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I've Seen 898 Movies in 16 Years

Since November of 1996 I have kept a written log of films I've seen in theaters. It's something I've shared with a close few since a) it makes me look like a completely anal retentive film geek and b) it makes me look like a completely anal retentive film geek.

As I write this, I have seen 898 movies. I know what you're thinking: that's a crapload of popcorn. To which I reply: I've also enjoyed many a bag of Skittles.

If you're wondering, my 898th film was Les Miserables. On Saturday afternoon I attended a guild screening of the epic musical at the Mann Chinese 6 in Hollywood (another item to add to my What I'm Thankful For List: industry friends in unions). When the movie's Oscar-winning director, Tom Hooper, introduced the film, he thanked his cast, crew, and friends, one of whom was sitting in the row in front of me -- Helen Mirren. Needless to say, the audience turned their heads in awe and ogled the Academy Award-winning GILF who was sitting with her husband, Taylor Hackford, the president of the Directors Guild of America. After another minute of thanks and gratitude, the film began. And it was brilliant (it's going in my top 10 of 2012).

Like I said, my movie log only consists of films I've seen in theaters, and this includes regularly paid admissions, premieres, reissued films, repeat viewings, and private (free) press screenings. The number per year has steadily increased since I've become both a film reviewer for several websites and magazines and a press badge holder for a couple of film festivals over the years. 2011 was a record-breaking year for me; I saw 82 flicks from January to December, 47 of which I had seen for free.

FYI: 2012 is coming close to breaking that record (the proof is in my collection of ticket stubs).

And if you look closely at the top image, you'll see symbols I've written next to some movie titles. Half of these are now irrelevant. The only ones I continue to use are dashes (to represent movies I've seen by myself), small squares (for free special screenings), and check marks (favorites). Yes, I'm that particular.

That said, let's take a trip down movie memory lane...

July 22, 1997 - Face-Off: I saw this with my mom somewhere in Connecticut as we made our way back to New York after touring colleges in Boston.

April 9, 1999 - Go: The film that introduced me to the godfather of electronica, BT, and the underground club culture of Los Angeles. I was obsessed with this movie at the turn of the 21st century.

April 14, 2001 - Bridget Jones's Diary: I saw this during a weekend trip to Brighton, England while studying abroad in London for a spring semester. It was the beginning of my nurturing the Anglophile inside me.

June 28, 2002 - The Bourne Identity: The first movie I saw as a resident of Los Angeles. I was homeless, jobless, and carless, but I sure enjoyed the hell out of seeing Matt Damon kick major ass.

Dec. 14, 2003 - Big Fish: I remember going to The Grove with several coworkers (back in my Carsey-Werner days) and balling my eyes out during the final scene when Billy Crudup carried Albert Finney to the river. Nine years later, it still turns me into a blubbering mess.

April 30, 2004 - Mean Girls: A memorable night out with friends after which we'd scream lines to each other like, "You can't sit with us!" and "You go Glen Coco!"

Aug. 18, 2006 - Snakes on a Plane: The movie that inspired my Halloween costume two months later.

Feb. 19, 2007 - Children of Men: When my father visited L.A., I took him to the Arclight to see this for a second time. I was blown away by the camerawork during Julianne Moore's death scene in the speeding car.

May 30, 2008 - Sex and the City: Opening night. With a group of 12. Smiles all around.

Dec. 13, 2009 - A Single Man: That score, that cinematography, and that performance by Colin Firth. Tragic and beautiful all at once.

June 10, 2011 - Super 8: That time I fell deeper in love with J.J. Abrams. His homage to E.T.The Goonies, and Close Encounters was everything and more I wished it could be.

Sept. 24, 2012 - Looper: When I realized how f**king awesome Joseph Gordon-Levitt is.

Nov. 24, 2012 - Les Miserables: When Anne Hathaway gave it her all during "I Dreamed a Dream," the entire theater erupted in applause. I hadn't experienced a reaction like that since Jennifer Hudson finished "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" in Dreamgirls six years earlier.

And the list shall go on...

@TheFirstEcho

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