Leapt Yearly

Four years. That’s about how long it takes me to watch 1000 new movies. I’d just passed the 4000-film mark the last time leap year rolled around. A few days ago, just in time for leap year 2012, I hit 5000. That’s 5000 different feature-length movies of any and all genres. Multiple screenings and shorts don’t count.

For the occasion, I had an appropriate movie all lined up. I figured The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. from 1953 would be the correct choice. It’s not that I’m a big Dr. Seuss fan, but how many films can you name off the top of your head that have “five thousand” somewhere in the title?

The good thing about keeping a list of all the movies I’ve ever seen is being able to keep track of the specifics of the wheres and whens and what I need to see next. The bad thing is the time and commitment it takes to be accurate. Despite my best efforts, I managed to screw up the pomp and circumstance of my major milestone. After watching Theodor Geisel’s tribute to the nightmare of piano lessons, I went to add it to my voluminous list only to discover I’d already seen Dr. T. at a film festival years earlier. What was worse was discovering I’d also miscounted, neglecting to add Tanya’s Island to the total after a recent screening.

Yes, Tanya’s Island. I’m sure you’re familiar with this Canadian oddity from 1980 featuring Vanity before she was Vanity, running around naked on an island until the notorious and somehow inevitable ape-rape sequence caps off the it-was-all-a-dream chestnut. No? Well trust me, if you want to see 5000 different movies, you’ll end up scraping the bottom of the barrel eventually. There are only so many timeless classics to be had. Then you have to start racking up the numbers with pure, unadulterated shit.

This past week, I was in the middle of my Alfred Sole film festival, seeing all the movies he ever directed. It wasn’t terribly challenging. There are only four of them. The good one — Alice, Sweet Alice — and the other three: the porno, Tanya’s Island, and my accidental 5000th feature film, Pandemonium, an occasionally (some might say rarely) amusing horror-spoof comedy from 1982 starring a surprising number of talented people who would go on to do much better work once they made it past this crappy part of their careers.

Oh, well. I’ll try not to screw it up for number 6000. As for poor Alfred Sole, beaten and abused by the film industry, he left us with one quite interesting thriller before moving into production design. That’s where he still slogs away to this day, far from the withering attention of the suits who like to make sure promising young filmmakers churn out pure, unadulterated shit for the rest of their careers. I can’t imagine who they think they’re targeting with this sort of junk cinema.

Oh, wait. Yes I can. Me.

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