Conquering the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies Nominations List

We're embarking on a new project here at CineMunch. With the realization that the third(!?) installment of the American Film Institute's Top 100 Films list is coming in less than three years*--and with it a few personal milestones of our own (the end of our 20sWHAT!?)--we've decided to buck up and take on the classic-movie challenge of all classic-movie challenges: watching all 400 nominated films from the AFI's 10th Anniversary list.

Call it Beach Body Insanity for the sedentary set.

We have our work cut out for us: 196 films as-yet-unseen by both of us, plus 64 more that only Nathan hasn't seen and 2 more (ha!) for Matt. All with a deadline of January 1, 2017. But we will persevere, because what is this life but an excuse to set arbitrary challenges for ourselves?

Of course this isn't entirely arbitrary. Yes, critics have perhaps rightly criticized the AFI's list for being too much of a popularity contest, and yes it's disappointing that every foreign film in the history of ever is by definition excluded. But we also know we have a long way to go in educating ourselves on movies from before our time (we tend to focus on what's here and what's now), and popularity contests have always helped reveal what makes a culture tick.

In any case, we encourage you to play along (stay tuned for the master list of films!), and we appreciate your words of encouragement, especially for the much-feared collection of Westerns (ugh) that await us.

First up is Gone With the Wind, a catch-up for Nathan, which we'll be watching for The Film Experience's brilliant series Hit Me With Your Best Shot. (We previously participated in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and L.A. Confidential.)

So there you have it. The declaration is public. The deadline set. Bring on the films.

*At least, everyone in the industry seems to agree that A) there will be another list and B) it will come out, like clockwork, in 2017. Let's hope that's the case.

Meet Me in Montauk...


We hope you had a memorable and festive Eternal Sunshine week! In case you missed it, we celebrated with:

The Defining Films of the 2000s
CineMeal: Our first movie and meal pairing
Hit Me With Your Best Shot: We joined Nathaniel at TheFilmExperience for his series highlighting favorite images from a given film
"Row": our favorite piece of film music
Are We the Dining Dead? A Lovers' Guide to Reanimating Your Dinner Conversations
Jim Carrey's 10 Greatest Performances

Jim Carrey's 10 Greatest Performances

Jim Carrey's 10 Greatest Performances

As we near the end of Eternal Sunshine Week here at CineMunch, I thought I'd take a moment to highlight who I think gives the best performance in the film (and this is a film featuring several 'best' performances): Jim Carrey as Joel Barish. Kate Winslet may get all the praise (and Oscar nominations), and, indeed, she turns in a stellar, uninhibited gem of a performance that even she agrees was a turning point in her career, but it's Carrey who grounds the film with his expressive face and beating heart. I fall for him every time.

Though I've always loved Jim Carrey. His ascendance in 1994 with Dumb & DumberAce Ventura: Pet Detective, and The Mask was catnip to my 10-year-old self. I watched The Mask on repeat, and I even dressed as Ace Ventura for Halloween that year (though at the last minute I decided I didn't like the mask that came with the costume and instead opted to be a butterfly -- the gay in me won out on that one, I guess). His exaggerated comedic style really clicked with me (as I'm sure it did with many young men), but as I aged, so did Carrey as an actor. 

His days as a titan of the box office are likely behind him, but over the years he's proved his worth as more than just a celebrity. He continues to pick interesting projects (though more I Love You Phillip Morrises than Yes Mans, please), and I have hope that one day he'll get the respect as an accomplished actor that I think he deserves (or at least an overdue tip of the hat from Oscar). 

Not to bury the lede, but we all know what #1 is. Join me anyway as we count backwards through Jim's ten best screen performances.

Read More

Are We the Dining Dead? The Lovers' Guide to Reanimating Your Dinner Conversations

Are We the Dining Dead? The Lovers' Guide to Reanimating Your Dinner Conversations

During its 108 minute runtime, Eternal Sunshine asks no small number of existential questions, but the most relatable of them all may be one Joel asks after finding himself and Clementine, yet again, at a restaurant called Kang's: "Are we like those bored couples you feel sorry for in restaurants? Are we the dining dead?"

Unless you're a gifted conversationalist and/or freakishly extroverted, chances are you've experienced the death knell that is silence during a romantic meal. And the knell only intensifies with time. When your relationship reaches ripe old age, you start finding it difficult to even look your significant other in the eye while you eat.

But I'm here to say there's a better way to live, to raise your conversational corpses from the dead and never be that bored couple again. Normally I charge for information like this--just three payments of $89.99--but today my five easy steps are available for the low, low price of free.

Read More

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'

We've been superfans of The Film Experience for years (thank you, Nathaniel, for introducing us to the term "actressexual"). So now that our own blog is up and running, we're thrilled to finally participate in the TFE series Hit Me With Your Best Shot, in which the film blog masses share their favorite shots from selected movies.

Conveniently for us, the first movie this time 'round is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (our defining film of the 2000s). So here and now, in the middle of our week-long celebration of its 10-year anniversary, let's give thanks for the visual richness that helps make Eternal Sunshine the surrealist/realist work of art that it is.

Read More

CineMeal: 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'

CineMeal: 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'

At CineMunch we're all about exploring the similarities between film and food, and what better way than by creating the ultimate dinner-and-a-movie experience? The best CineMeals (you knew that was coming) tap into the essence of a film, sating your immediate hunger while whetting your appetite for the screen magic to come. Puns are encouraged (a la ParmaSean Penn Roasted Broccoli), and a certain amount of bending the rules is expected (cheese before and after the main course? Done and done.)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which we're celebrating all week, requires special attention, and we've curated a meal below that complements and elevates the viewing experience. Here's hoping this gets your culinary juices flowing. Let us know in the comments what would be on your Eternal Sunshine menu!

Read More

The Defining Film of the 2000s

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

This Wednesday, March 19, marks the 10-year anniversary of the release of one of the greatest films in the history of humans, and, for me, the film that most defines the first decade of this century. It's almost unfair how perfectly every element of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind comes together to create one of the most profound, stimulating, and moving pieces of art I'm likely ever to experience. From the mind of known genius Charlie Kaufman, the script alone would rank as one of mankind's greatest achievements, but when visionary director Michel Gondry put those words to the screen (with an incomparable cast led by two of my favorite actors of all-time, Jim Carrey & Kate Winslet), it was transcendent. I could never erase this film, these images, those characters, that music from my mind - Eternal Sunshine is a part of me.

So: Happy Eternal Sunshine Week! We'll keep the celebration going all week long with various features and commemorations, so stick around and cancel that appointment at Lacuna, Inc. 

Catch #10-#2 of the decade here.