TylerMcCabe

A& F Top 25 Films 2017 Discussion

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Discussion, nomination, and voting for the 2017 Top 25 Films List. (May also include a Top 100 List, depending on community consensus.)

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So, we're just fielding ideas now? I'd be interested in pitching a list of Top 25 Small Town/Village movies. We have a thread, which is actually a merging of two different threads (one started by myself--full confession, small towns are kind of my bag, academically speaking). Such a thread would give us a chance to talk about several different things: community-as-association, self-fashioning communities, the tension between individuals and their communities--all within a concrete imaginative space.

Then again, this proposal is pretty much directly in line with my non-A&F interests, so it might be a bit niche for our use here. 

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With all the buzz La La Land is getting (whether deserved or not, I'll find out soon) it might be fun to highlight the great musical films (and yes, there are 25 great ones.)

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While it would be a lot of work, a top 100 list could be both a refreshing and interesting endeavor, as A&F and the potential films for such a list have changed quite a bit since 2011.

I've advocated for a Top 25 Coming-of-Age Films list for the last two years, and would gladly advocate for it again. :)

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I'll be taking the lead on this again.

Is there an appetite for another Top 100 list? No doubt a list made today would be somewhat different than the last incarnation, but there's something to be said for the distinctiveness of our themed Top 25 lists and the way this continually pushes us into new territory.

This was the timeline we used for the Top 25 last year: 

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

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I'm a lot less involved here than I was a couple of years ago, so make of my opinion what you will, but I think we're due to make another Top 100.

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All of the top 25 ideas mentioned are intriguing. 

Biggest question about doing a top 100...personnel resources.  I get the feeling there were more folks hanging around the board 5 years ago when the last top 100 was put together.  Would we really have enough folks to write blurbs?  I'm sure those who are here can write quite a few fine ones, but would those stretch to 100?  Of course, maybe folks from the past will come out of the woodwork if we do a top 100, but...

A top 25 may be a task more suited to our current reserves and resources. 

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I think a new top 100 would be highly worthwhile given changing tastes and new releases, so if everyone else feels up to it, I would absolutely be down for the extra work involved.

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Fair enough!  I was wondering about blurbs and re-using them...in that case, maybe we do have enough personnel to do a top 100.  Intrigued to hear what you all decide.

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I would be willing to do a Top 100 instead of a Top 25 if everyone else is. That said, I've enjoyed the distinctiveness of our Top 25 lists over the past few years. 

Edited by NBooth

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I like the idea of a new Top 100 in that it seems to be one of the primary ways folks have learned about and chosen to contribute to the A&F community. I've heard from numerous friends over the years excitedly tell me they found this great list of "spiritually significant" films they want to recommend to me. I, too, enjoy the distinct Top 25 lists, but I think a new Top 100 could be an exciting endeavor to discuss here.

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This is something that would obviously require permission/discussion with Greg, but would anyone be interested in doing a book companion to a Top 100? 

I mentioned in another thread that the publisher for F&S in Masters of World Cinema asked me to pitch another project a few months ago. I did a CFP for a Koreeda book along with a colleague but it didn't get enough responses. They like anthologies/group publications, and I know there are a number of academics here (or budding academics) who might like a publication. 

Probably wouldn't have space for full essays on a full 100 films, but could do a mix of essays and reviews, or full reviews of all (as opposed to blurbs). 

I've got other projects I could work on, of course, but given the vagaries of the Internet world it might be nice to have something slightly more concrete in case the web site ever went away. 

 

Edit: None of the anthologies I've done have made any money (cost, price, limited audience), but I'd certainly be willing to work out something where royalties (if any) went back to Image to defray web site support.

 

Edited by kenmorefield

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On 12/18/2016 at 4:02 PM, kenmorefield said:

This is something that would obviously require permission/discussion with Greg, but would anyone be interested in doing a book companion to a Top 100?

Absolutely yes on this one.  A companion book for our Top 100 list would be a great way of promoting both the list and A&F's critical sensibility.  I'd love to try to use something like this to push back against MovieGuide/PluggedIn sensibility.  Instead of full essays on all 100 films, what about full reviews for all 100 films with 2-3 essays on film criticism in general?

