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About kenmorefield

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  • Interests
    Disc Golf, Cards (especially Euchre), Literary Criticism,

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  • Occupation
    Professor of English
  • About my avatar
    1More Film Blog
  • Favorite movies
    The Godfather, Persepolis, The Man Who Planted Trees, Emma, A Man Escaped
  • Favorite music
    I dunno. My Ipod did once randomize a Meatloaf song and an Amy Grant song back to back.
  • Favorite creative writing
    * George MacDonald * Lord of the Rings (but not the dreadful movies) * Riddley Walker * Wicked * Dune * Emma (anything Austen, really) * The Remains of the Day * Nero Wolfe * Billy Budd Tom Jones (but not the dreadful movie). D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
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  1. Good discussion for which I am thankful. Could someone summarize where we are in this thread? I've been on the road for a week or so, so I'm not entirely clear on who has volunteered for what and what needs to be settled before we start, assuming March 1 is a start date.
  2. Most of the Top 25s (results/blurbs/intro) were published at Image, but I don't know about the Top 100. The results of the Top 100 in intro for 2011 were actually directed to essay SDG did at First Things. (I don't recall if Image was already in charge of site by then.) My recollection, which could be faulty is prior to Image ownership, individual A&F members would go tho their own blogs and outlets and once Image owned the site, we had a pattern of discussion here/results at Good Letters (Image Blog). Of course, I don't know if by "promoting" Christian means something more/other than just publishing the list. There may have been some early stuff at CT when Jeff was there and Mark was editing, but CT did a lot more news/discussion of stuff at other places back then. If I/we do a book, there would obviously be some minimal promotion of the results at Cambridge Scholars Website and (more importantly for me) during the Call For Papers that would let people on their communication chain know the Top 100 process has begun and give them time to participate in it/be aware of it rather than just saying, "Here's a completed list, does anyone want to contribute a paper about it..."
  3. I can see sides of it depending on how many voters we have. I think if people understand the voting, they may cluster differently, i.e. only give a handful of 5s for the very best to differentiate them from others. While some voters may be more liberal with 5s and thus promote films of more liberal (vs. more stingy) raters. I could see an argument for maybe doing one vote and then a second ballot to rank the Top 10 (or Top 20). I would be more likely to err on side of giving the higher of two scores I was on the fence about if I knew I could distinguish between two 5s some way later. If it was only one vote my scores would probably be, unconsciously, a bell curve. Regarding Darren's question, mostly what Joel said. I've understood two stages/notions of A&F lists. Earlier ones seemed to want an amorphous but nevertheless real *spiritual* component of the film or content in the film.. I noticed that at some point while I was in the wilderness (particularly with the Top 25s) we seemed to have dropped the "Spiritually Significant" and conceptualized lists as an "Arts & Faith" list, meaning not so much about "art" or "faith" but a reflection of the people in this forum. (Though the original conception may still have been a part of it for participants.) For me, "spiritually significant" is important, but I don't want to impose my conceptions unilaterally. There have been a couple of films that I've found *spiritually* significant but have been unpersuasive about inclusion. (The Godfather springs to mind.) Similarly there have been films that have been rated highly throughout the years that I have not found particularly spiritually significant -- pretty much anything Wes Anderson jumps to mind. I don't know that the answer is to craft a *definition* that includes the films I want and pushes people away from the films I don't, but I do think having *some* sort of language beyond just a "the list of this web site which you would know what that meant if you were at this web site" is important. Because I think the real value of these lists to this web site is the discussion it prompts from people revealing their own understandings of art and spirituality by nominating them. That's admittedly insular and inward directed. I'm not saying the film can't or won't be of value to anyone outside of A&F, just that I've never conceptualized them that way -- that is, not as something to gain us attention or impact culture outside of us. Even if a film I nominate and my discussion doesn't carry the day, I am better off for having articulated my thoughts and felt pleasure discussing it among friends. Again, I'm not saying that's the "right" answer. I think at times some have thought of these lists as more missional -- something we give to the outside world. To the extent that was ever true (and I'm skeptical), I think it was limited to when we were larger and, perhaps, attached to other projects or had members or leaders who wanted this *site* to be more that way and, perhaps, saw the lists as a means to that end. Not saying that is wrong, nor would I be unhappy if it became that (again?). But in this like with education or business or churches I do have a mindset of not wanting to prioritize the people who aren't here (i.e.the one's'that could be recruited) over the people who (for whatever reason) are here. Sorry if that's a little scattered...I'm preoccupied for a couple days an will be distracted until next week...trying to keep an eye on these discussions thought.
  4. kenmorefield


