Anyone who’s spoken with me at length will tell you that I love to talk about film. Even more, I love to talk about all the films I’m going to make some day.

Ideas come all the time. I take notes. Sometimes I even manage a rough outline or ragged first draft. My wife threatens to stuff her ears with baby corn if I keep prattling about the third season of my TV show, for which, after seven years, there is still no completed pilot script. Any day now, I tell her. For realsies.

Part of the problem, I think, is a lack of inspiration, stemming from a lack of film education. My cinematic knowledge is embarrassingly narrow. Film school isn’t an option; I work full-time, and I’m still paying off my student loans from my BA in academic uselessness. Self-education, then, is the only remedy.

To that end, I’ve compiled a list of 50 films to study in-depth. Some are classics. Some are personal favorites of mine. All have something to teach about the possibilities of cinema.

Over the next year, I’ll go through the list, exploring a film a week, and post my analyses here. How are their stories woven together? How does cinematography communicate story, character, mood? What makes the best films transcend mere entertainment and touch the soul? I hope that these musings will interest others who enjoy cinema, and want to learn the craft of film-making. Let’s explore the possibilities together.

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