As far as doing a Top 100 List this year, I'd think that that would be the sort of revision one would do every decade or so.  For those of you pushing a new Top 100 list, I'd ask you first to re-evaluate how many of the current Top 100 list films you have actually seen yet.  (I know I'm still working through them.)  I'd much prefer that many of us advocated for revising the list after we've actually seen the list.  I think that would give the list more authority.  Then, additionally, instead of making doing a Top 25 or a revised Top 100 an either/or proposition, if a majority of A&F'ers really are willing to working on producing a new Top 100 list, why not be willing to make revising the Top 100 a more than one year project?  That would take some of the pressure off to rush it - and it shouldn't be rushed - and it would also give everyone motivation and time to see and think about more films that they have not yet seen.

As far as our next Top 25 films goes, I hereby nominate "Top 25 Films on Waking Up".

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5 minutes ago, J.A.A. Purves said:

Absolutely yes on this one.  A companion book for our Top 100 list would be a great way of promoting both the list and A&F's critical sensibility.  I'd love to try to use something like this to push back against MovieGuide/PluggedIn sensibility.  Instead of full essays on all 100 films, what about full reviews for all 100 films with 2-3 essays on film criticism in general?

As far as doing a Top 100 List this year, I'd think that that would be the sort of revision one would do every decade or so.  For those of you pushing a new Top 100 list, I'd ask you first to re-evaluate how many of the current Top 100 list films you have actually seen yet.  (I know I'm still working through them.)  I'd much prefer that many of us advocated for revising the list after we've actually seen the list.  I think that would give the list more authority.  Then, additionally, instead of making doing a Top 25 or a revised Top 100 an either/or proposition, if a majority of A&F'ers really are willing to working on producing a new Top 100 list, why not be willing to make revising the Top 100 a more than one year project?  That would take some of the pressure off to rush it - and it shouldn't be rushed - and it would also give everyone motivation and time to see and think about more films that they have not yet seen.

 

I agree. Not only do I still have a couple dozen films to catch up with on the list, but I'm honestly curious what films do you think are missing from the list? I don't think there have been a significant number of films I'd want to add from the last 5 years to warrant a revision, so I would require a careful thinking about the one's we already have on there and looking at cinema history in a new lens. 

But I'm definitely interested in the idea of a book companion.

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On 12/18/2016 at 4:02 PM, kenmorefield said:

This is something that would obviously require permission/discussion with Greg, but would anyone be interested in doing a book companion to a Top 100? 

I'd love to be a part of a project like this.

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1 hour ago, Anders said:

Not only do I still have a couple dozen films to catch up with on the list, but I'm honestly curious what films do you think are missing from the list?

Hmm. I'd have to think about it, but off the top of my head, I think there are plenty of important contenders that have either appeared in recent years or aren't on the list: 

A.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT

CITY LIGHTS

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND

GHOST IN THE SHELL

IMITATION OF LIFE

MYSTERIES OF LISBON

LE NOTTI BIANCHE

THIRST

THIS IS MARTIN BONNER

YOUTH WITHOUT YOUTH

Edited by Ryan H.

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1 hour ago, Joel Mayward said:

I'd love to be a part of a project like this.

As would I.

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Count me in for a companion book as well, if we decided to do that.

As to the 2011 list, I have ten films left to see.

As to new films from the last five years which warrant consideration: A Separation, Moonrise Kingdom, Of Gods and Men, Ida, The Mill and the Cross, Mad Max Fury Road, The Assassin, and that's not including older films which were passed over on the previous list.

Edited by Evan C

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I'd be up for the book idea as well.

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There are certainly films on the Top 100 I've yet to see (I still haven't seen Fiddler on the Roof, of all things). While I'm sure others aren't quite as big a Malick fan as I am, the absence of The Tree of Life from a 100-film list about art and spirituality feels like a significant lacuna. While I'm nodding with Jeremy's suggestion to not rush a Top 100 list and to allow more time to explore the films already present, having a decade between lists feels too long for me--maybe I'm just impatient--while a 5 or 6 year gap seems reasonable to reevaluate what we've previously listed, as well as make further suggestions of films not yet included.

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I'd be willing to contribute a couple of reviews to a book.

