Steven Soderbergh Posts a List of Everything He Watched and Read in 2009

Steven_Soderbergh_at_the_66th_Mostra

Following his retirement from filmmaking earlier this year, Steven Soderbergh has filled his time with some interesting endeavors. He tweeted an entire novella, and now he has posted a log of all the films and television shows he watched, and all the books and plays he read, in 2009.

As you will see in the log (below), Soderbergh spent much of that year in preparation for the scheduled June shoot of his adaptation of Michael Lewis’s book Moneyball, which was abruptly shut down only days before shooting was to begin, due to disagreements over revisions to Steven Zaillian’s screenplay. Soderbergh read the book for the second, third, and fourth time, as well as much of the work of baseball statistician Bill James, including every abstract James published from 1977 to 1988.

The remainder of his 2009 reading is a mix of non-fiction (Mark Harris’s Pictures at a Revolution to Mark Helprin’s Digital Barbarism: A Writer’s Manifesto) and works of fiction by Nicholson Baker, Donald Barthelme, and Thomas Pynchon.

More interesting is his film and television log, which alternates between current Hollywood and indie releases and classic Hollywood titles. The list should be no surprise coming from a filmmaker repeatedly called a stylistic chameleon. Should we be surprised he follows a Ken Russell phase with The Lone Ranger? Or that he’s just like us and binge-watches Breaking Bad?

The log also sheds light on the post-production process of two of his films released in 2009, The Girlfriend Experience and The Informant, the former viewed three times, the latter four. Was his repeated viewing of Being There inspiration? Or is it simply one of his favorite films?

This is not the first time Soderbergh revealed his viewing log. In 2011, he gave Studio 360’s Kurt Anderson his 2010 log, which included twenty viewings of his film Haywire and several Raiders of the Lost Ark, in black and white.

See the full 2009 list below.

SEEN, READ 2009

All caps: MOVIE
All caps, star: TV SERIES*
All caps, italics: BOOK
Quotation marks: "Play"

1/1/09 VALKRYIE, THE GODFATHER

1/4/09 REMAINDER, Tom McCarthy

1/7/09 BURN AFTER READING

1/10/09 MADE IN USA, STATE AND MAIN

1/13/09 BEING THERE

1/14/09 THE INFORMANT, THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE

1/15/09 ARSENALS OF FOLLY, Richard Rhodes

1/24/09 THE GRAND, JAWS

1/25/09 THE HOT ROCK

1/27/09 SOLITARY MAN

1/30/09 THE APARTMENT, MONEYBALL (2) Michael Lewis

2/3/09 THE INFORMANT

2/6/09 "The Removalists"

2/7/09 "The War of the Roses, Part One", THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE

2/8/09 THINGS I DIDN'T KNOW, Robert Hughes, FIVE EASY PIECES

2/9/09 SOLITARY MAN

2/11/09 MONEYBALL (3)

2/11/09 "The Talking Cure", Christopher Hampton

2/14/09 HISTORICAL BASEBALL ABSTRACT, Bill James. CORALINE, W., REBECCA.

2/15/09 FROZEN RIVER, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO COOPERSTOWN, Bill James.

2/18/09 BEING THERE

2/20/09 THE OSCAR

2/21/09 PANIC ROOM, THE PARALLAX VIEW

2/22/09 THE BRIDE WORE BLACK

2/23/09 1977, '78, '79 BASEBALL ABSTRACT, Bill James.

2/23/09 1980 BASEBALL ABSTRACT, Bill James.

2/26/09 1981 BASEBALL ABSTRACT, Bill James.

2/26/09 PICTURES AT A REVOLUTION, Mark Harris.

2/27/09 REDS (part one)

2/25/09 thru 2/29/09 1982, '83, '84, '85 BASEBALL ABSTRACT, Bill James.

3/01/09 1986, '87, '88 BASEBALL ABSTRACT, Bill James.

