I blame Ed.
Some - most notably Ed - would say this is unfair. Ed tried to talk me out of it. I should really be blaming anyone other than Ed. The work colleague who gave me the idea. The bar full of strangers who egged me on. Or maybe just my own addictive personality.
All the same, I blame Ed.
Over Christmas I was struck by one statistic: there are fifty-two weeks in a year. There are fifty states in America. fifty-one if you count the District of Columbia. Would it be possible to organise a cinematic road trip around the US, learning about the different states purely from the films that have been set in them? Take a film set in, say, California and find out something about California without actually going there? The criticism, of course, is that there is more than one facet to each state. Would I be able to find a movie that captures many different aspects of California - the glamour of Hollywood, the grime of noir, the surfers on the beach, the streetcars of San Fran, the gold rush, the gang culture? And if not, then how many would it take?
The challenge I have thus set myself is as follows: to find, watch and review three films per state, hopefully within a week. I shall take the weeks alphabetically, include DC, and add on the concept of The Great American Road Movie at the end to make 52 weeks of work. There will have to be a bit of flex - I'm away for three weeks in February/March. But I have committed to - if I can find them - eatch 156 films over the course of 2012.
As for the film choices, I aim to cover classic territory. There are a lot of great movies out there I have not seen, and this is the year to increase my knowledge. Where possible I'd like to steer clear of films I have seen before - and I will certainly steer clear of films I have seen before and didn't like much! And I would like to get a good range of films from each state. I'd ideally like to not have three films covering exactly the same aspect: classic cowboys and indians out West or segregation in the Deep South.
I have a Facebook group set up where friends are commenting on the choice of films and the challenge itself. Or comments can be left on this blog. But as much as possible I would like this to be an interactive exercise, where people can hop in the back of my (metaphorical) Pontiac and come along with me to the drive-thru, sharing their own thoughts and feelings about the films we watch en route.
So buckle up, and let's hit the road!