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26 Movies in 52 Weeks? Ha!

Oh, sure, it sounds impressive when the Earl posts about it. And then audience participation voting is a nice touch. But to me, it just sounds like a challenge.

For me, at least, it takes about 15 movies to make a good Smithee ballot. A typical Smithee show uses about 40 films, and there are 4 people submitting nominations, so figure that each Committee Member needs to submit about 10 movies. Figure also that you're going to watch some movies just that won't pan out. I tend to spend a lot of time trying to pick just the right movie, so 15 works for me. Since the Earl and Guru often watch movies together and need to come up with about 20 usable movies between them, obviously they watch a lot more total movies than I do. But I try for about 15 a year (I've gone as low as 11, but, as you might expect, my nominees didn't do very well that year).

I tend to back-load my movie watching into the two to three months before nominations are due. Even so, there's still enough time between watching my first film and preparing my ballot, that Movie #1 isn't exactly fresh in my mind. Plus, since I mostly watch rental movies, I need to clip them as I go, so as not to have to rent them twice. That means, the first movies I watch get clipped pretty extensively with lots of marginal clips getting included, since I have no idea what categories I'll have an abundance of and where I'll be desperate for any clips at all. By the end, on the other hand, I already have a fair idea of what my ballot's going to look like, and I triage as I watch, clipping only the ones I expect to actually use.

That all leads to a couple questions. Do the films that I watched earlier in the year get more nominations because I took more clips from them? Are the ones at the end slighted because I was rejecting things as I watched? When it comes to filling out my final ballot, do the clips that I watched later on get ranked higher because they're fresher in my mind? Or, conversely, am I giving better rankings to movies I watched earlier because I'm remembering those clips as funnier than they are? Do the effects cancel out? Do they exist at all? I do, of course, watch all the clips again before filling out my ballot. But does this make the clips I take from the later movies seem less funny because I'm seeing them twice in close succession?

Well, as it happens, this year I had an opportunity to try something different. Since the Earl is over three years ahead on his movie watching, at last year's Origins Smithees he gave me the Big Bag Of Movies—a collection of films that he had not yet watched and that probably wouldn't make it onto his ballot until well into the 2010s. With a large collection of films to choose from, this year presented a unique opportunity. What if I didn't clip anything until I'd watched everything? And what if there wasn't any time between when I watched the first movie and when I watched the last one?

As it happened, I started this year with one movie already watched—Humanoids of the Deep, watched many years ago but never clipped. And so that left us with 14 Movies in 9 Days.



This should be good. Are you going to blog about them as you go?

-Sean K.