3/02/09 EUROPA

3/04/09 FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT

3/06/09 THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH

3/07/09 ELECTION, THE VERDICT

3/08/09 NO WAY OUT

3/09/09 MONEYBALL (4), Michael Lewis

3/10/09 THE INFORMANT, THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS, THE INFORMANT

3/12/09 BREAKING BAD* (pilot)

3/15/09 BREAKING BAD* (2 episodes)

3/16/09 BREAKING BAD* (2 episodes)

3/17/09 BREAKING BAD* (2 episodes)

3/18/09 IL DIVO, MISSISSIPPI MERMAID

3/19/09 THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR ('68)

3/20/09 DUPLICITY, GOMORRAH

3/21/09 APPETITE FOR SELF-DESTRUCTION, Steve Knopper

3/22/09 GATTACA

3/26/09 THE CENTER CANNOT HOLD, Elyn Saks, BREAKING BAD* (1 episode)

3/27/09 AGATHA, MADEMOISELLE, BREAKING BAD* (2 episodes)

3/29/09 WAS CLARA SCHUMANN A FAG HAG?, David Watkin, POINT BLANK, BREAKING BAD* (2 episodes)

3/30/09 LET THE RIGHT ONE IN

3/31/09 FORBIDDEN PLANET

4/02/09 THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE, SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS

4/05/09 BREAKING BAD* (1 episode), NEXT STOP GREENWICH VILLAGE

4/06/09 AMERICAN GRAFFITI

4/10/09 HOUSE OF GAMES

4/11/09 CARNAL KNOWLEDGE

4/12/09 BREAKING BAD* (1 episode)

4/15/09 ANIMAL SPIRITS; HOW HUMAN PSYCHOLOGY DRIVES THE ECONOMY, AND WHY IT MATTERS FOR GLOBAL CAPITALISM, George A. Akerlof & Robert Shiller

4/17/09 ROCKNROLLA

4/18/09 SEXY BEAST

4/19/09 THE FORTUNE, THIS IS WATER, David Foster Wallace, BREAKING BAD* (1 episode)

4/21/09 GOLDFINGER

4/23/09 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY

4/24/09 BREAKING BAD* (1 episode)

5/01/09 THE RACE CARD, Richard Thompson Ford

5/02/09 WHERE THE DEAD LAY, David Levien, CONVERSATIONS WITH MARLON BRANDO, Lawrence Grobel.

5/03/09 STRAW; FINDING MY WAY, Darryl Strawberry, BREAKING BAD* (1 episode)

5/06/08 THE RIDICULOUS RACE, Steve Hely & Vali Chandrasekaran.

5/08/09 CONVERSATIONS WITH ROBERT EVANS, Lawrence Grobel

5/09/09 SHAMPOO, THE FRENCH LIEUTTENANT'S WOMAN

5/11/09 COLUMBINE, Dave Cullen

5/14/09 BREAKING BAD* (1 episode), JAWS

5/16/09 THE BROTHERS BLOOM

5/18/09 BREAKING BAD* (1 episode), TAKEN, ERASERHEAD

5/20/09 40 STORIES, Donald Barthelme

5/24/09 DIGITAL BARBARISM, Mark Helprin, BREAKING BAD* (1 episode), TRANSSIBERIAN

5/31/09 THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR, DRAG ME TO HELL, BREAKING BAD* (1 episode)

6/02/09 THE CULT OF THE AMATEUR, Andrew Keen

6/04/09 3 NIGHTS IN AUGUST, Buzz Bissinger

6/06/09 THE HANGOVER, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE

6/21/09 MOON

6/23/09 THE FORTUNE COOKIE

6/26/09 THE HURT LOCKER, BARRY LYNDON

6/27/09 THE GRADUATE

6/28/09 BEING THERE

6/29/09 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY

7/01/09 SUNSET BOULEVARD

7/02/09 CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND

7/03/09 PUBLIC ENEMIES

7/04/09 THE KILLING OF SISTER GEORGE

7/07/09 TWO LOVERS

7/08/09 THE EMPEROR'S NAKED ARMY MARCHES ON, THE FAILURE, James Greer.

