TylerMcCabe

A& F Top 25 Films 2017 Discussion

71 posts in this topic

The T100 list was originally revised with greater frequency. In allowing the current iteration of the list to stand for a number of years, we have accorded it a level of finality and authority that it was not intended to have. The T100 was always meant to evolve as the community evolved.

By the same token, we did take a break from voting on the T100 because the community recognized that there was something sufficient about its current form to represent the community at that time, and that any variation in future votes would probably be minor.

When Joel expresses that he wishes to participate in a T100 because it is an A&F rite of passage, that makes sense to me. He wants to make his mark, and he, along with other newer members, should be free to do so. If we elect to do a T100, which, due to changes in our active membership, I think we owe it to our newer members to follow more or less the process that was followed when the previous lists were composed.

The weighted-voted methodology is the primary existing strategy to ensure that nothing goes terribly awry. To this, we may add a few more safeguards (a different timetable/multi-stage voting). But I do not think we should fundamentally alter the essential nature of the project.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FWIW, my feeling is that the Top 100 list should be revisited on some kind of fixed schedule. The very first list we made, we revisited one year later. That's clearly much too quickly.

Every five years would be a reasonable schedule, but we missed 2016 so that ship has sailed.

Every 10 years is also defensible — like the Sight & Sound poll — but perhaps people feel that's too long to go. Still, every 6 years would seem like an odd interval.

Perhaps every 7 years? I could live with that. In which case the next Top 100 would be due in 2018. 

Edited by SDG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Ryan H. said:



The weighted-voted methodology is the primary existing strategy to ensure that nothing goes terribly awry. To this, we may add a few more safeguards (a different timetable/multi-stage voting). But I do not think we should fundamentally alter the essential nature of the project.

"Never" is famous last words that one more often than not ends up having to eat, but I wold never participate in any kind of voting/canon project that weighted the participation of different voting members differently. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, kenmorefield said:

"Never" is famous last words that one more often than not ends up having to eat, but I wold never participate in any kind of voting/canon project that weighted the participation of different voting members differently. 

The weighted-vote methodology (which gives weight to contributors with a higher post count) has been in place with all of the previous lists I have voted in at A&F.

I am reluctant to reconsider something that has such precedent. But I am also not one of the oldest members here, and know little of pre-Image A&F.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it would behoove us not to think to highly of our list-making, here. A list is just a chance to say "Hey, look at the cool stuff we've discovered." We're a unique group of professional-and-amateur film critics, but I don't think we need think we're all that special. :) Inscribing the Top 100 as some sort of canon would be a major mistake, particularly if it's intended to reflect our community--I know I, and probably a lot of people around here, have had some major shifts vis-a-vis spirituality/faith over the past few years. OTOH, I'm sympathetic to the idea that we need a set schedule for putting out the Top 100; as SDG suggests, five years seems pretty much like the ideal amount of time--but, since that's not available, I'd vote for going for going every seven years and ironing out whatever systemic/procedural issues folks have over the coming year. 

Then again, I'm up for anything. And if we could nab some of the people J.A.A. Purves suggests for write-ups/participation, all the better. An extended run-up to the Top 100 would facilitate that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the 7-year interval suggestion from Steven, which both sets a clear deadline (2018) for a Top 100 list, as well as gives us an entire year of conversation, viewing, suggestions, etc. regarding the creation of such a list. Perhaps a book project could be a part of that process as well? It doesn't feel rushed, but also allows for a deadline to foster some sort of urgency, lest we get bogged down in details, as Ryan has noted. 

Regarding Jeremy, Ryan, and Ken's conversation about the list-making process--it seems that we could find a way to both honor the A&F list-making tradition while also finding ways to tweak/change/adapt the list for the future. I understand the reasoning behind the weighted-vote method, but perhaps there are good reasons to evaluate that practice, such as why it existed in the first place and whether there is room for modification.

