About This Blog

"Erudite and yet enormously entertaining, his approach is unique, systematic and a wonderful alternative to the hyped buzz surrounding current releases." — SF360

"Chock-full of fascinating information...and highly entertaining." — Alternative Film Guide

"Thom is methodically working his way through film history, writing a thoughtful, educational post about one film per year...if you're lucky like me, you can always say, 'Man, I used to read Thom back when it was 1909.' We call that film snobbery for the indie aesthetic." -- 100 Films.

This blog is updated every Sunday weekly.

Film of the Year will track changes in film over time. Every week I will watch one film released each year between 1895 and the current year in chronological order and then write about it. First week I'll watch one film from 1895. The next week I'll watch a film from 1896, and so on. That means that this blog project will take me a few years to complete.

What I'm Writing About
"Cinema is neither an art nor a technique, but a mystery." —Jean-Luc Godard
I'll consider at least five things when I screen a film. 1) How did the technology of filmmaking change, and what changes in the look, sound, feel, and nature of cinema result? 2) How do films made in the past look to us (me) now in the present? Am I able to look at them in the context of the present day or am I forced to consider them in the context in which they were made in order to fully appreciate them? 3) What issues of politics, culture, arts are apparent in each film and are how those issues address in film change over time? 4) What do films have to say about the human experience in the past and how has what theyve had to say about it change over time? I'll add any historical facts that I research about each film, and also write about my experience of watching the film. 5) How do some films function as history?

Why Am I Doing This Project?
I am doing this project because I have an intense interest in film as a medium of expression. I want to view the films of the past because I want to experience history through this ambitious medium, I want to learn about history, film history and filmmaking, and besides, watching and writing about films is a lot of fun.

Project Limitations
I am aware of some limiting factors of this project. First, one film from each year certainly cannot represent the entire scope of filmmaking that occured in that year. That is not what I expect each film to do. However, each film will be of their time; they will represent filmmaking in the year that they were released, though not everything about filmmaking in that year. That is, I expect to learn some sense of the time in which the film was made though certainly not everything. Second, films are intended (for the most part) to be viewed in a movie theater with an audience. The large size of the screen, the sound design of the room, the experience of watching with an audience are factors that influenced the way films are made. I will not be able to duplicate the intended exhibition experience. I have a small home theater with a large screen television, and a 6.1 sound system. I'll invite friends to screen the films with me whenever possible. Ill be watching the films on DVD not film (though I will watch in the intended aspect ratio whenever it is available on DVD). These conditions will alter my viewing experience from that of people watching the films when the were released. However, I am confident that the experience I have watching films of the past will be nonetheless meaningful even though I am not doing so under the intended exhibition conditions. Third, I'll be limited in my choice of films by distribution. Since I'll (mostly) use NetFlix subscription service to find and obtain each DVD my choices will be limited by that factor.

How Do I Choose Each Film to View?
Another issue is: how will I choose each film? As I wrote above, I do not intend for each film to represent the total filmmaking of each year. Therefore, I won't pick a films just because it was awarded an Academy Award for Best Picture. Nor will I choose films only because critics recommend them. However, I will not refuse to choose a film because either of the above conditions are met either. In other words, I grant myself complete freedom to screen any film I can acquire through the dvd service. Why? because its more fun!