7/09/09 HUMAN SMOKE, Nicholson Baker

7/10/09 SLAP SHOT

7/11/09 BRUNO

7/12/09 THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, PERSONA, THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE ('68), ELGAR*, THE DEBUSSY FILM*, PYGMY, Chuck Palahniuk

7/14/09 ALWAYS ON SUNDAY*, ISADORA: THE BIGGEST DANCER IN THE WORLD*

7/15/09 DANTE'S INFERNO*, ALTERED STATES

7/16/09 THE LONE RANGER

7/17/09 THE LONE RANGER AND THE CITY OF LOST GOLD

7/18/09 GET SHORTY

7/26/09 ORPHAN, REPULSION

7/27/09 THE HOSPITAL

7/30/09 THE COLLECTOR ('65)

7/31/09 ZODIAC, SONG OF SUMMER*, MUSICOPHILIA, Oliver Sacks

8/01/09 A PERFECT MURDER

8/02/09 VOX, NIcholson Baker, CACHE

8/03/09 ADVISE AND CONSENT

8/05/09 THE LONG GOODBYE

8/06/09 THE RED SHOES

8/08/09 INHERENT VICE, Thomas Pynchon, UNMAN, WITTERING, AND ZIGO, ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE, THE ASCENT OF MONEY*, THE SHINING

8/13/09 THIEVES LIKE US, REDS (part two)

8/15/09 CHINATOWN, CITIZEN RUTH

8/16/09 DISTRICT 9, MADE MEN* (1 episode)

Justin Alvarez is the digital director of The Paris Review. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Guernica, and Flatmancrooked’s Slim Volume of Contemporary Poetics. Follow him at @Alvarez_Justin.

The Normandy Invasion Captured on 16 mm Kodachrome Film (1944)

The Normandy Invasion, otherwise known as "Operation Overlord," was launched by the Allies on June 6, 1944. On that day -- D-Day -- American, British and Canadian troops landed on five separate beachheads in Normandy, on the western shores of France. By the end of August 1944, the Allies had liberated all of northern France and started marching towards Nazi Germany.

At the time, the filmmaker George Stevens (1904-1975) was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army's Signal Corps. Dwight D. Eisenhower, tasked with planning and carrying out the Allied invasion of Normandy, wanted film crews present at the invasion to provide footage for a documentary film. Stevens took charge of the Special Motion Pictures Unit and gathered a group of cameramen and writers dubbed the "Stevens Irregulars". They used the standard Army motion picture stock, 35 mm black and white newsreel film. But they also brought along a hand-held camera and some 16 mm Kodachrome color film. Stevens shot several hours' worth of color footage from France, Belgium and Germany. The scenes from the liberation of Dachau concentration camp are particularly shocking and left their mark on the lives of the cameramen. In 1994, Stevens' son used this film footage to assemble the documentary George Stevens: D-Day to Berlin.

Bonus material:

By profession, Matthias Rascher teaches English and History at a High School in northern Bavaria, Germany. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twitter.

Miranda July Teaches You How to Avoid Procrastination

I've always thought of writer, actor and filmmaker Miranda July as someone who creates her own opportunities. Long before her stories in The New Yorker, and before Me and You and Everyone We Know, the award-winning first feature that cemented her indie darling status, she was circulating video chain letters featuring her own work and that of other young, female filmmakers. She recorded LPs and toured original performance art pieces.

What a relief to find out she's a procrastinator, too.

July insists that her chattering monkey mind nearly deprived her of the concentration necessary to finish writing The Future, her second full-length film. One of its most compelling parts actually wound up on the cutting room floor. In it (above), we see Sophie, the under-employed would-be dancer played by July, coming to grips with her own self-sabotaging tendency toward procrastination.

Of course, the reason we're able to see it at all is that July, whose industriousness surely has earned her the right to spend a decade or so doing nothing but watching YouTube and Googling her own name, repurposed it as a short, instructional film (A Handy Tip for the Easily Distracted), which offers an antidote for those of us who share her affliction.

