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A&F Top 25 2014


J.A.A. Purves
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What sort of refinements could produce a "best comedy" list that wouldn't end up being... generic?

The problem here seems to be the ability to arrive at a consensus on some limitations.

 

When Jeffrey nominated "Cinematic" films, he had in mind some refinements in how me meant the term, but it was repeatedly objected to on the grounds that the word itself was just too broad.

 

I'd be happy to agree to limit an explicitly titled "Top 25 Comedies" list to an implicit understanding that we mean a "Top 25 Spiritually Significant Comedies" list.  The point being to advocate for a kind of film and to exclude another.  But we all know that exclusion is snobbish, elitist and anti-democratic and we certainly wouldn't want that.

 

In other words, if anyone wants some refinements, you probably should work on explicitly including them in the list's title.

 

(And yes, it's great to have you back, M. Leary.)

 

I shall stand for elitism and nominate the Top 25 Spiritually Significant Comedies.

 

Now everyone can start arguing about whether "Dumb and Dumber" is spiritually significant and what qualifies as a comedy.

Edited by BethR

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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Hmmm ... do we have any members who self-identify as comedians and who could write an intro for our list? 

 

Getting ahead of ourselves, maybe.

"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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OF COURSE Dumb and Dumber is spiritually significant.  :)   

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Alright, so discussion here seems to have died down.  Just remember this is the last week to nominate a theme or to advocate for which theme we should pick.

 

I'll start up the poll on Monday, October 28th.

 

Personally, I'm still partial to the idea of trying to pick a list that's a least somewhat fitting for Image's 25th anniversary.  (Memory or Art Creation for this?)

 

I'm not sold on doing just comedies yet.  Neither am I sold on the idea that the best way to garner attention would be to create a list that has already been done over a hundred times.

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The idea that a comedy list has been done over many times before is a good point.  Also, at the moment a list about memory is more intruiging for me than art creation.

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Neither am I sold on the idea that the best way to garner attention would be to create a list that has already been done over a hundred times.

Top 25 Spiritually Significant Comedies has been done over a hundred times? I'd like to see those lists.

"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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Top 25 Spiritually Significant Comedies has been done over a hundred times? I'd like to see those lists.

Christian,

You're the one who nominated this theme. Thus, if this is what you meant and what you were thinking, then I would be happy to change "Top 25 Comedies" in the upcoming poll to "Top 25 Spiritually Significant Comedies." That is the sort of change that could convince me to vote for it. That is a list I don't think has ever been done before.

(Note: It's not that I'm insisting on keeping an overly literal turn of mind. I am saying this in the context of the discussion in this thread about "Cinematic" films. The reason I liked that idea was because of the spiritually significant element I believe we could bring to discussing what cinematic ought to be.  I may have misinterpreted the majority of objections to the "Cinematic" idea, but the impression I got from it was that many here would not be willing to agree to any limitation to the idea.)

 

Yes, it's true we haven't used the words "spiritually significant" for any of our other Top 25 lists.  If we did comedies, it is such a broad category that I can easily see "great" being substituted for "spiritually significant."  But maybe that's just me.  It's your theme, so it's up to you.

 

Tell me to change the title and I will.

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I like both films about memory and spiritually significant comedies, although I'd want to think a bit more about how to brand or label the latter.


I would also like to give some thought to process. I'm unhappy about the way that our current process has led to results that caused disconnects of various kinds for many members, and I think we can improve on it.


One suggestion I'd like to see considered, though it would involve more work, would be more rounds of voting and eliminations. This would give us a chance to see how things are shaping up, make pleas for or against various films that we think are placing too low or too high, and potentially avoid results such as a particular filmmaker being overrepresented (or underrepresented, because his support was divided among various films), etc.

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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Top 25 Spiritually Significant Comedies has been done over a hundred times? I'd like to see those lists.

Christian,

You're the one who nominated this theme. Thus, if this is what you meant and what you were thinking, then I would be happy to change "Top 25 Comedies" in the upcoming poll to "Top 25 Spiritually Significant Comedies." That is the sort of change that could convince me to vote for it. That is a list I don't think has ever been done before.

