Okay, so that didn't exactly go as planned.
Waaaaaaay back on May 8th of last year, I wrote a piece called "The Basics: My Favorite Film, or Where The Conversation Begins." It was meant to be a spin-off from my ongoing series, "The Motion/Captured Must-See Project," and it began because of some criticisms that were leveled against another online writer. Here's what I wrote about the reasoning behind the column:
"... one of the reasons I have spent the last 14 years writing about movies online is because I think those of us who have this voracious appetite for movies, who have gone out of our way to mainline thousands and thousands of films, good and bad, big and small, mainstream and obscure... it's our obligation to pass on to others why we do that, what makes those films worth that sort of investment of time and energy, and to steer people to the things that we think are most essential. In a world where you have as many options as we do now for entertainment, where you can constantly swim in the new without ever looking backwards, it seems to me more essential than ever to communicate our enthusiasm for the greats, the films that we hold dear.
So I called Alex [Billington]. And instead of just lambasting him about what he hasn't seen, I suggested a different approach to this, one that acknowledges that there are probably far more people out there whose relationship to movies is like his than like mine. Or Devin's. Or Harry's. One of the reasons I've had this long friendship with some of these other film writers is because they speak the same language I do. They have the same vocabulary. If I reference a movie, they'll understand it, and they understand why I draw a comparison. And so if we're going to treat this... all of it... like a conversation, then we have to acknowledge that if we want people to take part in that conversation, we have to invite them in, not attack them for something they haven't experienced yet."
At that point, my idea was that I would reach out to Alex and suggest one film at a time to him that he hadn't seen, writing a column to explain why I felt like that film was essential, and then he would write a response column on his own site in which he could talk about his reaction to the movie. To start, I suggested he go see a 70MM screening of my favorite film, "Lawrence Of Arabia," and he agreed.
That was the last I ever heard from him about it.