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Woo to the hoo. We’ve reached the final letter of the alphabet. We watched three films that began with Z.

  • Z (1969) This is a French film but it is set in Greece. Since I speak neither French nor Greek, my confusion was minimal. The story concerns violent political intrigue and is based on real events. I found it absolutely fascinating.
  • Zorba the Greek (1964) Another film set in Greece. (Strangely enough both these films feature the same Greek actress, playing a widow both times.) It’s pretty good, but as Xy says, “It’s not all that.”
  • Zelig (1983) Woody Allen’s mockumentary about a “human chameleon” is skillfully executed and a joy to watch from a purely technical standpoint, what with all the seamlessly interspersed authentic and fake newsreel footage and other goodies. The narrative can’t quite sustain the same level of inspired brilliance throughout, degenerating at some points into mere comedic amusement.

So there you have it. We started on this list of films back in 2004, when I compiled a list of films I’d always wanted to watch but never had. The list was drawn from a variety of critical sources, and some titles still aren’t available on DVD. I’ve added to the list whenever additional films came to my attention.

It’s taken three years to watch them all. We had some major interruptions along the way, what with Katrina hitting right in the middle of the letter O. Post-flood we’ve slowed way down, otherwise we might have finished a year earlier.

Viewing the films has been enjoyable. Writing about the films in this venue, on the other hand, has come to seem like a monumentally silly task. I started these reviews before the disaster. Now they seem frivolous. There are so many more pressing things to write about. I’ve completed the reviews either because I value follow-through or because I’m obsessive — your call. I like to finish whatever I start, even if it is foolish.

Plenty of friends have chuckled over the notion of our alphabetical list, but actually it’s proven to be pretty good means of ordering our viewing programme. It mixes things up nicely and doesn’t require much mental effort. I’ve considered other schemes (chronological, by director, by actor, by genre) but have concluded that alphabetical is my favorite. Xy even likes it, and of course buy-in from your viewing partner is critical.

And now that we’ve finished the alphabet, we need never watch a film again. We’re done with movies forever!

Just kidding. It seems there is no end to the interesting titles out there, and I’ve continued to add to our Netflix queue, so we’re already making a second pass through the alphabet. The difference is that, as a rule, I won’t be writing about it here.

Published inFilm & Video


  1. rcs rcs

    Well done! I’ve always wanted to do something similar, but along the lines of: all best-picture Oscar winners in sequence, followed by best actor, actress, etc. I’d have to sit through “Braveheart” and “Dances With Wolves” (‘ta-tonk… ta-tonk… TA-TONKAAAAA!’) again but I think overall it’d be worth it.

  2. Frank S. Frank S.

    Too cool that you made it all the way. I am TOO easily distracted to focus on just this scheme & would drop it is some time around, let say, “Aa.” LoL

  3. Mark Folse Mark Folse

    Probablu just as silly, but from the first time I’ve read these posts I’ve been thinking about Z (as its the only alphabeticlly named movie I can think of) and wondering if it was on your missed list. Now, at long last, I know.

  4. […] I’d always wanted to see. I reviewed them all on my blog. When we finally finished the list three years later, we started all over again with another alphabetical list, which took us a mere thirteen months to […]

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