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Anna J

Top100 2010: IMAGE needs your help

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Anders   

It's obvious anyone that gives 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, LA DOLCE VITA, WITNESS, THE STRAIGHT STORY, SECRETS & LIES, and BAD LIEUTENANT all one-star on a spiritual scale has a different idea of what spiritual means than those of us who voted on the list. But perhaps it all comes back to what Stef (sorry, "Persona") says about the slippery nature of the term "spiritual". If everything is spiritual though, perhaps nothing is. I don't know. All I know is that I'm excited to vote once again on the new A&F Top 100.

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To toss something in from left field (possibly even foul territory) I wonder if instead of a list that is redone every few years, perhaps a better model is the Library of Congress's National Film Registry which names x films each year (with a given period of time before eligibility.)

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C'mon guys, let's not be too harsh on Joe. Maybe his opinion of some of the films on our list doesn't coincide with our own, but he's throwing us a large bone just by bringing some attention to the list - and during a time we're considering a new version. As has been noted, he admits to the list's merits when he states, "[T]he compilation does serve the primary purpose of such listmaking: to offer an abundance of material for debate. In that regard, the effort is a complete success." Isn't that at least our partial goal?

Indeed, some of the comments below his post show some good thoughts.

We all know lists can become divisive. And I don't think he critiques ours as harshly as we have lists by Pitchfork, Paste, Rolling Stone, etc. here.

For the record, in my opinion, while I'd probably rate Fearless with more than 1 spiritual star, I think it is kinda ho-hum standing next to some of the other films on our list. I just don't think it's that great of a film, and certainly not Weir's best. I haven't seen Secrets & Lies. That must be remedied...

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Yes, that must be remedied. Though I've certainly come across people who felt that Secrets & Lies might have made an okay play but wasn't very "cinematic". I disagree with them, but I can respect that point of view.

Fearless, I'm afraid to say, I can never think of without remembering how my friend Trent turned to me during the credits and said, "Well there's our trumped-up Hollywood spirituality for the week." (He then made that the opening line of his review.) A lot of people at the time certainly found it ho-hum, so I don't begrudge anyone having the same reaction today.

I personally love 2001: A Space Odyssey and I probably voted for it on at least one of our lists, but again, I can respect anyone who didn't find it very "spiritual". It all depends on what you mean by the word, and Kubrick was certainly more cerebral than anything else -- more concerned with the mind than the spirit, as it were.

And so on, and so on.

So there's certainly room for dialogue and debate around these issues. And Carter, if memory serves, said the list serves its purpose precisely insofar as it got him thinking and arguing. It's not like we have a "litmus test" for this list, wherein it absolutely must contain certain titles if it is to have any validity at all. By its very nature, the list is democratic and is thus bound to be somewhat idiosyncratic. So by all means, let the idiosyncracies thrive.

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MattPage   

So who is this guy? And why do we care that he criticizes a list we ourselves thought came up short?

Matt

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M. Leary   

Groundhog's Day is one of the huge ones that needs to be removed, although, I think it has, as this is the 2004 list. It must have been some kind of experiment in the making at that time.

I think Groundhog Day is on there because it was a staple of all that first round "let's write a book about films that have spiritual messages" Christian publishing. Like you, not sure why. (Even though I think it is hysterical.)

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M. Leary   
So by all means, let the idiosyncracies thrive.

Indeed, but which idiosyncracies? I would be thrilled to have someone come argue for the inclusion of something like Thirst or Tropical Malady, but there is a certain lack of cinema awareness involved with simply passing off something like Secrets and Lies and others on his list that make me wonder how this should work. That editorial is free to say whatever it wants about whatever film it wants to, but it calls into question how we go about making these sorts of canons. How democratic should the list be?

If it hadn't been as democratic as it had been in the past, we would have overlooked some of the worthwhile popular entries. But if we hadn't spent the time drilling down into the merits of more obscure entries, the list would not have had any kind of cultural legitimacy. As always, I am equivocating here.

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SDG   
Groundhog's Day is one of the huge ones that needs to be removed, although, I think it has, as this is the 2004 list. It must have been some kind of experiment in the making at that time.
I think Groundhog Day is on there because it was a staple of all that first round "let's write a book about films that have spiritual messages" Christian publishing. Like you, not sure why. (Even though I think it is hysterical.)

There is something very Zen about the film. I would love to find a Christian angle on it, but it just feels like a Buddhist film. Yet it is hysterical. (The groundhog is not Jesus.)

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