All of the months of 2016 have been recapped, and we’re a few days into the new year, which means it’s time for TMP’s annual Year in Review viewing wrap-up! The blog turns five this month (started on January 18, 2012!) and 2016 marked my *seventh* year of tracking what I watched. Crazy! Let’s celebrate by taking a look back at the cumulative stats for the past twelve months.
The Big Numbers
- New to me in 2016: 227 (77%)
- Re-watches in 2016: 69 (23%)
- Total number of films viewed in 2016: 296
Methods of Viewing
- Amazon Instant Video – 9
- At the cinema – 46
- DVR: Aspire – 1
- DVR: Decades – 2
- DVR: Fox – 1
- DVR: Freeform – 1
- DVR: FXM – 2
- DVR: Lifetime – 1
- DVR: Movies! – 4
- DVR: TCM – 23
- FilmStruck – 7
- From my collection – 51
- From mom’s collection – 2
- From sister’s collection – 8
- Hulu – 5
- Library rental – 1
- Netflix – 22
- Warner Archive Instant – 32
- WatchTCM – 74
- YouTube – 3
The big viewing method this year was WatchTCM with 74 viewings — accounting for 25% of my movie-watching! (Including WatchTCM and my DVR, TCM made up 33% of my viewing.) I also took a lot of trips to the theater (46) and made pretty good use of both my DVD/Blu collection (51 viewings) and my Warner Archive Instant subscription (32 viewings).
Tally by decade
- 1910s – 0
- 1920s – 4
- 1930s – 60
- 1940s – 58
- 1950s – 32
- 1960s – 11
- 1970s – 8
- 1980s – 8
- 1990s – 6
- 2000s – 39
- 2010s – 70
I’m slightly disappointed in myself for that goose egg following the 1910s and my low number of silent viewings in general, but still, it was a pretty diverse year in terms of decades. The 1930s and 1940s were nearly tied for my most-viewed classic decade, though the most-viewed for the year was the current decade… thanks, in part, to all of those theater trips!
Most Memorable Discoveries
Since I’ve taken away the blog’s rating system, putting together a list of favorite discoveries has proven more difficult this year than previously! So, rather than relying on a handy scoring system, I simply browsed my full list of films watched in the year and took note of the twenty titles that stood out most to me as memorable first-time viewings. They are listed here in order of preference.
- Dark Journey (1937)
Vivien Leigh and Conrad Veidt star in this romantic spy thriller set in World War II. Vivien’s character of Madeleine Goddard is one of her most interesting, and she gives a fantastic performance!
- Ex Machina (2015)
I watched this film early in the year, playing catch-up on 2015 releases, and absolutely loved it. I’m still thinking about it and recommending it to everyone an entire year after watching.
- Waga koi seshi otome (aka The Girl I Loved) (1946)
My first introduction to the work of Keisuke Kinoshita, and my first viewing from the new FilmStruck streaming service. This one lands high on my list because it offers a story that is simple, but beautifully told, with endearing performances and a lasting emotional impact.
- Shurayukihime (aka Lady Snowblood) (1973)
This bloody but artfully made revenge tale left my jaw on the floor when I discovered it via FilmStruck near the end of the year.
- Things to Come (1936)
My favorite classic sci-fi watch of the year. It’s imaginative, thought-provoking, bleak… and based on a novel by H. G. Wells!
- Perfect Sense (2011)
Ewan McGregor and Eva Green star in this fascinating, heartbreaking exploration of a world where the entire population is losing its senses, one by one, with no apparent cure.
- Dirty Gertie from Harlem, U.S.A. (1946)
Two words: Francine Everett. What a talent! Her performance alone is worth tuning in for, but I also came to the conclusion that this is the most interesting adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham’s “Miss Thompson.”
- The Ex-Mrs. Bradford (1936)
A delightfully funny mystery-comedy starring William Powell and Jean Arthur. I enjoyed it thoroughly from beginning to end, but was especially amused by the unique murder weapon revealed near the end.
- Princesse Tam-Tam (1935)
I just reviewed this film two days ago, so I don’t think I need to go into too much detail on it. It offers an interesting story (with a twist) and highlights the charisma and talent of Josephine Baker.
- Lion (2016)
Lion is one of those “truth is stranger than fiction” stories, following a young boy who became separated from his family purely by accident, and was then adopted by an Australian family, not to return to India for decades. I don’t often cry while watching films, but this one came very close to getting more than a few tears out of me!
- Fog Over Frisco (1934)
Can’t have a favorite discoveries list without including a new-to-me Bette Davis film! This is a tension-filled mystery, bolstered by great performances from both Davis and her on-screen sister Margaret Lindsay.
