The Bureaucratic Madness Of Film Watch Lists.

A few months ago, fellow Purple Camera writer Jacob wrote about his extremely strange rules for writing his top 20 films list. I thought it was bonkers. I, of course, am also obsessed with my top 100 film list but I don’t really have any rules. Instead I only ask myself ‘Does this make me look cool?’ …I mean I ask ‘Do I actually like it, or have I convinced myself I like it?’ Which generally works. It then occurred to me that although I have a kind of relaxed attitude to my top 100, I am unbelievably anal about my weird, multi-faceted watch List. The labyrinth complexity of which I will attempt to go through now.

So like you boring normies out there I used to have just one watch list. This however quickly got out of hand. I go on IMDb a lot and I was pretty much clicking ‘add to watch list’ on anything that was vaguely interesting to me. Quickly the list reached 500, then 1000. Currently the list stands at a staggering 2278 titles. This meant that filing through the whole thing, casually looking for something to watch took (literally) hours. At this point it is pretty much useless. Fellow Purp-Cam writer Ash despaired at the ridiculous number of titles on it; his watch list was kept at an orderly 100 titles and he didn’t add anything until he had watched something off it. This gave me an idea.

I would have a watch list- watch list! I went through the list one more time (hours of work) and picked the 100 films that I really wanted to see. I then watched them in order, this way I couldn’t get lazy and avoid watching 8 ½. For a while this worked pretty well. Until the film that came up was Inland Empire. This is a 4 hour long David Lynch movie and don’t get me wrong, I love Lynch but Jesus Christ. I only have so many hours in the day. I had about 3 false starts, kept getting about 75 minutes in and then dozed off. It was like a tranquilizer drug to me. I decided, just once, to get the list moving again I would veto watching Inland Empire. I’m very sorry Mr Lynch, I’ll watch it one day.

a shot from Inland Empire (Lynch, 2006)

Of course when I watched a film off the top of the list, I got the treat of adding a film to the bottom. Getting to program entertainment for myself about 8 months in advance is quite fun and one of the reasons why this method is really addictive. The only problem was I would just add random shit that I was thinking about at the time. (Hmm, I really want to see The Last Boy Scout, etc.) My solution: A separate short list of titles to look at before I add a film to the official top 100 watch List.

This meant that for a film to be watched by me the process now involves being added to the 2000 + title Watch List, somehow being picked out of that massive pile for the exclusive top 100 shortlist. Then be somehow favourable enough to be chosen against 131 other films I really want to see, then be added to the top 100 watch list to be watched eventually when I’ve finished watching the 99 other films in front of it. You can see how, when I have all of this set-up it annoys me so much when my girlfriend just casually suggest we watch Bad Teacher NO WOMAN, IT SKIPPED THE QUEUE, THE MULTIPLE QUEUES!

You might think this is bureaucratic madness. That in the time I took doing all my IMDb admin I could have watched all 2232 films anyway. You may be right, but the funny thing is, it does work. I am starting to watch films again and I am really enjoying them! Without this list most of the films would remain in the ‘Ah, I’ll get round to it’ category. So, yes, I urge you to indulge your Asperger’s side and put together your dream watch list. I promise it will be way more interesting than your shitty Netflix queue.

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Jordan Cochrane

Jordan is the co-creator of 'Purple Camera Media', 'Dyslexic Hearts' and 'My name is Dave'. He has written, directed and acted in various things, some of which have been good.

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Jordan Cochrane

Jordan is the co-creator of 'Purple Camera Media', 'Dyslexic Hearts' and 'My name is Dave'. He has written, directed and acted in various things, some of which have been good.

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