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Mr. Arkadin

A&F Top 25 2016 Discussion Thread

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Hello all,

The holidays season is now past! Due to the strain it would put on Tyler and the Image staff, another Top 100 vote is not in the cards this year, so we're looking to develop another themed Top 25 list. Tyler reached out to me and I volunteered to oversee the nomination and voting process this year. Hopefully I can live up the standards set by my illustrious predecessor, Jeremy.

The timeline we're looking at is as follows:

Nominate Top 25 themes: NOW

Close theme nominations: January 26

Begin voting on themes: January 27

Close voting: February 3

Open film nominations and discussion: February 3

Close film nominations: April 4

Open voting on films: April 8

Close voting: April 18

Write blurbs: April 18 – May 18

Post results: TBD

 

I'm hoping that the date shift in this process will increase A&F member participation.

We shall use this thread for preliminary list discussion (we always seem to want to tweak the rules and/or process a bit after one of these lists is produced) and theme nomination. The groundrules are as follows (I'm borrowing Jeremy's wording here):

  • One theme "nomination" per person. Suggest and discuss how ever many themes you'd like, but nominate one theme. In order to get a theme on the poll for voting purposes in a week from now, post "I nominate ___________________."
  • Think carefully about how you word the theme.  In the past we've just called them "Top 25 Films on ___________"  And then also discuss and advocate for why we should try your theme this year.

 

I know topics we've already toyed with the idea of the following: Top Crime Films, Top Coming-of-Age/Bildungsroman Films, and Top Avant-Garde/Experimental Films (we also discussed doing a Top LGBTQ Films, but the consensus seemed to be that that wouldn't be a fruitful list topic for this community).

Edited by Ryan H.

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Evan C   

I like Crime Films, and I'm always down for films about creating art. However, since Pope Francis declared this a year of mercy, I thought films about mercy could be an interesting choice. I haven't given the idea too much thought, so it's possible there won't be enough good films to make the subject fruitful, or there will be too much overlap with our other lists. However, I want to discuss the idea, so I nominate Films About Mercy.

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Tyler   

Avant garde/experimental would have to include short films, right? 

I know we've gone back and forth over the years on whether to segregate shorts from feature-length movies. Can't remember where the consensus has fallen recently. 

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NBooth   
5 minutes ago, Evan C said:

I like Crime Films, and I'm always down for films about creating art. However, since Pope Francis declared this a year of mercy, I thought films about mercy could be an interesting choice. I haven't given the idea too much thought, so it's possible there won't be enough good films to make the subject fruitful, or there will be too much overlap with our other lists. However, I want to discuss the idea, so I nominate Films About Mercy.

I like this idea. Are we seconding at this point? Because second. I think we could get enough movies to discuss (particularly if we're pretty free with our definition of "mercy," as I would hope we would be--part of the pleasure of this sort of list is pushing against rigid definitions).

I'd also be down for crime films.

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I love the Mercy idea. I want to look at our existing Top 100 though. Would it bring back mostly titles we've celebrated before, or does it give us an opportunity to look into a lot of other films?

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I nominate Coming-of-Age Films.

While I do love this list of childhood films posted in another thread, I think the concept of "coming of age" implies more than childhood or just "teen" films. It's the movement of becoming adult, the whole process of identity formation and maturation, which includes childhood and each stage of adolescence (early, middle, late), and even emerging adulthood. I also think it moves beyond one genre into wide variety of films and time periods.

Edit: I also wonder about the audience for these lists. Who is the list for? Could a Coming-of-Age list prompt more parents, teens, or young adults to check out the Arts & Faith community? 

Edited by Joel Mayward

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Attica   

I think I might have mentioned this before, but what I like about crime films is that it would allow us to dive into some Film Noir, yet we could also find some interesting films about mercy in genres that one wouldn't expect.  They might be interesting to dig out.

It seems obvious to me that it would be more of a challenge to find crime films with a spiritual undercurrent than mercy films.  This would possibly lead to a more interesting and unique list.

I'm fine with including short films.  If a short film can stand tall enough beside the features in order to make it on to such a list, then why not?

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19 hours ago, John Drew said:

I'm sure there will be a lot of similar lists coming out in 2016, but we might want to look at Films on Politics. 

Is that an official nomination?

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I like the Films About Mercy idea, though we seriously risk it being an A&F "Greatest Hits" list with serious T100 overlap.

I'm leaning toward Crime Films at this stage. I love dealing with genre, and film noir is my favorite genre of all.

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NBooth   

I've argued before that crime fiction (and detective fiction in particular) is among the most religious/spiritual genres out there, so I'd definitely have some things to say about that (I'm already formulating a kind of list in my mind).

Just to throw another in there, I'll go ahead and nominate a list on the top 25 period pieces (we've not done that one, right?). There's some danger of an overlap with films on memory, but not much; and we could make some sort of an argument about how the way in which films envision the past are actually commentaries on the present. It's a very broad field and might need to be narrowed a bit, but I think the breadth would be as beneficial as it would be problematic.