(Admit it. You're procrastinating now, aren't you?)

In addition to the soundness of her advice, her methodology is endearingly low-tech. As one who's been known to attribute a lack of creative output to a less than ideal workspace, I found the cluttered, shabby apartment set both familiar and galvanizing. If we're going to make excuses, we may as well own them. July takes yet another step by harnessing them and forcing them to work for her.

Related Content:

Life-Affirming Talks by Cultural Mavericks (Including Miranda July) Presented at The School of Life

Ayun Halliday is the author of any number of books including The Zinester's Guide to NYC and No Touch Monkey! And Other Travel Lessons Learned Too Late.

Hollywood by Helicopter, 1958

"This movie is going to be pretty obvious." That's not the best way to get the viewer's attention. And the rest of the script, read by Bob Crane, is not much better: "Hey Kitty, look ... Kitty, you didn't look hard enough ... See the thing that looks like a building? That's a building!" Nor is the premise of the film very good: Kitty is a novice actress, and, before appearing in her first movie, she gets an aerial tour of Hollywood and its landmarks.

But from a historical perspective, this 1950s footage of the Los Angeles movie industry has its intriguing moments. It's particularly interesting to see how much space there still was around some of the studios and movie theaters. Just compare the image of Grauman's Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard taken from the film with a Google Earth shot from today:

By profession, Matthias Rascher teaches English and History at a High School in northern Bavaria, Germany. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twitter.

Name That Movie: 26 Films in One Animated Minute

Evan Seitz created this one-minute animation in which each letter of the alphabet represents a famous movie. How many can you name? The answers have been shared on Buzzfeed and The High Definite.

Don't miss our collection of 450 Free Movies Online, which includes many great classics, indies, documentaries, noir films and more.

By profession, Matthias Rascher teaches English and History at a High School in northern Bavaria, Germany. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twitter.

Duelity: Creationist and Darwinist Origin Stories Animated

Produced at the Vancouver Film School, this split-screen animation tells the story of Earth’ s origins from a creationist and Darwinist/evolutionist point of view. To make things more interesting (spoiler: stop reading now if you want to maintain the element of surprise), the scientific story is told using religious language, whereas the Biblical version is told as if it were the scientific one. The slightly confusing conclusion (its' a zinger) shows how the language we use to present ideas influences their perception. And the ironic use of infographics tops off this visual and linguistic experiment.

On the homepage of the project, you can watch the videos separately and download them. Also, the YouTube channel of Vancouver Film School is always worth a visit.

By profession, Matthias Rascher teaches English and History at a High School in northern Bavaria, Germany. In his free time he scours the web for good links and posts the best finds on Twitter.

The Mechanical Monsters: Seminal Superman Animated Film from 1941

In 1941, director Dave Fleischer and Paramount Pictures animators Steve Muffati and George Germanetti produced Superman: The Mechanical Monsters -- a big-budget animated adaptation of the popular Superman comics of that period, in which a mad scientist unleashes robots to rob banks and loot museums, and Superman, naturally, saves the day. It was one of seventeen films that raised the bar for theatrical shorts and are even considered by some to have given rise to the entire Anime genre.

More than a mere treat of vintage animation, the film captures the era's characteristic ambivalence in reconciling the need for progress with the fear of technology in a culture on the brink of incredible technological innovation. It was the dawn of the techno-paranoia that persisted through the 1970s, famously captured in the TV series Future Shock narrated by Orson Welles, and even through today. Take for example books like Nicholas Carr's The Shallows and Sherry Turkle's Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other.

Superman: The Mechanical Monsters is available for download on The Internet Archive, and Toonami Digital Arsenal has the complete series of all seventeen films. Find more vintage animation in Open Culture's collection of Free Movies Online.

Maria Popova is the founder and editor in chief of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of cross-disciplinary interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, The Atlantic and DesignObserver, and spends a great deal of time on Twitter.

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