Thanks for you patience and openness to this. Yes, let's change the title to what Beth called it: The Top 25 Spiritually Significant Comedies. The challenge, if this is adopted, would be in explaining what that means.

"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 would also like to give some thought to process. I'm unhappy about the way that our current process has led to results that caused disconnects of various kinds for many members, and I think we can improve on it.

One suggestion I'd like to see considered, though it would involve more work, would be more rounds of voting and eliminations. This would give us a chance to see how things are shaping up, make pleas for or against various films that we think are placing too low or too high, and potentially avoid results such as a particular filmmaker being overrepresented (or underrepresented, because his support was divided among various films), etc.

I'm with ya.

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I shall stand for elitism and nominate the Top 25 Spiritually Significant Comedies.

Yes, let's change the title to what Beth called it: The Top 25 Spiritually Significant Comedies. The challenge, if this is adopted, would be in explaining what that means.

Oh, sorry Beth. You rock. I just now saw what you did there. Even better, now with Christian's instruction, I've changed his nomination to yours. This way we won't see the Comedy vote lose due to being split in two.

 

I would also like to give some thought to process. I'm unhappy about the way that our current process has led to results that caused disconnects of various kinds for many members, and I think we can improve on it.

One suggestion I'd like to see considered, though it would involve more work, would be more rounds of voting and eliminations. This would give us a chance to see how things are shaping up, make pleas for or against various films that we think are placing too low or too high, and potentially avoid results such as a particular filmmaker being overrepresented (or underrepresented, because his support was divided among various films), etc.

I'm not opposed to doing the work to add a second level to our film voting process. For example, if Spiritually Significant Comedies wins, I could easily see a first vote that gave the Top 50 results. Then, after a week of discussion and consideration of those results, voting on those 50 to cut it down to 25.

It would, of course, depend on the number of film nominations we receive. I can see comedies garnering many more film nominations than some of those other themes would garner. So if we do have 150-200 nominations (as we have before), then I'll send a note to Tyler and see if they wouldn't mind processing the voting results twice.

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Top 25 Spiritually Significant Comedies has been done over a hundred times? I'd like to see those lists.

Christian,

You're the one who nominated this theme. Thus, if this is what you meant and what you were thinking, then I would be happy to change "Top 25 Comedies" in the upcoming poll to "Top 25 Spiritually Significant Comedies." That is the sort of change that could convince me to vote for it. That is a list I don't think has ever been done before.

Thanks for you patience and openness to this. Yes, let's change the title to what Beth called it: The Top 25 Spiritually Significant Comedies. The challenge, if this is adopted, would be in explaining what that means.

 

 

Top 25 Divine Comedies.

 

If we do go that direction, I can see a very clear rationale for it. We so often associate spiritual or profound reflection with certain forms (long takes, slow paces, etc...), while there is also much grace in things that make us giggle.

Edited by M. Leary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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Top 25 Divine Comedies.

 

If we do go that direction, I can see a very clear rationale for it. We so often associate spiritual or profound reflection with certain forms (long takes, slow paces, etc...), while there is also much grace in things that make us giggle.

 

That would be one of my favourite list titles ever. On the other hand - yeah, I don't know. I love it, but is it really practical?

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I like both films about memory and spiritually significant comedies, although I'd want to think a bit more about how to brand or label the latter.

Top 25 Divine Comedies.

 

Yes.

We one of my favourite list titles ever. On the other hand - yeah, I don't know. I love it, but is it really practical?

We will make it practical. We must do this.

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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Sounds good.  I completely agree with the idea that there is so much grace in things that make us giggle.  In fact I'd think that laughter is a sign of grace, to be able to laugh at the folly of humanity, but somehow Christianity often places it as being less spiritual or something.

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I like both films about memory and spiritually significant comedies, although I'd want to think a bit more about how to brand or label the latter.

Top 25 Divine Comedies.

 

Yes.

We one of my favourite list titles ever. On the other hand - yeah, I don't know. I love it, but is it really practical?

We will make it practical. We must do this.

 

 

Chills.

 

I am 100% in favor of this.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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I shall stand for elitism and nominate the Top 25 Spiritually Significant Comedies.

