How Do You Keep Up with Your Movies?

It’s a real problem, isn’t it? How to keep up with what you’ve watched, when you watched it, what you thought about it, if the film included your favorite actors, directors, cinematographers, etc. I’ve tried several different ways to keep up with all the movies I’ve seen and want to see. And what have I found in 50+ years of watching movies?

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This is the first way I did it: I scoured the newspapers and cut out every single movie I wanted to see (whether I was old enough to see it or not). This first kind of ad shown above was okay, but they generally weren’t the ads that appeared during a film’s first week. I preferred the big ads:

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Yeah, now we’re talkin’! I’d cut those ads out and paste them into a notebook that I’d look at over and over and over. If I did happen to see any of the movies in my notebook, I’d put a check by it. I literally cut and pasted all kinds of movie ads into that notebook (even the ones I wasn’t supposed to).

Unfortunately that notebook is now long gone… So as I got older, I started collecting ticket stubs for the movies I went to see, but I lost more than I kept. Also, by that time there were so many great movies on cable TV, I needed a better way to keep track of them. For awhile I wrote them down in various notebooks, but nothing very organized.

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In college, while hanging around other people who loved movies, I started keeping a list of movies I wanted to see. I also read through the entirety of Steven H. Scheuer’s Movies on TV and Videocassette. (The picture is of an updated edition, which I still use frequently.) I would mark the movies I’d already seen and…

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…I came up with several pages (like this one) of three-and-a-half and four-star movies I wanted to see. When I saw one, I’d mark through it and write the date I watched it. I still have these pages and, as you can see, they contain movies I still haven’t crossed off. (I know, it’s criminal that I still haven’t seen Cries and Whispers or the Olivier version of Hamlet. Hey, that’s why I still have the list!)

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My friend J.N. gave me a book last year that I absolutely love, Film Listography: Your Life in Movie Lists, which is a lot of fun, but it can’t include everything.

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So now I have two methods. I still keep a notebook with short notes on everything I watch. I mainly use this at the library when a customer asks what I’ve seen lately that I can recommend. It gives me an “elevator pitch” for them, just the basics. I also have these movies on this blog as well as what is probably the best way to keep up with movies online:

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Letterboxd is a wonderful site and if you’re not using it, you really should. It’s part social media and part movie database. I love it and am currently trying to take everything I know I’ve seen and record it in my Letterbox account. (You can see my profile here.) Not only can you record your movie diary of films you’ve watched, you can also list movies you want to watch, make lists, review movies, and so much more.  Right now I’m only up to about 800 movies. I know I’ve seen thousands in my lifetime, and while I know I’ll never have an accurate list of them, I’m hoping I’ll get close.

(I also keep a spreadsheet of movies I want to see as well as who recommended them so that I can either thank or blame them!)

So how do you keep up with your movies? Please share.

 

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8 thoughts on “How Do You Keep Up with Your Movies?

  1. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, that Scheuer book is a lot of fun! Thanks also for sharing your Letterboxd profile. I really like your “You might not have seen” section.

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  2. I use to have that Steven Scheuer’s movie guide and LOVED it! His reviews were often so much more fun than Leonard Maltin’s! I remember a couple he wrote-one for an awful old MGM movie that was based on an Upton Sinclair novel and starred Myrna Loy, Walter Huston and Jimmy Durante among others called The Wet Parade that went something like “Big stars, big production and a dog from the word go!” and an equally soggy Veronica Lake film called Isn’t It Romantic? which had the succinct one word review “No.” I’ve seen both since and he was so right.

    Anyway I poured though the book over and over again and would mark the films that I’d seen with a dot and those I wanted to with a star, it was invaluable. It fell apart years ago though. In the early days of computers I tried to use Word to compile my own list but it was a rather onerous and not always successful effort. The entire file disappeared one day and I was never able to find it and I didn’t have the wherewithal to pull it all together again.

    For a while I relied on IMDB but while it’s a useful site in many ways it’s not so much an easy access one for a personal journal of films seen. I tried ICheckMovies but didn’t care for the layout then I found Letterboxd which I love and which is what I use now.

    I’m very much a watcher based on the cast of a film more than any other factor so I love how you can put in a performer and all their films come up making it easy to rate them quickly. It’s also helpful to jog your memory of films seen long ago that you might not otherwise recall. I don’t use the social aspect much but I like that you can make list of films that interrelate for others reference. Also the films you want to see function came in very handy for a project I’m working on. I have a list of performers whom I’m attempting to see their complete filmographies (mostly classic actresses but some actors) and I’ve listed all that remain to be tracked down there.

    I took a quick look at your profile and there’s a lot of great movies, particularly glad to see A Letter to Three Wives and Deadline at Dawn, love those two films! Well I love many, many of those you’ve seen, we’ll have to agree to disagree on Lawrence of Arabia though which I detested but I know I’m in the minority in that opinion. That aside it looks like we gravitate towards many of the same type of movies.

    Here’s the link to my profile if you’re so inclined :

    https://letterboxd.com/joelnox/

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  3. Thanks for sharing your lists. You have a wide range of movie interests, it looks like – which is the sign of a true movie fan.

    I keep track of the books I’ve read, but not the movies I’ve seen, and I’m not sure why that is. I know there are people who keep track of their movies on IMDB, in addition to Letterboxd or iCheckMovies. You’ve definitely given me something to think about.

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  4. They both have their advantages, I’d say. Letterboxd gives me the chance to rate movies and read other people’s reviews, which is often illuminating. On iCheckMovies, I like seeing the progress I’ve made on the “official” lists (based on IMDb ratings, critics’ lists, award winners or whatever), and I’ve discovered new movies by looking at my unchecked titles on one list or another.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I use Letterboxd and also iCheckMovies. I’ve been on ICheckMovies longer, so that’s where I keep the list of movies I want to see and a more or less complete list of everything I’ve ever seen.

    Liked by 1 person

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