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Greg Wolfe

Adding a Top 10 List?

52 posts in this topic

Horror would be good, but I'd probably abstain since I don't have a great appreciation of the genre.

I would hope, though, that you would nevertheless participate in the discussion. Part of the benefit in doing such a list would be to cultivate an appreciation for the genre, or rather, to decide what's worth appreciating in that genre. I'm interested in exploring the tension between what is a genuinely rich, compelling horror film and one that's really just an exercise in exploitation. Which horror films genuinely pull us into a conversation? That there are very many well-made horror films, in the sense that they're made with remarkable craft and effectively elicit a feeling of terror, cannot necessarily be argued. But even so, is REPULSION, a work of very fine craftsmanship, genuinely a film worth celebrating? What about PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK? It is perhaps easier to support those horror films that have clear, discernible moral cores; FRANKENSTEIN, for example, has at its center moral and philosophical questions that continue to resonate very loudly today, but there are many horror films that are murkier affairs that are more exercises in mood than with ideas. Can we, as a community of faith, claim those as valuable? What is the place of the nightmare in a Christian conception of art, if we can even say there is one?

Best Buddhist Films (I really want to find a place where we recognize Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter . . . and Spring.)

Quite intriguing, but I don't know that I've seen any films that I would genuinely qualify as "Buddhist" (I haven't seen SPRING, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER . . . AND SPRING).

Edited by Ryan H.

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I'm pretty interested in getting this thing going. I see Darrel's comment about not really knowing enough about it to "contribute," but you know if we take some time with this, than I wonder if some members who aren't really horror enthusiasts might find some discussions that would kindle an interest in a film or two on the list. Is there another step we need to take to make the discussion of a Top 10 Horror Films list "official"?

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Seems like a consensus for doing the Top 100 list in 2011 and every two years after that.

Should we get more nominations for Top 10/20/25 lists out before voting on which of those lists we like best?

Darrel had some new list possibilities that sounded interesting and I'm not sure we've tossed out enough possibilities yet.

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I think every year is too much. Even if I'm not that fond of the current edition, how much has changed (either in the films available or the makeup of the voters)? Any real change would probably come from tweaking the process.

Top 10's in some category could make a nice filler in the in between years.

wholeheartedly agree with the above.

List ideas:

I like the Horror idea.

And Children's films...in fact I think there was a thread about that a year or so ago and people got pretty into it.

I'd love to see Sci-Fi too.

Best (timeless) Political Films

Top Ten Films as Parables

Top Ten Directors (of spiritually significant film)

Best Documentaries

Top Ten Films about Marriage

Top Ten Films by Continent (especially Africa, Asia, South America)

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I like the Horror idea.

Cheers.

And Children's films...in fact I think there was a thread about that a year or so ago and people got pretty into it.

My only fear would be that Pixar would dominate. And that might not be a problem in other folks' eyes, but I don't think Pixar is God's gift to children's cinema, so it's a problem in my eyes. :P

I'd love to see Sci-Fi too.

Not a bad idea by any stretch. It would be interesting to see if we could get beyond the usual suspects and dig up some genuine gems. The sci-fi genre hasn't received the best treatment on film, but there are certainly some worthy ideas.

Best (timeless) Political Films

How would we define "political" films?

Top Ten Directors (of spiritually significant film)

Couldn't this just be extrapolated from the A&F 100?

Top Ten Films about Marriage

Oh, I really like this suggestion.

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And Children's films...in fact I think there was a thread about that a year or so ago and people got pretty into it.

My only fear would be that Pixar would dominate. And that might not be a problem in other folks' eyes, but I don't think Pixar is God's gift to children's cinema, so it's a problem in my eyes. :P

Pixar makes children's films?

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And Children's films...in fact I think there was a thread about that a year or so ago and people got pretty into it.

My only fear would be that Pixar would dominate. And that might not be a problem in other folks' eyes, but I don't think Pixar is God's gift to children's cinema, so it's a problem in my eyes. :P

Pixar makes children's films?

If I hadn't already used the tongue smiley, I'd use it again right now.

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And Children's films...in fact I think there was a thread about that a year or so ago and people got pretty into it.

My only fear would be that Pixar would dominate. And that might not be a problem in other folks' eyes, but I don't think Pixar is God's gift to children's cinema, so it's a problem in my eyes. :P

Making it a top 25 would add some balance. But even if it were just a top 10 we might be surprised. I'm sure Miyazaki would find his way on there and there are plenty of non-animated films to challenge Pixar. For example, The Red Balloon.

Best (timeless) Political Films

How would we define "political" films?

You're right, this one would probably get bogged down in debates about definition. I'm just brainstorming here, throwing out ideas.

Top Ten Directors (of spiritually significant film)

Couldn't this just be extrapolated from the A&F 100?

