2012: The Full List

2012, eh? What a year: the Jubilee, the Olympics (I still call it the Jubilympics); the Paralympics; the highest-grossing film in Britain ever; the most-watched video on YouTube ever; the world not ending… it was certainly a year to remember.

Not so much for 100 Films, unfortunately: as we know, I fell just a trilogy box set short of reaching my titular goal. Not the first time, and as we’ll see later it may even have been predictable (except not really). Nonetheless, there are lists to be reeled off and statistics to be over-analysed. And this year there are more statistics than ever! If you’re like me, you’ll be excited by that; regular folk may just skip to the end.

Before those, there’s The List itself. After two years (is that all?) of presenting it in numbered order, I’m switching back to alphabetical. Why? Well, as you’ll see just before said full list, there’s my monthly updates. They cover the year in order, as it happens, and now that I’m linking to them from this post there’s no real need for a numbered list here too. Indeed, for those who like to cut up facts and statistics and lists in multiple different ways (as I do), this means that a year of 100 Films is presented as both numbered and alphabetical lists for the first time — exciting!

And as this post is now longer than ever, here’s a quick contents list, so you can just skip straight to the stuff you prefer…

So without further ado…

As It Happened

Below is a graphical representation of my viewing, month by month. More importantly, each of the twelve images links to the relevant monthly update — as noted (three times now?), this is where you’ll find the numbered list of everything I watched this year.

The List

Alternate Cuts
Other Reviews

The Statistics

For only the second time ever I fell short of my goal, watching just 97 new feature films in 2012. (All are included in the stats that follow, even if there’s no review yet.) What’s perhaps more interesting is the pattern that I’m forming: in the six years I’ve been doing this blog, I’ve repeated a run of 120-something (2007, 2010), 100-exactly (2008, 2011), and under-100 (2009, 2012). Weird.

I also watched one feature I’d seen before that was extended or altered in some way, as well as reviewing 10 others that I’d seen before (easily the most ever). All 108 films are included in the statistics that follow, unless otherwise indicated. (Despite not making it to 100 on the main list, that’s more films in the stats than either of the two years I made it to 100.)

I also watched five shorts (none of which shall be counted in any statistics). As noted last year, I own quite a few DVDs of shorts (my database informs me that it’s nearly 400 individual short films), so I really should make more of an effort in this area.

The total running time of new features was 146 hours and 17 minutes. That’s the lowest ever, in part thanks to a lot of Saint and Falcon films that only run around an hour each. The total running time of all films (including, for this stat only, shorts) was 169 hours and 35 minutes. That means that the shorts, alternate cuts and other reviews run nearly 24 hours — over double the next nearest (which was last year, at nearly 12 hours). You may like to compare the following graph to the number-of-features one above — does the total number watched tarry with their total length? (As it turns out, yes, yes it does.)

I saw two films at the cinema this year. That’s the same as last year, and so the joint lowest-ever. Cinemas are so pricey and time-consuming these days. Still, there were near misses for The Avengers and The Hobbit, which would have made it my best year at the box office since 2009. But alas, no.

The highest format is once again TV, this year totalling 53 films. After accounting for hardly any of my viewing in the first two years, TV surged to dominance in 2009 and has remained there ever since. Considering the size of my unwatched disc collection, that really shouldn’t be the case. Second place this year again went to Blu-ray (third year running). With 41 films it’s about the same as last year. DVD, however, sinks further into the doldrums: just six SD discs graced my player this year. Again, considering I have literally hundreds of the things I’ve not got round to, that’s a disgrace. There was also a single download (one of the Falcon films that I missed on TV and had to retrieve from iPlayer, as will be the case with all of them when I get on with the rest of the series).

Much to everyone’s surprise, streaming has undergone a resurgence and so makes a moderately significant appearance on the list this year. Whoever thought (even in the comparatively-recent early days of dedicated services like YouTube) that streaming would be a viable way to watch films in a reasonable quality? But that’s where we’re at now, thanks to increasingly fast broadband and a preponderance of rental services looking to make it easy to view films for those punters not all that concerned with image quality. All my streaming films this year were watched on a Wii, via either Netflix or LOVEFiLM. The former seemed to provide DVD-like quality; the latter looks more like an over-compressed downloaded pirate copy. In spite of that, I’m not going with Netflix — I have LOVEFiLM for DVDs/BDs by post, and my package comes with free unlimited streaming (it’s an old one that’s no longer available, haha!) If only they could step up the picture quality… Anyway, four films came down the pipes to me this year — it may not sound like much, but the previous average was 0.2. At this point I wouldn’t like to predict if that will be higher or lower next year.

This year the most popular decade was the 2010s, with 46 films (42.6%). That’s the first time it’s topped the list, just losing out to the ’00s last year. It’s a solid victory: though the first decade of the new millennium still comes in second, it’s with just 21 films (19.4%). It would be an even wider percentage gap were it not for the other reviews (adding a pair of Batmans to the ’00s) — indeed, looking at the main list alone, the three years of this decade account for over 47%. Clearly I err towards the modern.