Also, calling the list "T100" makes it sound like a Terminator, which is awesome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, so it seems we're leaning toward not doing the T100 until next year or later.

Let's talk about topics, then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/20/2016 at 8:45 AM, J.A.A. Purves said:

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

“There was a shepherd the other day at Findon Fair who had come from the east by Lewes with sheep, and who had in his eyes that reminiscence of horizons which makes the eyes of shepherds and of mountaineers different from the eyes of other men ... I went with him to hear what he had to say, for shepherds talk quite differently from other men.  And when we came on to the shoulder of Chanctonbury and looked down upon the Weald, which stretched out like the Plains of Heaven, he said to me: ‘I never come here but it seems like a different place down below, and as though it were not the place where I have gone afoot with sheep under the hills.  It seems different when you are looking down at it.”  He added that he had never known why.  Then I knew that he, like myself, was perpetually in perception of the Unknown Country, and I was very pleased.  But we did not say anything more to each other about it until we got down into Steyning.  There we drank together and we still said nothing more aobut it, so that to this day all we know of the matter is what we knew when we started, and what you knew when I began to write this, and what you are now no further informed upon, namely, that there is an Unknown Country lying beneath places that we know, and appearing only in moments of revelation.  Whether we shall reach this country at last or whether we shall not, it is impossible to determine.”
- Hilaire Belloc, “Of an Unknown Country”

I nominated “Top 25 Films on Waking Up” because I’ve always thought that there had to be a collection of stories along the lines of waking up to the joys and treasures of life - or, waking up to the spiritual world around us - to the sacred - to, as Charles Taylor might say, “windows.”  Ikiru is certainly one of the major films of this theme.  Joe Versus the Volcano is another.  I have always wanted to put together a list of similar films with this same affinity, but they all wouldn’t have to have a main character who suddenly has a death sentence, and also I’d really prefer that we managed to leave a film like American Beauty out of it.  Instead, I am interested in a list of films about characters or people who are awake - or who become awake - or who know someone who is awake - and realize that there is far more in the world around them than meets the eye.  One might even say that this could be a Top 25 Films Against Cartesian Dualism.

Indeed, I’m interested far more in the idea and theme than I am tied to a specific name.  As far as I’m concerned, this same list could be entitled Top 25 Films on Re-enchantment ... on the Unknown Country ... on Sehnsucht ... on Holy Fools ... on Going Further Up and Further In.  If I was extra ambitious, I’d even say it could be a Top 25 Films on Sacramental Ontology.  For now, “Waking Up” is probably easier to define unless someone else persuasively advocates for a better theme description.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, J.A.A. Purves said:

I nominated “Top 25 Films on Waking Up” because I’ve always thought that there had to be a collection of stories along the lines of waking up to the joys and treasures of life - or, waking up to the spiritual world around us - to the sacred - to, as Charles Taylor might say, “windows.”  Ikiru is certainly one of the major films of this theme.  Joe Versus the Volcano is another.  I have always wanted to put together a list of similar films with this same affinity, but they all wouldn’t have to have a main character who suddenly has a death sentence, and also I’d really prefer that we managed to leave a film like American Beauty out of it.  Instead, I am interested in a list of films about characters or people who are awake - or who become awake - or who know someone who is awake - and realize that there is far more in the world around them than meets the eye.  One might even say that this could be a Top 25 Films Against Cartesian Dualism.

Indeed, I’m interested far more in the idea and theme than I am tied to a specific name.  As far as I’m concerned, this same list could be entitled Top 25 Films on Re-enchantment ... on the Unknown Country ... on Sehnsucht ... on Holy Fools ... on Going Further Up and Further In.  If I was extra ambitious, I’d even say it could be a Top 25 Films on Sacramental Ontology.  For now, “Waking Up” is probably easier to define unless someone else persuasively advocates for a better theme description.

