With 2022 winding down, it’s time for my seventh annual list of the ten best films (at least ten years old) that I watched over this past year. The list is somewhat random and arbitrary, based on the movies I happen to choose to watch (or re-watch). The only theme I noticed from this year’s list is that the 1970s truly were a Golden Age of Hollywood filmmaking. Even some of the deeper cuts from that decade are great.
I would say they don’t make movies like this anymore, except they did—at least once with The Revenant in 2015, which was clearly influenced by Jeremiah Johnson. This is a powerful film, so different from most of the CGI-reliant movies made today. You can tell the cast and crew were actually there on location in the remote wilderness of Utah filming this movie—and simply seeing that natural landscape on the big screen was captivating. It makes you realize just how extraordinary the pioneers who ventured out West were, considering the lengths it took to survive mother nature. The film also portrays the tragic violence that took place between humans—the pioneers and the Native Americans. Sometimes I feel the desire to become like Jeremiah Johnson and move out to the remote mountains, build my own cabin, and live a quiet life alone in nature to read and write—but only sometimes.
Last year, I vowed to see more old movies in 2018 to improve this annual list, but halfway through the year, I was failing to do so. I was a MoviePass subscriber, so I spent most of my free time seeing new movies in the theater. When MoviePass changed their deal toward the end of the summer, I canceled my plan, which was a blessing in disguise because I suddenly had a lot more free time to watch older movies. There are so many classics I’ve yet to see, plus masterpieces I want to rewatch. The ten-year rule is kind of arbitrary, but a decade is a good benchmark to judge a film outside of its original context. You can see how it stacks up in history and if it stands the test of time. Again, this is a somewhat random list, based on the movies (at least ten years old) that I happened to watch (or re-watch) this past year. Continue reading →