I used to be very anal-retentive about finishing the movies I started. I can remember watching Felini’s La Strada over three different viewings all spaced about a week apart. This is not the best way to watch movies, and I should really go back and watch it again, but the point is that I almost never left a film uncompleted. That was old me. And by “old me,” I mean “pre-fatherhood” me, otherwise known as “increased-responsibility-due-to-being-in-charge-of-a-life” me. Somehow, finishing the movies I start doesn’t seem so important anymore, resulting in losing countless wonderful movie moments.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Oftentimes the impetus for watching a film beginning-to-end wasn’t about the enriching experience, but an obsessive-compulsive need to complete it, or the desire to be able to tell people that, yes, I have seen La Strada. Allowing myself to not finish a film, and to know that I probably never will, has largely been about giving up control. Having said that, I want to memorialize those movies that started strong but died before they were able to finish telling their stories. Below is a list of films that I recently began viewing but never finished (with commentary).
1. Faust (1926) Dir. F.W. Murnau
2. To the Wonder (2012) Dir. Terrence Malick
- These first two hurt the most, as Murnau and Malick are two of my favorite film-makers. I seriously loved Faust and so much want to finish it.
3. The Host (2006) Dir. Bong Joon-ho
- This is the 2006 Korean monster movie that is the most successful film in Korea’s history and which almost single-handedly ushered in the Korean New Wave, not the Twilight-in-the-future movie from this year.
4. Ploy (2007) Dir. Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
5. Sherlock Jr. (1924) Dir. Buster Keaton
- I have seen this movie several times, but the fact that I couldn’t finish my most recent viewing of this half-hour joy ride was a little sobering.
6. Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956)
7. Existenz (1999) Dir. David Cronenberg
- I watched this long enough to see the undulating vagina game pads. That’s Cronenberg for you.
8. Antiviral (2012) Dir. Brandon Cronenberg
- I have seen most of Cronenberg Sr.’s movies, but couldn’t get through his son’s first.
9. Man Bites Dog (1992) Dir. Remy Belvaux
- I couldn’t finish this movie because it was just too unsettling. As I have mentioned before, my fortitude for violence has weakened since parenthood.
10. Daisies (1966) Dir. Vera Chytilova
What are the movies that you started but never finished? And if you have seen one of these movies to its completion, feel free to discuss at your leisure!