Why I’m a dork, part 63: The List…


By Shawn Robare



There are a ton of reasons why I’m a nerd/dork/geek/what-the-fuck-ever, but if I had to pick one that exemplified this blog, it would probably have to be the word document file that I’ve been working on for the past four years that I call "the list."  What is on this list you probably aren’t asking?  Well I’ll tell you.  It’s a list of every film I’ve ever seen.  Not so dorky you say?  Well it’s also annotated.


Over the course of the past four years I’ve spent a good bit of my spare time reading over IMDB lists, complete video and DVD release guides, and any other list of films I could find to compile a list of everything I’ve ever seen, film-wise.  I was pretty proud of myself at first because this sprang out of boredom at work as I tried to think of some project that would take a long time, and when I decided to draw up the list, I figured that I’d never finish it.  I have seen quite a few movies, but the thing that I felt was going to be the biggest stumbling block was finding thorough lists of flicks.  See most of the lists and guides I was reading were either yearly best-of’s, or limited to what has been released either on video or DVD, and even then these weren’t exhaustive as they leaned toward more popular fare.  So between these, 6 million Google searches, and my collection of movie ticket stubs that I started collecting about 20 years ago I managed to put together a pretty exhaustive list.

Is anyone still reading this?  God bless your inexhaustive patience and limit for boredom if you are.  So were there any stipulations to what could and couldn’t find a home on the list?  There sure were.  First off, I had to feel like I remembered a decent amount of the plot in order for the flick to make it on the list.  If I remembered the title but couldn’t remember the plot, I nixed it.  Second, and this is the super stupid anal part of this list considering I’m the only person who will ever see it besides what ever estate lawyer lackey is forced to read through it upon my death, I had to feel like I watched the flick from beginning to end.  So anything that I’ve seen edited on TV didn’t make the list either.

So what are these annotations you probably aren’t asking about?  Well, once I finished the general list it didn’t seem quite as cool as I had hoped.  I did mention that I was a dork right?  So in order to make the list cooler than G. Gordon Liddy the night before the Watergate scandal broke, I decided to run through the list and mark each movie with some code.  First, each flick was marked to show who (out of my circle of friends and family) that I saw the flick with.  Then I marked it as to whether or not I saw it in the theater.  Then whether or not I owned it.  Then I figured I’d try and mark the approximate number of times I could remember watching it.  This list was really starting to take shape now.  I had to make a key for the various notations.  As a coupe de grace, I decided to highlight all the flicks that I wanted to own on DVD, and then whether or not they were available on DVD, so now the list was all colorful as well.

Outside of feeling like the biggest anal-list-retentive geek on the planet, I felt like all the time and effort I put into the this was well worth the, well, effort, if for nothing else, than for giving me fodder for other boredom relieving activities like "count the seconds".  Have you ever found yourself on the toilet with a calculator so bored that you decided to mathematically deduce the total number of seconds you’ve been alive, or the approximate number of breaths you’ve taken, or the possible number of times you’ve pooped in your life?  Liar, I saw you doing it.  Wil Wheaton has done it.  Well, he wasn’t on the toilet, but that’s neither here nor there.  Anyway, this list has a ton of statistics fodder for crap like this, from the approximate proportion of my life I’ve spent watching movies, to the ratio of films seen with each of my friends, and who I am more likely to see a flick with.  Last warning, I mentioned I was a dork, okay, so stop screaming at me.

One thing I’d like to do it to be able to compare this list to someone else’s like another movie buff that’s seen a ton of movies.  I mean, even though the list took four years to finish and refine, at the end of the day there are only 1950 films on it. Is that a lot?  Dunno.  Doesn’t look like a lot, but then it felt like a lot when I set out to make it.  I think I might need therapy…

  • Belle Dee

    I have a list too, but it’s in Excel instead of Word. It’s not as detailed as yours, though, just a list of movies I’ve seen that are at least 60 minutes long and that I’m pretty sure I’ve seen all the way through. I used some DVD/VHS guides to put it together, plus IMDB (very helpful with the TV movies that aren’t out on video), and since 2003 (when I started the list) I’ve written them down as I’ve seen them. I also purposely set up milestone numbers on my birthday, either by speeding up or slowing down my movie watching in the few weeks before my birthday to make it work. Therefore, I saw my 1000th movie on my 30th birthday two months ago. So, even though your list puts mine to shame, I was thrilled to see that someone else does this too!

  • Gilligan

    Me and two co-workers have spent basically every one hour lunch break watching movies since October 1998. Given that most movies are a little less than two hours, we’ve still managed to watch over a thousand movies during lunch breaks. The interesting (or sad, depending on your perspective) thing is that we too have put them into a totally worthless Excel spreadsheet with a symbol/rating system too embarrassing to reveal – its geekiness is nothing less than astonishing. You would think something this strange would be limited to one or two odd characters on the entire globe. Yet, it seems to be somewhat commonplace… maybe it’s a generational thing. Gen X slackers are prone to such pursuits. Still, I find it strangely interesting to look back at August 2004 and see we watched Phantasm, Slingblade, Prom Night, Old School, etc…