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Greg Wolfe

Joe Carter Takes Aim...at the 2004 Top 100 List

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Joe Carter, a blogger at Patheos and conservative Christian columnist/writer, has for some reason chosen to attack our 2004 list.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/joecarter/2012/12/top-100-spiritually-significant-films/

There's no real argument developed here, no evidence to back his condemnation of the list's alleged banality.

Also, I have no idea why he doesn't look at the other lists.

But there you have it.

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I don't know that it's an all-out attack, and at least he's *engaging* with the list (as he says, lists like this serve to foster discussion/debate), even if he's doing so in a way that's unclear.

Challenging the list through his own "spiritually significant" rankings is not the most helpful approach, particularly since many of them are somewhat bizarre and demand further explanation. (Had he selected one of the 2010/2011 lists, he would have surely had our write-ups on the films to interact with, right? Seeing that back and forth would be more rewarding than seeing a "star rating" of "spiritual significance," whatever he takes "spiritual significance" to mean.)

It is quite strange that he would hold up the 2004 version as the "best" of them without much explanation. I wasn't around at A&F in 2004, but personally speaking, I prefer the 2010/2011 lists.

Edited by Ryan H.

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It is strange that he picked the 2004 list. Has it really been 8 years?! The board has really matured over the years (as, I hope, have I). I think someone should ask him why he picked that early list, especially when we've gone out of our way to revise it over the years.

Also, only one "spiritually significant" star to 2001? We're clearly not on the same wavelength.

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Reading Carter's entry now, I got to this sentence and had to throw up:

Included amidst such spiritual gems as The Apostle and Ponette are ho-hum entries like Fearless and Secrets and Lies.

--Yeah, Fearless is pretty ho-hum.

Should I even bother reading the rest of Carter's blog entry? Yes, I want to encourage discussion, but matter-of-fact evaluative statements like that make steam come out of my ears.

EDIT: Oh, OK. Of course I'm going to keep reading. Next sentence:

As soon as you begin to wonder what the voters could have been thinking, you find they’ve snuck in a few minor masterpieces (Groundhog Day, Unforgiven) that might have otherwise been overlooked.

--Yeah, Unforgiven is a "minor masterpiece." So minor it won Best Picture of the year at the Oscars and made about $100 million, or something, right?

Am I just being picky? Maybe I'm just being picky.

I'm returning to the blog and will try not to update this post as I read each sentence of Carter's missive.

Edited by Christian

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It looks like Mr. Carter really needs to start watching the films of Andrei Tarkovsky and Robert Bresson. Watching Tarkovsky and Bresson changed my entire view of film and I even rate other films differently because of it.

On the positive side, he does give The Last Temptation of Christ a rating of 0 stars, so he got that one right.

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I've often found Carter's engagement with film and culture frustrating. I still have trouble getting past his trolling of Tree of Life fans. Then there's this comment:

‘Ordet’ is one movie that I have been told repeatedly would top the list, so I really should make time to see that. As for Bergman, I never thought his films were all that special. And the reason the Tarkovsky’s films are not rated are because I’ve never been able to sit through an entire film.

I’ll admit that I have a bias against the directors beloved by Baby Boomers. I’m sure if I had grown up in the 1960s, I would have a special fondness for Bergman, Kubrick, Rohmer, etc. But I just don’t think that when you wipe away the nostalgia they hold up all that well.

I find the quickness with which he dismisses things to be, as I said before, frustrating.

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I would have a special fondness for Bergman, Kubrick, Rohmer, etc. But I just don’t think that when you wipe away the nostalgia they hold up all that well.

I find the quickness with which he dismisses things to be, as I said before, frustrating.

Quick dismissals have their place - but Bergman, Kubrick, Rohmer? Anyone who will quickly dismiss such artists will not be taken seriously by the film-watching community.

It is like a seminary student saying: "Calvin and Luther and those guys are totally overblown."

Edited by M. Leary

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Quick dismissals have their place - but Bergman, Kubrick, Rohmer? Anyone who will quickly dismiss such artists will not be taken seriously by the film-watching community.

It is like a seminary student saying: "Calvin and Luther and those guys are totally overblown."

Agreed.

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Quick dismissals have their place - but Bergman, Kubrick, Rohmer? Anyone who will quickly dismiss such artists will not be taken seriously by the film-watching community.

It is like a seminary student saying: "Calvin and Luther and those guys are totally overblown."

Jason quoted Michael, but let me quote him again. Because that's a great quote.

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Quick dismissals have their place - but Bergman, Kubrick, Rohmer? Anyone who will quickly dismiss such artists will not be taken seriously by the film-watching community.

It is like a seminary student saying: "Calvin and Luther and those guys are totally overblown."

Jason quoted Michael, but let me quote him again. Because that's a great quote.

Agreed.

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I gotta stop commenting over there. Listen, I'm not upset that somebody challenges the A&F Top 100. I, for one, don't think it's beyond criticism. And I don't think he's even that dismissive of our list, even if he makes some weird and shallow accusations.

What this Kubrick fanboy cannot abide, though, is dismissing Kubrick as a poser and a purveyor of "hippie nonsense." Now that gets my blood boiling.

duty_calls.png

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I don't think 2001 is a hippie thing, or even that his interview quote Carter pulled is non-sensical, but I kinda get bored by 2001. Sorry.

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Yeah, the comment thread is much better than the blog post itself, although the back-and-forth on 2001 wore me down a bit.

I'm glad Carter was pressed to give his definition of what qualifies as "spiritually significant." We've had that discussion right here, repeatedly, but he seems not to have noticed or cared.

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Well I commented there. Felt more right to talk to him rather than about him

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Rather heartfelt apology from Joe this morning.

I realized my post was worded poorly. My intention was not to criticize A&F’s list (much less the list-makers), but to raise the question of maybe the reason the list is banal is because we have a such a banal selection of movies to choose from.

Reading my post again makes me cringe, because I realize that is not really how it came across. I apologize for that. I have a lot of respect for the A&F community and even tried to join the forum myself (I never heard back from the moderator so I’m not sure if I was rejected or not).

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His inability to join makes me wonder how many others have encountered the same problem.

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I wonder, too. The process is automated now, and only requires replying to an email to verify proof of humanity. We occasionally get emails from people saying the process didn't work, and we manually let them in.

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I didn't have any problems, but I can't speak for anyone else.

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I read Joe Carter regularly, and find him often insightful, and usually worth reading. If he still wants to join A&F, I'd love to have him here.

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