 

I'm intrigued by this topic, but before I second it, I wondered if films in which characters "awaken" to the opposite of what you describe (the section I highlighted) would be welcome?  I don't necessarily want to advocate for darker stories, but it occurred to me that there are many films which feature characters awakening to a world that is not joyful or spiritual, and how they have to navigate in those environments.  Blue Velvet would be an example of what I'm referring to.  In fact, I think Kyle MacLachlan's Jefrey Beaumont says something to the effect that he has awoken to a world that was always there, but hidden or kept secret.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As to Top 25 topics, I love "waking up," and am also intrigued by "coming-of-age" and "musicals."

I like Ken's idea for a Top 100 book, but a new list for the board needs a little more time. Ken, this kind of book might go over well with McFarland, which does pay royalties to editors, but not--alas--to contributors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there any interest in revisiting the "Films about Government" idea?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Ryan H. said:

Is there any interest in revisiting the "Films about Government" idea?

You know, that might actually turn out to be more prescient this year...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Ryan H. said:

Is there any interest in revisiting the "Films about Government" idea?

 

2 hours ago, Darryl A. Armstrong said:

You know, that might actually turn out to be more prescient this year...

Most likely it would be more prescient this year, but I for one hope we go in another direction.  I'm probably not alone in thinking this, but right now I looking for a distraction from that particular topic.

That being said, Ryan I'm glad you brought up a topic that received high consideration in a past ballot.  I had gone back through the past polls yesterday, and made a list of 2nd and 3rd place finishers that we might want to consider again.

2012 - Westerns (2nd place) - "Holy Fools" on the Big Screen (3rd place)

2013 - Clergy - Education - Long Takes - Recovery (all tied for 3rd place) - Memory was 2nd place.

2014 - Coming of Age (3rd place) - Memory was 2nd place once again.

2015 - No poll - Memory was given the spot.

2016 - Crime & Punishment (2nd place) - Government (3rd place)

FYI - Looking at the total votes cast in the "theme polls" over the years we get the following numbers...

2011 - No poll was taken, as the topic of Horror was pre-chosen.

2012 - 26 total votes were cast

2013 - 27 total votes were cast

2014 - 40 total votes were cast

2015 - Memory was decided on, as it had closely finished 2nd in the previous 2 polls

2016 - 35 total votes were cast in the preliminary poll - 29 total votes were cast in the runoff poll

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the goal is to release a top 100 list next year, then we probably shouldn't wait until next year to get started. I doubt we need to start now, but it might be nice to have an extended nomination/voting time.

As to "Films About Government," I'm open to it, but I worry such a list might be saturated with really cynical and really dark entries, especially considering how most of us feel about the way the US government is going.

I like "Crime and Punishment" as a theme; I also like the idea of "Waking Up," but me might want to refine the latter, because I worry it would be too broad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Evan C said:

As to "Films About Government," I'm open to it, but I worry such a list might be saturated with really cynical and really dark entries, especially considering how most of us feel about the way the US government is going.

That would be a consideration. But I suspect we here might put together a list that might serve as a mirror but also something of a counter balance to the cynical and dark energies. I am certainly interested right now in the intersection of art, faith and politics.

That said, I'm not sure how much I want to advocate for this theme, but at the moment it would have my vote from the themes put forth. Lean into it, I say. Or to quote Churchill, “If you're going through hell, keep going.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd be up for films about government/governing and films about awakening (as long as we can manage to keep The Matrix off the list...). There's certainly a danger that the former choice would be too cynical, but it could be that we could also emphasize some sort of redemptive vision (the process of making lists is itself redemptive, but I mean in the sense of broadcasting a better way).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/4/2017 at 7:00 PM, John Drew said:

I'm intrigued by this topic, but before I second it, I wondered if films in which characters "awaken" to the opposite of what you describe (the section I highlighted) would be welcome?  I don't necessarily want to advocate for darker stories, but it occurred to me that there are many films which feature characters awakening to a world that is not joyful or spiritual, and how they have to navigate in those environments.  Blue Velvet would be an example of what I'm referring to.  In fact, I think Kyle MacLachlan's Jefrey Beaumont says something to the effect that he has awoken to a world that was always there, but hidden or kept secret.

