Monday, January 18, 2010

Prelude to a List

Grab your popcorn now, while you have the chance.

Movies -- certainly past my favorite 20 or so -- are harder to rank than albums. I’ve seen about 1,000 of them, according to the master list I drew up in preparation for this, though I know more than a few slipped through the cracks. And the vast majority of them I’ve seen only once. I’ve replayed plenty of albums that I consider only decent so many times that I’ve moved from Familiarity with them to Stultification. Movies, not so. I found while considering the candidates that several (including The Candidate) were largely lost to me, even though I remember enjoying and respecting them at the time. A small sampling of this category would include: The Accidental Tourist, All That Jazz, Amadeus, Apocalypse Now, Being John Malkovich, Brazil, Breaking Away, Citizen Kane, The Deer Hunter, Dr. Strangelove, The Man Who Would Be King, and The Seventh Seal. There were a very few in this category (not listed in the previous sentence) that I watched again, and they were moved decisively on to (or off of) the final list. But there are only so many hours in the day.

In addition, there are widely considered classics that I’ve yet to see at all: 2001, Lawrence of Arabia, The African Queen, It Happened One Night, etc., etc. Ten years from now, this list will look quite different, I’m sure. But hopefully I won't be a 46-year-old blogger ranking his favorite movies. This is bad enough, thank you.

What will follow over the next few weeks is an (obviously) unscientific ranking of 100 movies. My own biases were my top priority in making the list. There are several entries -- including several ranked quite high -- that I would never argue are among The Greatest 100 Movies Ever Made. At the same time, I tried to avoid guilty pleasures where I could and focus on pleasures I can defend with a straight face. Luckily, the list does have much more credibility than it would have 10 years ago, because -- thanks in equal parts to living in New York and the advent of Netflix -- I’ve deepened my movie education considerably since I was 26.

As I’ve said before, I’m hoping to have some fun, more specialized mini-lists to run concurrently with this feature -- some by me, several from guests. I have many friends who love movies, all of them with smart, distinctive tastes. I look forward to their contributions and -- I hope -- their lively comments on my posts. 100-96 will be up sometime in the coming hours...



Blogger Dezmond said...

You don't remember "Dr. Strangelove" and you've never seen "2001"? Need a Kubrick primer before embarking on this list!

6:27 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

Happy belated birthday, 36 year old man.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Dabi said...

Just wanted to drop you a note saying I'm thoroughly enjoying your list so far. Great films and favorite films are wholly different, and it's nice to see and read someone who knows the difference between the two.

You've inspired me to compile my own list of favorite films.

Thanks, and looking forward to the rest!

10:58 AM  

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