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Anna J

Top 25 Marriage Films: Results and Blurbs

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I guess I didn't realize that our list-making was so missional.

Now, now. This looks like over-interpreting. I just found your use of the word a bit counter-intuitive.

Cheerfully withdrawn.smile.png

How about this, SDG: Our marriage list may not reach as many people as our previous lists, but those who remember our horror and pilgrimage lists (through which we have established a certain measure of trust) are in an ideal position to appreciate and benefit from this one.

That would be lovely, of course, though a marriage list might have been uniquely positioned to reach some people who wouldn't have been as responsive to a horror list in particular.

Okay, okay. How about this, SDG: By virtue of the powerful allure, timely relevance and universal currency of marriage, our list--despite its esoteric slant--will reach an even wider audience than our previous lists, and whet an appetite for further discussions of the genre. Horror films may be a dime a dozen; road movies three for a quarter; but marriage movies? Who would ever think to compile such a list? Who would ever be audacious enough to attempt it? Arts & Faith, that's who.

I'm assuming you avoided naming the pictures to avoid a drawn-out debate about the list, but I'd be curious to see which films you're talking about. I've always enjoyed the ways in which your opinions about films have differed from what I typically think of as being "mainstream" at A&F.

I'll Facebook you!

Edited by Nathaniel

"A great film is one that to some degree frees the viewer from this passive stupor and engages him or her in a creative process of viewing. The dynamic must be two-way. The great film not only comes at the viewer, it draws the viewer toward it." -Paul Schrader

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I'm assuming you avoided naming the pictures to avoid a drawn-out debate about the list, but I'd be curious to see which films you're talking about. I've always enjoyed the ways in which your opinions about films have differed from what I typically think of as being "mainstream" at A&F.

I'll Facebook you!

I'll hold you to that! :)

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Okay, okay. How about this, SDG: By virtue of the powerful allure, timely relevance and universal currency of marriage, our list--despite its esoteric slant--will reach an even wider audience than our previous lists, and whet an appetite for further discussions of the genre. Horror films may be a dime a dozen; road movies three for a quarter; but marriage movies? Who would ever think to compile such a list? Who would ever be audacious enough to attempt it? Arts & Faith, that's who.

I did think of that. smile.png Yeah, that sounds awesome.

I guess I naturally think of the kind of people whom I reach with my work in various media and venues, and bringing this list to them, as I will be doing, if and when I blog this list around Valentine's Day.

Non-multiplex fare is a staple of my work; in connection with my 2012 top 10 list, I've written and talked a lot in the past few weeks, on radio and television, in print and online, about a Korean film almost no one has even heard of, Planet of Snail (one that would have been perfect for our new list, alas), as well as Kore-eda, Stillman, Petzold and the Dardennes.

My audience is receptive to these recommendations. But I'm able to bring these less familiar filmmakers to a lot of people I wouldn't otherwise reach in part because my own interests and predilections also embrace the likes of Argo, The Avengers and Lincoln, as well as films that fall somewhere in between (Arrietty, Anna Karenina).

Of course I'm not suggesting any kind of calculation or compromise for the sake of popular appeal ("Let's throw in a few popular films to catch the attention of the masses and get them interested in our list"). At the end of the day, my top 10 list is for me; I'm the one who has to live with it. But I'm happy to have a list that includes both the Dardennes (the film that I found the most sublime and moving) and The Avengers (the one I found the most sheerly entertaining); both for my own sake, and also because, having the predilections I do, I've got people who enjoyed The Avengers reading about the Dardennes -- people who wouldn't be reading me at all if my lists looked like Darren's, say.

That's not a reason to make a list like mine (though it's an outcome I appreciate). The only reason for making a list like mine is having tastes like mine. And of course Darren reaches an audience that wouldn't be interested in me, and more power to him. I appreciate and benefit from Darren's work; based on his recommendations, I've seen a number of films I wouldn't otherwise have seen, to my benefit. Darren's cinematic interests differ from mine, but not so greatly that they're irrelevant to me. My cinematic interests sometimes stretch some of my audience, but it's a stretch they are evidently able to make. If I were where Darren is, the stretch for my audience would be past the breaking point, and I would find myself addressing a different audience.

Well, I'm not. I address the audience that I do; and for their sake as well as mine I wish that a few films like Fiddler, Up (or, better, The Incredibles) and It's a Wonderful Life had made this list (which is another way of saying that I wish I had been able to passionately champion one or more of these films in the weeks leading up to the vote, in the hope of achieving a different outcome).

Christian was worried that I might start out my blog post talking about Babies. That isn't going to happen. But I'd enjoy writing that post more, and it would garner more interest with my readers, and people like them, if it were a little closer to where they are.

Salon has an exceedingly timely article on the lack of lists of "marriage" movies, and on the various ways Hollywood has avoided mentioning marriage even when it's promoting movies that are *about* marriage.
Leary, this would be something to mention in your introduction.
It's by Jeanine Basinger, an excerpt from her book I Do and I Don't, available this month, as noted previously.
Note, FWIW, that the article is titled "Hollywood Hates Movies!" The book appears to devote significant space to Golden Age Hollywood. Our list does not exactly supply what she went looking for. We have, I think, only two Hollywood films, Make Way for Tomorrow and Friendly Persuasion.

That said, her argument about why the movies seem to have avoided marriage -- that "marriage has no story arc" with a neat beginning and a neat ending that can be covered in 90 minutes -- might be worth mentioning.

Edited by SDG

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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There are one or two awful choices, two or three milquetoasty choices, and four or five French choices.

I've always enjoyed the ways in which your opinions about films have differed from what I typically think of as being "mainstream" at A&F.

A&F has its own "mainstream"? That sounds interesting.