That said, third place this year goes to the ’40s: buoyed by the Saint and Falcon films, it totals 14 (13%). Of the rest, the ’90s managed a respectable nine (up on last year’s low of five); both the ’80s and the ’60s reached five; the ’30s achieved four; the ’50s made it to three; and the ’70s had just one. That’s every decade since the 1930s covered, the same as last year — oops! I have a moderate collection of silent films that I really should get stuck into. (I’d do a graph for this section, but with all those decades to factor in it’d just be a mess.)

This is also the first full year to feature my new top information line (I say “new” — I was surprised to find this was the first whole year of it, so I guess I started in mid-2011). That means lots of opportunities for new statistics, and so that opportunity shall be seized! The main area this can be applied are the countries and languages info, which reveal I watched 106 films that were either wholly or significantly in English. 106, out of 108. Diverse. Some of those did share languages — Iron Sky, for instance, has a lot of German; and there were a couple of Hong Kong films that also rated English as a listed language. Cantonese and Mandarin chalked up three films apiece, one way or another. And that’s it.

Country-wise, the USA dominate with a massive 88 films (81.5%). No surprise really. Second goes to jolly old Blighty with 30 (27.8%), a mixture of co-productions and… not co-productions. Indeed, it’s the former that gives third place to Germany (13) and accounts for many others, which I’ll list in a minute. Some films could easily be narrowed down to a specific country of origin (several of those German films are definitely US productions with co-funding), but others are truly multi-national — how do you decide where to draw the line? I’ve taken to just listing every country IMDb offers. So some of the following ‘genuinely’ produced films I watched — Hong Kong, Canada (both 4) — while many others were just somehow in on it — France (4), China (2), India (2), and one each for Australia, Finland, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and Spain.

A minuscule three films from the main list appear on IMDb’s Top 250 Films as of New Year’s Day 2013. To put that in perspective, the previous low was seven, and that was half of some years’ total, and a third of the first’s. It’s not as if I’ve seen most of the IMDb Top 250 either — I’m missing about 119. To rub it in, the three I did see are all from the past 18 months. Main lesson: try to watch more classics next year. Nonetheless, the positions of those present range from 38th (The Dark Knight Rises) to 220th (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2), via 130th (Avengers Assemble). I know, Skyfall isn’t on there! Positively shocking.

As ever, there are too many other similar lists to consider checking them all. And based on those results, I wouldn’t be able to tick much off any of them anyway.

I’ve yet to re-watch any of the films from this list, only the second time that’s happened — and the last was the other year I failed to make 100. Weird coincidence. Not a surprise when one doesn’t see much at the cinema, really — I’ve got more than enough to catch for the first time without re-watching things in under 12 months. That said, a good few of the remaining reviews (especially the lower numbers) will likely require a re-watch before I cover them. Films like Tinker Tailor deserve thought in their review, not a quick dashed-off-from-11-month-old-memories comment or two.

At the end of all five previous years’ summaries I’ve included a list of 50 notable films I’d missed from that year’s releases. With 2012 over, I’ve managed to see (deep breath) one more from 2007 (bringing the total for that 50 to 27), no more from 2008’s list (leaving it at 14), two more from 2009’s (bringing that to 15), and six more from 2010’s (bringing it to 22). Finally, in the year since listing 2011’s 50, I’ve managed to see 16 of them. As that beats all I’ve seen in four years of 2008’s list and three years of 2009’s, it’s not a bad start. Still a lot of viewing to do, mind, and I’ll be adding another 50 from 2012 in my next post.

A total of 85 solo directors and seven directing partnerships appear on the main list. A record low have multiple films on the main list, with just Jack Hively and Irving Reis scoring three (all Saint and Falcon films, respectively) and Scott Stewart claiming a risible pair (Priest and Legion). However, Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher and Christopher Nolan each put in two appearances thanks to my retrospective on the Batman series — which actually makes three for Nolan, as I also saw The Dark Knight Rises. Matching that is Terence Young, director of three of the first four Bond films; and, like Nolan, Fritz Lang features in both the main list and the ‘other’ list, making two for him too. Numbers are rounded out by Guy Hamilton, director of Goldfinger, bringing the overall total of feature directors to 96. (I should also mention Leythum, director of the first two Marvel One-Shot shorts.)

This year’s star ratings kick off with 14 five-star films — the lowest ever (and five of those weren’t in the main list). Conversely, there were five one-star films — the highest ever. Oh dear. Plus, for the first time ever, the majority of films (41 of them) scored three stars. That’s well above average, and the most ever by nine. Consequently, four-star films were well below average, just 34 of them, the lowest ever by eight. Normally they account for around 50% of my scores, but this year it’s just 32%. The only bit of sanity came from the two-star films, back to their regular ballpark with 14 after last year’s record-low-by-half.

That gives an average score of 3.4 — easily the lowest ever. No surprise, considering the low 5s, high 1s, and uncommonly dominant 3s. The first four years’ average score alternated between 3.6 and 3.7, but they were all actually even closer, ranging just 3.63 to 3.66. Last year saw an extraordinary leap up to 3.83, while this year it sinks to 3.35 — a whole half mark lower. No wonder it’s been awkward compiling my top ten (but more on that next time).

Finally, a record-low 26 of the films (plus three of the shorts and all the other reviews) are currently in my DVD/Blu-ray collection.

Coming next…

Nearly done! Later this weekend I’ll look back over the 97 new films I saw to pick out my worst five and best ten, and remind you of 50 new releases from the past 12 months that I’ve yet to see.


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