Yep, you're right. Not the best idea.

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Making it a top 25 would add some balance. But even if it were just a top 10 we might be surprised. I'm sure Miyazaki would find his way on there and there are plenty of non-animated films to challenge Pixar. For example, The Red Balloon.

True, true. It might even out.

I'm just brainstorming here, throwing out ideas.

Of course. And, as I said, I really like the "Best Films About Marriage" idea, which could go in many directions.

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Arts & Faith's making a number of official Top 10/25 lists on different important topics sounds fantastic.

If we do do this, in the spirit of C.S. Lewis, I'd suggest we make a Top 10 list of films on Sehnsucht.

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If we do do this, in the spirit of C.S. Lewis, I'd suggest we make a Top 10 list of films on Sehnsucht.

I second the motion.

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If we do do this, in the spirit of C.S. Lewis, I'd suggest we make a Top 10 list of films on Sehnsucht.

I daresay it would definitely suit the A&F community sensibilities.

Edited by Ryan H.

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Arts & Faith's making a number of official Top 10/25 lists on different important topics sounds fantastic.

If we do do this, in the spirit of C.S. Lewis, I'd suggest we make a Top 10 list of films on Sehnsucht.

I love this idea, but I think we already do it.

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Arts & Faith's making a number of official Top 10/25 lists on different important topics sounds fantastic.

If we do do this, in the spirit of C.S. Lewis, I'd suggest we make a Top 10 list of films on Sehnsucht.

I love this idea, but I think we already do it.

Are you saying that everything on the A+F Top 100 list is about Sehnsucht? If not, how do we already do it? If you're saying that the idea of Sehnsucht permeates most conversations around here, I'll agree but part of the benefit of list-making is the crystallization process that leaves something definite and concise for others to see.

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Are you saying that everything on the A+F Top 100 list is about Sehnsucht?

Yeah, that is what I'm saying. Certain films in particular, but most of the Top 20 (three or four of which I still need to see). I didn't look at your link and it's been years since I've used the word, but from what I remember it seems that this is a high qualifier that goes along with words like "mystery" and "spiritual." I like your word a lot better than "spiritual" though, in terms of how I think of the list.

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Are you saying that everything on the A+F Top 100 list is about Sehnsucht?

Yeah, that is what I'm saying. Certain films in particular, but most of the Top 20 (three or four of which I still need to see). I didn't look at your link and it's been years since I've used the word, but from what I remember it seems that this is a high qualifier that goes along with words like "mystery" and "spiritual." I like your word a lot better than "spiritual" though, in terms of how I think of the list.

I was referring to C.S. Lewis' discussion of his feeling/longing of "northerness" after being exposed to Norse inspired poetry, art and music (discussions of which first appear in his autobiography Surprised by Joy). He later goes on to explain this "longing" as painful, piercing, fleeting, and being just a tiny bit of a hint of the real joy that God meant for us. So when I think of the term Sehnsucht, I think of the longing for the things of heaven ... And while anything spiritually themed has the potential to include this longing, I've personally found that I experience it very rarely. But I do identify with what Lewis was talking about, every rare once in a while ... a scene in a film, a bit of music, a little light and wind flowing through a tree ... can give you just a hint of it, but it's a powerful hint and as soon as you realize it's there, it seems like it's gone.

So yes, it is a word much more specific than the word "spiritual." On the top 100 list for example, I could see Wings of Desire being focused on this theme. Not on the top 100 list, I could see Joe versus the Volcano being focused on this theme. Both films have characters at specific times trying to express exactly what C.S. Lewis was trying to express. They pretty much all fail at expressing it, but you still know what they are talking about.

But anyhow, if this discussion goes much farther, it should probably be broken off into a separate thread.

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Now that the wheels are in motion for the 2011 Top 100 list, I'd like to return to this Top 10/20/25 idea.

My sense was that "Horror" had the most votes in the poll and had just the right blend of specificity and focus on genre to do nicely.

Perhaps if we do Horror we could get Scott Derrickson to write the accompanying introduction/blog post on it.

Unless there are strong objections, I'd like to try to move this forward.

Any further thoughts on either the topic or the total number of films we should choose -- 10/20/25?

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Greg, I'm late to the Top 100 discussion this year, so forgive me is this has already been bandied about, but how do the Top 25 horror films dovetail with the A&F Top 100? I'm thinking that as much as I've loved some horror movies, I'm not sure I've nominated any for the Top 100 in the past, nor do I remember for voting for more than one or two films I'd describe as "horror films" among the most recent list of nominees.

So, I guess my question is, Does it matter if the Top 25 horror films list includes no entries in our Top 100? I realize this is a hypothetical question, but I'm anticipating what a reader who compares the lists -- will anyone actually do this? -- might think if horror films aren't well represented on the main list.

