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.
3/04/09 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
3/26/09 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
4/18/09 SEXY BEAST
4/19/09 THE FORTUNE, THIS IS WATER, David Foster Wallace, BREAKING BAD* (1 episode)
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
6/23/09 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
7/12/09 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.