Of course I'm not suggesting any kind of calculation or compromise for the sake of popular appeal ("Let's throw in a few popular films to catch the attention of the masses and get them interested in our list").

We'll start a thread on the effect of "Populism" upon the integrity of the writer, and on whether Sir Thomas More believed in it (he didn't), later.

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We'll start a thread on the affect of "Populism" upon the integrity of the writer, and on whether Sir Thomas More believed in it (he didn't), later.

But what matters to me is not whether More believed it, but whether it's true.

The twenty-first century is the century of the Common Man. Like all the other centuries. And that's my proposition.

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I address the audience that I do; and for their sake as well as mine I wish that a few films like Fiddler, Up (or, better, The Incredibles) and It's a Wonderful Life had made this list (which is another way of saying that I wish I had been able to passionately champion one or more of these films in the weeks leading up to the vote, in the hope of achieving a different outcome).

I know exactly what you mean in terms of giving the wider community an 'in' - some comfortable reference point where almost everyone can 'touch base' and feel at home. That's partly why I nominated The Incredibles in the first place - to be honest I didn't really expect it to make the list, and I don't feel aggrieved that it missed out, but I had rewatched it just before the nominations and was struck by how powerful the marriage thread is; I guess you could argue the theme's more 'family', but the marriage has at least as much importance as in some other films that did make the list. Maybe I should have campaigned... This was my first list, though, and I'm feeling my way around.

Anyway, despite my fears that the list may be tough going for anyone outside confirmed cineastes, I still think overall it's a good list - challenging and surprising. It has certainly made me think.

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I am loving these blurbs! Thanks, everyone!

That's more list-related enthusiasm than the rest of this thread cumulatively. :) So ... thanks!


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I am loving these blurbs! Thanks, everyone!

Yes, having collected all 25 of them into one document, I have to say that, in spite of all the reservations about it discussed here, this just might be the best Top 25 list that we've compiled so far.

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I am loving these blurbs! Thanks, everyone!

Yes, having collected all 25 of them into one document, I have to say that, in spite of all the reservations about it discussed here, this just might be the best Top 25 list that we've compiled so far.

Wait. Are the blurbs up, or are you two the only two who have access to all the blurbs?


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Yeah, what's our go-live date? I'm excited to see it all, as well.


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Anodos: but if they do it too quickly, they can't have satisfaction.

Wait a minute. The Princess Bride is about true love and two characters' struggle to get married. Shouldn't it have at least been nominated for the list?


"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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Wait a minute. The Princess Bride is about true love and two characters' struggle to get married. Shouldn't it have at least been nominated for the list?

That does it. If we're actually having this conversation, I'm finally going to stop reading this ridiculous thread.

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Wait a minute. The Princess Bride is about true love and two characters' struggle to get married. Shouldn't it have at least been nominated for the list?

That does it. If we're actually having this conversation, I'm finally going to stop reading this ridiculous thread.

Sorry, I was joking (okay half-joking.) And I guess it's not really that funny.


"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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Wait a minute. The Princess Bride is about true love and two characters' struggle to get married. Shouldn't it have at least been nominated for the list?

That does it. If we're actually having this conversation, I'm finally going to stop reading this ridiculous thread.

Sorry, I was joking (okay half-joking.) And I guess it's not really that funny.

Don't be sorry, I was joking too. Seriously, a Princess Bride vs. Man for All Seasons quote battle would be awesome.

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Wait a minute. The Princess Bride is about true love and two characters' struggle to get married. Shouldn't it have at least been nominated for the list?

That does it. If we're actually having this conversation, I'm finally going to stop reading this ridiculous thread.

Sorry, I was joking (okay half-joking.) And I guess it's not really that funny.

Don't be sorry, I was joking too. Seriously, a Princess Bride vs. Man for All Seasons quote battle would be awesome.

Someone *needs* to start a thread for that.


"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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Anodos: but if they do it too quickly, they can't have satisfaction.

Good point.... and per your tagline: you rush a list maker, you get a rotten list.

Wait a minute. The Princess Bride is about true love and two characters' struggle to get married. Shouldn't it have at least been nominated for the list?

All joking aside, I'm fairly sure Princess Bride was mentioned early on - but as an example of the sort of film we weren't seriously considering.

Edited by Anodos

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Wait a minute. The Princess Bride is about true love and two characters' struggle to get married. Shouldn't it have at least been nominated for the list?

All joking aside, I'm fairly sure Princess Bride was mentioned early on - but as an example of the sort of film we weren't seriously considering.

I was curious. I couldn't remember whether or not anyone had mentioned it as a possibility, even if it was not the direction we wanted to go.


"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

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Wait a minute. The Princess Bride is about true love and two characters' struggle to get married. Shouldn't it have at least been nominated for the list?

That does it. If we're actually having this conversation, I'm finally going to stop reading this ridiculous thread.

Sorry, I was joking (okay half-joking.) And I guess it's not really that funny.

Don't be sorry, I was joking too. Seriously, a Princess Bride vs. Man for All Seasons quote battle would be awesome.

Someone *needs* to start a thread for that.

THE PRINCESS BRIDE stomps all over Zimmerman's stagy, declamatory, dishwater-dull, messagey lesson film.


Yeah ... well ... I'm gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you there on that one.

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The only thing that keeps me from loving Zinneman's A Man For All Seasons as much as SDG does is that I can't forgive it for not being the play, which I love too much to sacrifice a word of to the formal demands of cinema as opposed to theater.

Edited by Rushmore

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I'd rather have BABIES on the list than THE PRINCESS BRIDE.


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I'd rather have BABIES on the list than THE PRINCESS BRIDE.

That's just because THE PRINCESS BRIDE has got all that yucky kissing...


Yeah ... well ... I'm gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you there on that one.

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