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So, I guess my question is, Does it matter if the Top 25 horror films list includes no entries in our Top 100? I realize this is a hypothetical question, but I'm anticipating what a reader who compares the lists -- will anyone actually do this? -- might think if horror films aren't well represented on the main list.

I don't know why it should matter. A top 25, or even a top 10 horror film that, oh let's see, "resonates" with Christianity could easily not make a list of the top 100 films of all time that "resonate" with Christianity. For example, I probably wouldn't advocate putting The Exorcism of Emily Rose on the Top 100 list, but I don't know if there is any other film that has produced more conversations for me with nonbelievers about God and faith.

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So, I guess my question is, Does it matter if the Top 25 horror films list includes no entries in our Top 100? I realize this is a hypothetical question, but I'm anticipating what a reader who compares the lists -- will anyone actually do this? -- might think if horror films aren't well represented on the main list.

I don't know why it should matter. A top 25, or even a top 10 horror film that, oh let's see, "resonates" with Christianity could easily not make a list of the top 100 films of all time that "resonate" with Christianity. For example, I probably wouldn't advocate putting The Exorcism of Emily Rose on the Top 100 list, but I don't know if there is any other film that has produced more conversations for me with nonbelievers about God and faith.

I do like the horror-list idea, but I'm not sure that a "supplemental" list -- if that's what this list will be, essentially -- won't dilute the main Top 100 list in some ways. And then comes the Top 100 Romance films, or whatever, and if those films also aren't represented in our Top 100 ... maybe I'm just borrowing trouble? I can still see people reading the various genre lists and concluding that our Top 100 list is essentially a Top 100 Dramas list -- which is a concern that's been expressed over the years here. I wouldn't want to reinforce that impression, but would rather continue to advocate for more diversity during the nominations and voting periods for the Top 100. I worry that these other lists will be perceived as also-rans.

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Christian:

Not sure if you've read this thread from the beginning but the basic ideas are these:

1) The Top 100 list has both internal and an external value, both as a way we share our ideas inside the community here and as a service we offer to the world.

2) To the extent that we have a public face there's a question about how much our Top 100 list will vary from year to year -- and how noteworthy a relatively static list will be to the sort of media outlets, blogs, etc. that can spread the impact of the list we've worked so hard to create.

3) If we were to have a shorter, "flanking" list it would not only have intrinsic interest but help keep the Top 100 list in the public eye.

4) Precisely because 100 is such a small number, and because we're always frustrated about what gets left out, and because of ongoing concerns about biasing toward "Drama" or art-films or non-Hollywood films or what-have-you, the "flanking" list offers us an opportunity to promote good films in genres and from various angles that might not otherwise be celebrated.

5) It would be fun. We love making lists and people love reading lists.

I have no doubt that such lists might be judged in relation to the Top 100 list, but I'm just not sure who would get worked up over it or why.

I'm open to all thoughts on this, but that's the basic reasoning.

So, I guess my question is, Does it matter if the Top 25 horror films list includes no entries in our Top 100? I realize this is a hypothetical question, but I'm anticipating what a reader who compares the lists -- will anyone actually do this? -- might think if horror films aren't well represented on the main list.

I don't know why it should matter. A top 25, or even a top 10 horror film that, oh let's see, "resonates" with Christianity could easily not make a list of the top 100 films of all time that "resonate" with Christianity. For example, I probably wouldn't advocate putting The Exorcism of Emily Rose on the Top 100 list, but I don't know if there is any other film that has produced more conversations for me with nonbelievers about God and faith.

I do like the horror-list idea, but I'm not sure that a "supplemental" list -- if that's what this list will be, essentially -- won't dilute the main Top 100 list in some ways. And then comes the Top 100 Romance films, or whatever, and if those films also aren't represented in our Top 100 ... maybe I'm just borrowing trouble? I can still see people reading the various genre lists and concluding that our Top 100 list is essentially a Top 100 Dramas list -- which is a concern that's been expressed over the years here. I wouldn't want to reinforce that impression, but would rather continue to advocate for more diversity during the nominations and voting periods for the Top 100. I worry that these other lists will be perceived as also-rans.

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I'm excited about a Horror film list. Ten films would seem too small of a list, twenty-five a bit too expansive. I vote for 20 - it just feels like the Goldilocks number to me.

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I'm excited about a Horror film list. Ten films would seem too small of a list, twenty-five a bit too expansive. I vote for 20 - it just feels like the Goldilocks number to me.

Perhaps the Goldilocks number for horror films is 13.

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I'm excited about a Horror film list. Ten films would seem too small of a list, twenty-five a bit too expansive. I vote for 20 - it just feels like the Goldilocks number to me.

Perhaps the Goldilocks number for horror films is 13.

Ha!

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Thanks, Greg. I'll read through the thread more closely and will follow up with any additional questions I might have.

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