- A Foreign Affair (1948)
A Foreign Affair is a film that kind of encompasses two worlds. You’ve got a Billy Wilder rom-com on one hand, full of laughs and mishaps, and a the city of Berlin immediately following World War II on the other. The contrast between the setting and the much fluffier love triangle made this film a fascinating watch for me.
- Night Must Fall (1937)
Robert Montgomery gambled on Night Must Fall, playing a character that was a departure from his public image, assured by Louis B. Mayer that the film would fail. While it wasn’t a box office hit, for the modern classic film buff it’s a great watch. Montgomery brings both charm and an eerie aura to this claustrophobic murder-mystery, set mostly in a house in a tiny English town, where suspicions grow regarding the death of a neighbor.
- The Fallen Idol (1948)
The Fallen Idol has a lot going for it — a great script, striking cinematography, a strong cast. When I reviewed it in October, I called it “a must-see for fans of black and white crime dramas.”
- Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong (2015)
Written and directed by Emily Ting, this film follows an American expat and a Chinese-American traveler. They meet in Hong Kong and continue to cross paths, leading to romantic complications. Stars Bryan Greenberg and Jamie Chung (who are married in real life) are wonderful to watch together, as is the film’s wonderful location shooting of Hong Kong at night.
- Imitation of Life (1934)
Having seen the 1959 remake of this film many times over the past several years, I finally decided to give this version a watch in 2016. And having long been a fan of the 1959 version, I was surprised to find that I enjoyed this one even more. Gender roles and race issues are handled in a manner that is quite progressive, considering the film’s age, and the handling of Peola’s journey is much more sensitive than that of Sarah Jane in the remake. It’s a much more subtle and nuanced telling of the story.
- Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016)
Fifteen years after the release of the original Bridget Jones flick, which is one of my all-time favorite romantic comedies, I kept my expectations low for Bridget Jones’s Baby and walked out of the theater very pleasantly surprised! It’s such a fun and cute watch.
- Love Is News (1937)
Early in the year, I watched both Love is News and its 1948 remake, That Wonderful Urge. Both films star Tyrone Power in the role of a reporter scheming his way into the life of a wealthy heiress in order to get the scoop. In this 1937 version, the superior of the two, the heiress is played by Loretta Young. It’s fun to watch both as a screwball comedy and as a critique of the frenzied news-making industry. On top of that, Young and Power are great to watch together!
- World of Tomorrow (2015)
The only animated film to land on my list, I found this Oscar-nominated short quite hypnotizing when I caught it on Netflix in February. In less than twenty minutes, a fascinating world of clones and time-hopping memory is built.
- Miss Sloane (2016)
I’ll watch anything starring Jessica Chastain, and her performance in this film is killer. The character of Elizabeth Sloane is ruthless and scheming, and Chastain plays her well, even when the film’s twists and turns get a little soapy.
I feel like I need a little disclaimer here: There are a TON of 2016 titles I still need to get around to watching, like Moonlight, which seems to be topping every “favorites” list I read! So, if you’re wondering why any particular new release is missing from the list, the answer is probably that I simply haven’t seen it yet.
One of my resolutions for the year was to read a decent number of film-related books. Like my movie-watching, I track all of my reading (using Goodreads), so here’s a list:
- Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War by Mark Harris
- Five Women I Love: Bob Hope’s Vietnam Story by Bob Hope
- Good Stuff: A Reminiscence of My Father, Cary Grant by Jennifer Grant
- Laughing in the Dark: Movie Comedy from Groucho to Woody by Ted Sennett
- LIFE Goes to the Movies, ed. David E. Scherman
- Mother Goddam: The Story of the Career of Bette Davis by Whitney Stine with running commentary by Bette Davis
- Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase by Carolyn Keene – Adapted to film in 1939
- The Real James Dean: Intimate Memories from Those Who Knew Him Best, ed. Peter L. Winkler
- Scarlett O’Hara’s Younger Sister: My Lively Life In and Out of Hollywood by Evelyn Keyes
So, a total of nine books — not as many as I wanted to get to (I hoped to read at least one a month), but I enjoyed most of them. I read a total of 48 books throughout the year (including my required texts for the final year of grad school), so the movie-related titles accounted for about 19% of the year’s reading.
Blog Stats & Most-Viewed
TMP was viewed 121,473 times in 2016 — about 2,500 more views than 2015, making for the blog’s strongest year yet! Here are all of the blog’s most-viewed posts, broken down into categories.
- Top 5 old movie features, based on number of views in 2016:
- Top 5 pre-’70 reviews, based on number of views in 2016:
- Top 5 post-’70 reviews and features, based on number of views in 2016:
- Top 5 TV posts, based on number of views in 2016:
- Top 5 bookish posts, based on number of views in 2016:
Thank you to everyone who visited the blog or took the time to comment/converse in 2016! The new year is off to a decent start for me. I hope it’s treating you well, and that we all discover plenty of great movies in 2017!