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Yes to the top 100 book idea, and affirmation to the idea of letting a new top 100 gestate a bit longer.  The idea of reexamining the previous top 100 carefully and thoroughly over 1/2- 1 year is very appealing to me, but then again I'm a "slow-pace" viewer and I always seem to be advocating for more time to think over our lists.  So maybe that's just me. :)

Top 25 on "waking up" is a truly awesome idea...that idea stimulates a sense of anticipation for discovering new films that would fit such a category.  This idea has the taste of adventure.

 

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Reasons to Form a Revised Top 100 List Over a Longer Period:

(1) I’ll admit that, personally, I would regret bumping off more than 90% of the films that are currently on the Top 100 list.  There are very few films currently on the list that I would want to see replaced.

(2) We’d need to take more time to do it if we were to do it concurrently with the creation of a book.

(3) When rushed, the Top 100 List does seem subject to temporary enthusiasms.  (Exhibit A: Make Way for Tomorrow’s placement at #6.)  This is also an argument that the list is worth revising.  There is certainly room for improvement.

(4) Given point (3) above, I wonder if it would first be worthwhile having a discussion over the film selection process itself.
    - First, I wonder if it might be worth canvassing the older influential A&F participants who so strongly influenced the current Top 100 list to see if we are going to lose anyone’s participation during the revision process.  If so and regardless, we might want to consider other methods for a revision.
    - Second, I wonder if we’d really want to, tabula rasa, vote on an entirely new Top 100 list.  An alternative to creating an entirely new Top 100 list could be voting on a new Top 100 list but then somehow applying the new vote totals to the old vote totals so that the current Top 100 ranking and selection would be modified (instead of entirely replaced) by the new voting.  (Hypothetically this procedure would mean that if a film like, oh say, Ikiru gets voted down by the new 2017/2018 voting so that it would be ranked #85 in a new list, after applying the new vote totals to the old ranking, its rank would get lowered from #9 to something like #40 rather than all the way down to #85.  The arguments for applying the new voting this way would allow a stronger continuity for the list, given that the list is being used in some schools and churches nowadays for teaching purposes and has a certain weight that would be worth preserving.)

(5) As I noted before, it seems like it would be more fair for most of us who work on revising the list intentionally devote a little time to seeing the rest of the films on the list that we have not yet seen.  If films get replaced, I’d rather have them replaced by voters who have seen the films being replaced than replaced simply because not enough voters have seen them.  I’d need help from some of the other A&Fers in order to list them, but I understand that there is still a small collection of films on our Top 100 list that are not easily available.  Rather than seeing those films slip off our list because not enough of us have seen them, I’d rather use the list to create more demand for those films that leads to their becoming less difficult to see.

(6) I’d also be interested in some discussion over what the ultimate purpose of revising the Top 100 list would be.  Sure, there are absolutely some special films from the last five years that it would be nice to include in the list.  Yes, there are some rankings that could use some careful revision.  But wouldn’t it be worthwhile to use a revision of the Top 100 list as a means for give the Top 100 list more publicity - as a means for increasing our advocacy of the Top 100 films themselves.  I would be curious what this could look like - perhaps it could mean actively recruiting a few other names like Matt Zoller Seitz, Alissa Wilkinson, Brett McCracken, Frederica Mathewes Green or others to write some reviews for us.  Perhaps it could involve some organization of events at some universities.  Perhaps, along with a book, cultivating publicity for a deeper film criticism that offers itself as an alternative not just to MovieGuide/PluggedIn, but to standard mass media film reviews.

(7) If we outlined a process for revising the Top 100 list over the next couple years, we could also devote some time to discussing and working towards all of the above.  Time invested in recruiting and publicizing does pay off.  There is a potential, depending on how we do it, for a next A&F Top 100 list to be the most publicized list in A&F's history.  This could generate more attention and support both for Image and for A&F.

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I will have to respond to all of this in more detail, but I think we have to be careful about overstretching ourselves. This community's activity level has diminished in great part because many of us are so much busier than we were five or six years ago, and the longer we stretch out the timeline, the less momentum the conversation surrounding the list is likely to have. Two years strikes me as being an unmanageable timeline.

I think there's merit in thinking about the T100 as a more extensive process demanding more extensive thought. But if we get caught up in worrying too much about the numerical rankings of individual films, we'll enter into a black hole from which there is no escape. 

If we do another T100, our process should be much as it was for previous lists. That said, I would recommend a two-stage voting process, allowing for reflection midway through the process.

Edited by Ryan H.

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