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Andrew   

I'm not convinced that Films About Mercy would overlap hugely with our Top 100 - scanning the first 30 or so films on that list, only a couple jumped out as being primarily 'about' mercy:  Le Fils, Babette's Feast (obliquely so).  Some might argue Ikiru deals with mercy, but I'd argue it's primary foci of compassion and humanitarian interest are substantially different notions.

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So, before I actually do an official nomination, is there sufficient distinction between crime films and noir? I think so, but in the minds of the group?

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NBooth   

In this context, I'm personally considering the latter a subset of the former. 

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2 hours ago, Ryan H. said:

Is that an official nomination?

You know, it wasn't.  But what the heck... 

Nominating Films on Politics (even though I'm also favoring Crime Films).

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Evan C   

Possible titles for a list of Films About Mercy: (I'll start with potential overlaps w/the top 100)

Le Fils
Babette's Feast
Places in the Heart
Munyurangabo
Unforgiven
True Grit (2010)
The Hudsucker Proxy
Rhapsody in August
Pieces of April
Hiroshima Mon Amour
Love & Mercy (first played at festivals in 2014, so it would be eligible)
The Look of Silence (also first released in 2014)
Do the Right Thing
12 Angry Men
The Wrong Man
The Fisher King
Pinocchio
Murder on the Orient Express (as a negative example)
The Prestige (second negative example)
Heaven Can Wait
The Prisoner of Shark Island
Viridiana
Dead Man Walking
The Royal Tenenbaums
Anna Karenina
Our Hospitality
Get Low
The Deer Hunter
The Painted Veil
Philomena
Les Miserables
Broken Flowers

Edited by Evan C

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The more I think about it, the more I like Films About Politics. We'd have to define it specifically, because you can easily argue that any film is political. Not "Political Films" but "Films About Politicians"? "Films About Government"?

That could get a lot of good attention and be a great way for Arts and Faith to define a faith-focused film list about politics that isn't, you know, 13 Hours or a Dinesh D'Souza doc.

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Brian D   
23 hours ago, Darrel Manson said:

So, before I actually do an official nomination, is there sufficient distinction between crime films and noir? I think so, but in the minds of the group?

Yes, as Nbooth said, the latter could be thought of as a subset of the former.  The list would be most interesting and far-ranging if noir is one of the pools to draw from ...not the entire pool. 

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Anders   
5 hours ago, Brian D said:

Yes, as Nbooth said, the latter could be thought of as a subset of the former.  The list would be most interesting and far-ranging if noir is one of the pools to draw from ...not the entire pool. 

Yeah, if we do a "Crime" list then there are going to be a number of film noir on the list, undoubtedly. But noir isn't merely a subset of crime film, since one see noir elements in films that range beyond the crime genre: think Val Lewton/Jacques Tournour's "horror noir," or KISS ME DEADLY's sci-fi inflection. This is especially true in neo-noir films like BLAD RUNNER.

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NBooth   
19 minutes ago, Anders said:

Yeah, if we do a "Crime" list then there are going to be a number of film noir on the list, undoubtedly. But noir isn't merely a subset of crime film, since one see noir elements in films that range beyond the crime genre: think Val Lewton/Jacques Tournour's "horror noir," or KISS ME DEADLY's sci-fi inflection. This is especially true in neo-noir films like BLAD RUNNER.

I wouldn't consider Kiss Me Deadly to be too far outside the crime genre, sci-fi inflection or no, but you make an important point (which is why I used "in this context" in my post).

Edited by NBooth

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On 1/16/2016 at 10:46 AM, John Drew said:

I'm sure there will be a lot of similar lists coming out in 2016, but we might want to look at Films on Politics. 

Given the nature of 2016, and the horrible nightmare sensation I get whenever I hear the super-ultra-polarized and unpleasantly shrill Presidential election news on any news channel, I could see our crafting and putting together a faith-focused Top 25 Films about Politics could be really redeeming.  The timing would be perfect.

I also echo Jeffrey's thought that such a list would be better focused on the nature of political institutions and their effects on human nature, rather than loosely defined as "political."  I could see our list as one attempt to use the arts as a means of countering a great deal that is thoughtless and dehumanizing in our current culture, a way of saying "yes, that's what's on the news.  Here, watch this instead."  It would also be something that could transcend our culture's automatically assumed political ideological camps.  I can personally think of some more liberal films and some more conservative films that would both equally be ideal for such a list.

Edited: I see that John Drew eventually nominated "Films on Politics."  John, would you consent to focusing the list a little more and making it "Films About Government"?

Edited by J.A.A. Purves

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There are already so many great themes that I'm having a hard time picking a favorite.

At this moment, I'm especially keen on this "Films About Government" idea. That could lead to a really fascinating list.

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Evan C   

Could someone float some possible titles for Films About Politics/Government list? I like the idea, but other than Mr. Smith Goes to Washington it seems to me that list could be dominated by dark, cynical films contemptuous of corruption in government. (e.g. The Manchurian Candidate) Not that there's anything wrong with films like that, but I'm already worn out by the nastiness of this election and the many horrid candidates, and I'm not sure I want to watch a bunch of films about that, even if they are critical of that nastiness and corruption.

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