News Miami Bureau Meet the man who is watching a thousand movies (includes audio story)

Meet the man who is watching a thousand movies (includes audio story)

Alex Sorondo sitting at his desk with the microphone he uses to record the Thousand Movie Project podcast. (Beatriz De La Portilla/SFMN).

In an apartment near Brickell right off of Calle Ocho, FIU alumnus and aspiring author Alex Sorondo dedicates his time to the Thousand Movie Project, his mission to watch 1,001 films and write essays on each one, which he publishes on his website.

“If you just watch all of these movies in chronological order- I think there’s about nine to 12 movies per year- you get a sense of world history; you see the fears of the culture and the hopes of the culture reflected in the movies,” he said.

Click below for an audio story.

Some DVDs from Sorondo’s collection. (Beatriz De La Portilla/SFMN).

Sorondo, age 27, is nearing the halfway mark of the 1,001 movies, and he expects to finish before 2021. He said he was inspired by a reader on Reddit to write a book.

A commenter said he would hate to watch all those movies, but would love to read a book by “the shithead who wrote it.”

“I could be that shithead,” Sorondo joked, clarifying that the project began as a experiment to prove he could write on deadline.

Sorondo has been following the list in the 12th edition of “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die” by Steven Jay Schneider. Schneider is a film critic and a producer for several films such as “Insidious,” “Glass” and “The Visit.” The essays Sorondo writes after each film vary in length, discussing the movie as well as often delving into more personal introspection.

He began the project in 2017 along with his blog, thousandmovieproject.com. He said the the greatest obstacles have been internal.

“The biggest challenge … I think the discipline, the ebbs and flows of my own interest in the project.” Sorondo said, noting he watched 40 movies in August but only one last month.

“The self motivation that’s required for a sprawling, enormous project- even if it’s something that you love. . . it’s difficult.”

Sorodo with a handful of DVDs. (Beatriz De La Portilla/SFMN).

Sorondo has been working on his steel of self-discipline as a writer. He says it’s done more for him than the opportunity to hone his skills, however.

“If I fail, I will have been so enriched by it. I will have learned so much. I will have made so many friends because of it- so there’s no way that I can call it a failure, even if I stop right now. There’s no way that I can call it a total failure, because it’s changed my life.”

Ten Movies to Watch

When reached for a list of his 10 favorite movies from the list, Sorondo demurred.

“Composing a list of my ten favorite movies is way too difficult,” he said. “Also, there are lots of movies that I love for personal reasons, but I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone. . . they speak to me in a weird personal way.”

A better list, Sorondo said, would be 10 movies that could serve as a sort of “crash course” for people interested in cinema but weren’t really sure where to start.

“So here are ten less-talked-about movies, from the first 500, that are all actually enjoyable and, if taken together, will make you more rounded and attractive,” he said.

  1. A NIGHT AT THE OPERA

https://thousandmovieproject.com/2017/12/11/90-a-night-at-the-opera-1935/

  1. 42nd STREET

https://thousandmovieproject.com/2017/08/31/70-42nd-street-1933/

  1. WINCHESTER 73

https://thousandmovieproject.com/2019/01/26/222-winchester-73-1950/

  1. SUNSET BOULEVARD

https://thousandmovieproject.com/2019/01/30/225-sunset-boulevard-1950/

  1. DOUBLE INDEMNITY

https://thousandmovieproject.com/2018/10/04/170-double-indemnity-1944/

  1. THE 400 BLOWS

(Has not yet reached this one.)

  1. DIABOLIQUE

https://thousandmovieproject.com/2019/08/20/265-diabolique-1955/

  1. PATHER PANCHALI

(Has not yet reached this one.)

  1. NIGHT AND FOG

(Has not yet reached this one.)

  1. THE SEVEN SAMURAI

https://thousandmovieproject.com/2019/09/07/271-the-seven-samurai-1954/

FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Sorondo was asked if he would write a book about the movies he had seen. Instead, he was inspired by a Reddit thread to do so.

Reporter

"Beatriz De la Portilla is a broadcast media major at Florida International University aspiring to one day produce documentaries or documentary series. She is currently the producer for "Real Talk", the podcast for FIU's Healthy Living Program."

Alexandra is a senior, graduating in Spring 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. She has been a part of internships such as the South Florida News Service and now the South Florida Media Network where she has been able to publish articles. Upon graduation, she wants to venture out of Miami and be in New York to explore different avenues of journalism.