    It's almost a cliche to say "Ebert," but truth is in reading him (rather than just watching on TV) I realized it was okay to use the movie, particularly if it was unexceptional, as a hook to write about something else. So I would say he was definitely an influence in my developing an approach that is (I hope) informed by formal analysis but leans more heavily on cultural criticism or Reader-response. It's worth pointing out, though, that that approach isn't for everyone. (My wife once archly asked me about a review I was writing, "Is this one where you actually talk about the movie?") So it's important to me, if I allow myself to be influenced or suggest other things for aspiring writers to read, that it is understood that no one approach or style is "right." You are very kind. Doug has a humility and openness (inclusive/welcoming) that I admire greatly and have tried to emulate, but which is hard to adopt. (For him, it's an expression of his personality.) I'm interested to see how, if at all, graduate school influences that. ( I was super-pleased when he did his presentation on phenomenology and the Dardennes that he was able to take a complex philosophical idea and make it and its application comprehensible to newer/younger students. Plus he is incredibly well read and well viewed, but I never feel like he is showboating or lording it over me.
  5. I have no objection to a poll but am skeptical as to its necessity given low traffic these days. For example, the 2019 Theme Vote for Top 25 had 14 responses. Its possible that a Top 100 might pull in some more people or lurkers, but these preliminary discussions are also a way of having input.
  6. They were apparently ineligible last time I voted, but things might have evolved and changes over time.
  7. Agreed. Plus that opens up a bit more room for documentary which has always sort of operated under a different distribution model.
  8. Oh, I've railed against The Dekalog's inclusion in the past, not because it isn't great (or spiritually significant) but because it was so obviously a television miniseries and there seemed something capricious and arbitrary about making an exception just for its sake. (But I *might* have overstated those objections because the last Top 100 I did got all the way to the final list before Admin realized "The Man Who Planted Trees" was 30 minutes long, deemed it a "short," and cut it. ) Really, though...time has only made this more complicated given the development of distribution models, but Darren has articulated my general thoughts quite succinctly. (With the possible exception that some of the 7 Up films were made for television, but since I am also a proponent of nominating individual films in a series rather than the series, I don't know that that would be an issue.)
  9. In moving this to new format and thinking about a possible book essay, I've been wondering a bit what to make of the facts that -- The father/daughter relationship is much more represented, I think, than the father/son relationship. --That more of the films about being *elderly* are male (or couples) centric, and more of the films about being middle-aged are perhaps female centric. I suspect hte latter has to do with the ways in which we conceptualize a man's life around employment and a women's around domestic issues, but I am not sure how to shape that into a thesis about what makes these films *spiritually* significant except maybe that are conceptions of spirtuality are more informed by gender roles than we would like to think. Any thoughts?
  10. Perhaps Joel and Ethan could huddle together, PM, and make a preliminary proposal/discussion for -- When dates transition from noms to voting and voting to blurbs. -- Mechanics of nominations. (Are all previous Top 100s automatically nominated? Are there limits to number of nominations someone can make? Does a film need to be seconded? Thirded?) Some of these might change from previous years based on number of participants. --Voting structure. I haven't participated in a Top 100 since 2006 or 7 maybe? Anyway, at time a big turn off for me was the *weighting* of votes to privilege those who had participated more actively at A&F. Like Brian mentions above, it would be great if project included new people, but it would be hard for me to say with a straight face to someone who has not participated at A&F before, "We really want you to be a part of this project, so much so that we are willing to offer you half a vote!" That said, I seem to remember one Top 100 where the admin e-mailed a bunch of people to try to get them to participate and that resulted in questions about whether or not the resulting list actually was an *A&F* list, that is reflected the views of people who used this web site. If the EJ or critics groups have taught me anything, it's that the more people there are the more the lists tend to all look the same. If we have 10-15 people voting on a Top 100, our Top 100 may look markedly different from past iterations. I'm okay with that, but there is something to be said for not being *too* abrupt in our changes. --We'll need to resolve the *series* questions (Three Colors, Up Series, Before series) and determine whether people can nominate series or just individual movies. Also the TV/movie/outlet question. (You all know my position on the Dekalog, but I sense I may lose that argument...) Maybe we do a top 25 one year for television....but are made for TV movies eligible? Netflix or Amazon prime movies that got only limited theatrical distribution to awards qualify? Case by case basis?
  11. How would people feel about opening nominations March 1 and posting results May 1? (I'm flexible as to where we transition from nominations to voting and voting to soliciting blurbs?) Also, assuming there will be *some* carry over from previous lists, is it typical to solicit new blurbs for every film or to reuse old blurbs for the films that are carried over?
  12. Possibly, though I'm inclined to be as minimalist as possible here since the format won't always be the same. But a link directly under title can direct readers to a discussion thread or a post where introductory comments are made.
  13. Yes. That is what we have now with sample, though I noticed on my phone that the text doesn't necessarily show up as a link, so it may be worth writing out the URL. I think one or two lines doesn't push the beginning of the list off the bottom of the screen so that you have to scroll down to see that it is a list.
  14. My point is, I don't know how to take the comment, facetious or otherwise. Is he poking fun at Mendes? Praising him? Making a joke about how people are obsessing about the single-shot conceit? Because, in answer to Joel's question above, I think this has something to do with 1917's status in the awards race.
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