Yes, let's change the title to what Beth called it: The Top 25 Spiritually Significant Comedies.

Top 25 Divine Comedies.

That would be one of my favorite list titles ever.

Yes.

We will make it practical. We must do this.

Sounds good.

Chills.

 

I am 100% in favor of this.

 

Beth and Christian,

 

So there now appears to be a new suggested title here for your same understood nominated theme.

For purposes of voting should I now change the title "Top 25 Spiritually Significant Comedies" to "Top 25 Divine Comedies" with the explicit understanding for the rest of us that both titles mean the same thing? Hinting of Dante does seem to go right along with Beth's "stand for elitism" and with Christian's advocacy for a film list that has never been done before.

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Beth and Christian,

 

So there now appears to be a new suggested title here for your same understood nominated theme.

For purposes of voting should I now change the title "Top 25 Spiritually Significant Comedies" to "Top 25 Divine Comedies" with the explicit understanding for the rest of us that both titles mean the same thing? Hinting of Dante does seem to go right along with Beth's "stand for elitism" and with Christian's advocacy for a film list that has never been done before.

 

I love "Top 25 Divine Comedies."

 

What do you say, Beth?

"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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We'd certainly have to define/discuss the term before we could vote on it, no? Just so we all know what we're voting for (or not, as the case may be)?

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Beth and Christian,

 

So there now appears to be a new suggested title here for your same understood nominated theme.

For purposes of voting should I now change the title "Top 25 Spiritually Significant Comedies" to "Top 25 Divine Comedies" with the explicit understanding for the rest of us that both titles mean the same thing? Hinting of Dante does seem to go right along with Beth's "stand for elitism" and with Christian's advocacy for a film list that has never been done before.

 

I love "Top 25 Divine Comedies."

 

What do you say, Beth?

 

I love it, too. Besides, who could say no to a list title that has just been described as one of Anodos' "favorite list titles ever," got a "YES" from SDG, and gave Overstreet chills?

Edited by BethR

There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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We'd certainly have to define/discuss the term before we could vote on it, no? Just so we all know what we're voting for (or not, as the case may be)?

 

For voting purposes, I take "Top 25 Divine Comedies" to be a particularly felicitous equivalent for "Top 25 Spiritually Significant Comedies."

What "Spiritually Significant" means, I suppose, is as open to interpretation as it ever was in the days when our Big Top 100 list was called "Spiritually Significant Films."

Lots of ASCII was expended discussing that question back then, and while I'm not sure exactly what if anything was ever decided, we still managed to vote on the Top 100 Spiritually Significant Films.

I don't see why we can't vote on the Top 25 Spiritually Significant / Divine Comedies on the same basis, and argue for fine-tuning or interpreting the criteria as we go.

“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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We'd certainly have to define/discuss the term before we could vote on it, no? Just so we all know what we're voting for (or not, as the case may be)?

Yes.  That's what this thread and the next 4 days are for.

 

For starters, I was always under the impression that "spiritually significant" was one of the implied qualifications for films in the Top 100 list.  Beth and Christian both agreed on making this an explicit understanding if we were to do a Top 25 Comedies list.  Using the title "Divine Comedies" would be less clear, but it's a term of art, which we can use for aesthetic reasons and choose to mean the same thing.

 

Of course "spiritually significant" is itself rather vague and always has been.  But I think it encourages a focus slightly away from historical accomplishment, mechanical proficiency or popularity and more towards the big questions that religion is devoted to.

 

Reflection and contemplation, exploring depth and meaning, the things of God and of the soul are arguably the very things that many comedies deliberate avoid.  But not all of them do.  Let's advocate for them.

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I love it, too. Besides, who could say no to a list title that has just been described as one of Anodos' "favorite list titles ever," got a "YES" from SDG, and gave Overstreet chills?

 

Moved, seconded, thirded, fourthed, fifthed and carried.

P.S. Looks like J.A.A. Purves and I are on pretty much the same page regarding how to understand the new category label.

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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Well, at a minimum, those who are familiar with Dante may have to explain the overtones of "Divine Comedy" to those of us who are not. Since obviously any list by that name would carry that sort of connotation.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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