stuart Little and Babe, which I don't plan to watch any time soon). I take an interest in visual effects, especially from the 80's, so I need to see this.

A film you won't find on my list is The Color Purple. Even though I love Spielberg to death I can't bring myself to watch this film. I have no interest in the subject matter, it seems like an all too obvious attempt to fish for an Oscar, and it just looks stupid to me. I'm not saying that I refuse to see it, I'm just saying that I'm not ashamed that I haven't seen it, and therefore it's not included on my list.

I also haven't seen a film like There's Something About Mary, but I don't plan to. I find the Farrelly brother's humor almost unbearable. I know it was a big hit, I know a lot of people love it, but I have no desire to check it out. Thus, this is missing from the list as well.

Included on the list are also films I need to re-watch, like The Wizard of Oz, which I haven't seen since I was a kid, or films that I've somehow watched in a weird way. I've seen every second of Full Metal Jacket, for example, but never in one sitting. I've always stumbled over the beginning or the end of the film as I was flipping through channels.


Now, two things are important to remember:

You can't fill up the list with every single film ever produced, just because you have some sort of misconception that you should watch them all to be able to call yourself a real film freak. Then you'll never be able to use the list. It'll be so overwhelming and embarrassing that you'll just want to throw it away and never think about it again. Pick your battles. The list should be short and sweet, always full of great titles that beg to be seen, and then you can use it as inspiration on the days when you feel like watching a film, but you don't know which one.

It's also important to remember that the list is in a constant state of flux. Every day brings the possibility that a film could be crossed out, or a new one added. That's okay, you're not supposed to cross out every title and get down to zero. The list is a guide on your journey through the world of cinema, and it's a journey that will never end.

So that's it. I've added my list to the permanent links in the sidebar. And remember: It's one thing to create a list, it's another to commit to the list and acknowledge your shortcomings by posting it online. But you need to do it. So do it.



  1. List of shame (One from each decade, otherwise it would be too long, there is too much shame)

    Gone with the wind

    The Third Man

    The Searchers

    Night of the living dead

    Mad Max

    Blues Brothers

    Dark City

    No country for old men

  2. @jnc One from each decade! That's a great idea. One might also do "one from each year". The important thing is keeping the list relatively short and useful. Props to you, Sir.