I certainly would not be opposed to including a film or two about waking up to the realities of evil, but I wouldn't want to do the list if those films took over.  There is a sense in which a vast majority of horror films are about otherwise oblivious characters who have to suddenly wake up to the reality of evil and, while I admire the films that do this with moral imagination (say Derrickson’s Exorcism of Emily Rose and Deliver Us From Evil), for purposes of making a “Top 25 Films on Waking Up” list unique I am more interested in stories that are more holistically interested waking up the spiritual reality, including both good and evil (see Pan’s Labyrinth).  We’ve done a Top 25 Horror Films already.

The waking up to a sense of wonder and spiritual reality that I am going for here would, in most cases, be lost if the character ends with an education in evil alone.  In fact, I’d argue that there is something unhealthy about focusing only on the spiritual reality of evil.  Evil, by definition, is unreal in the sense that it has no existence or being in and of itself.  It is parasitic, unable to create only to twist.  So the idea of waking up to only evil is, in another sense, profoundly incomplete.  It would be a waking up only to a kind of unreality, which I think we could all agree is not the sort of list we would like to make.  There is, as they said in Narnia, a deeper magic.

Thinking of a certain David Foster Wallace speech, another way of thinking about a “Top 25 Films on Waking Up” could be considering it a “Top 25 Films on Losing One’s Default Settings.”  Default settings that make one blinkered, asleep, or unaware seems to be a pretty common problem of our age.  A list of films about getting out of that would be, for me, exciting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/8/2017 at 4:17 PM, Evan C said:

If the goal is to release a top 100 list next year, then we probably shouldn't wait until next year to get started. I doubt we need to start now, but it might be nice to have an extended nomination/voting time.

I think this is important.  At the very least, we might want to start a discussion thread on the logistics, procedure, goals, and purposes of our next Top 100 list sooner than later.

Also, if we were to decide to try to release a Top 100 List along with a companion book, there will need to be a certain amount of work done in 2017 to make that happen, even if the book were only to reach publication a year or two later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, J.A.A. Purves said:

Thinking of a certain David Foster Wallace speech, another way of thinking about a “Top 25 Films on Waking Up” could be considering it a “Top 25 Films on Losing One’s Default Settings.”  Default settings that make one blinkered, asleep, or unaware seems to be a pretty common problem of our age.  A list of films about getting out of that would be, for me, exciting.

So... The 25 Most Woke Films? B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, J.A.A. Purves said:

Thinking of a certain David Foster Wallace speech, another way of thinking about a “Top 25 Films on Waking Up” could be considering it a “Top 25 Films on Losing One’s Default Settings.”  Default settings that make one blinkered, asleep, or unaware seems to be a pretty common problem of our age.  A list of films about getting out of that would be, for me, exciting.

I'm getting a David Dark vibe off this comment and I'm digging it. My only hesitation is that I'm having trouble thinking of movies that fit the precise parameters described; most "waking up" movies I can think of are things like They Live or (sigh) The Matrix--the idea being that the default settings exist to blind us to a Dark, Horrible Truth. Other than (maybe) a Miyazaki film or two, what movies present escaping the "default settings" as anything other than disillusionment in both the strictest and the more broadly popular senses?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm new here and have only viewed a couple of the most recent lists along with the top 100, so I apologize if the idea I am about to suggest has been done already or if being new I am unaware of anything that may make it inappropriate for me to post a suggestion yet. Seeing the previous proposal about government and the concern that the films could reflect too dark of an outlook inspired in me the idea of looking into films about reconciliation. The political environment in the U.S. right now has highlighted much division, especially in religious circles in the country, and has created new points of contention as well. Instead of focusing too much on the government itself, we can focus on the spiritual answers to the problems we find in our political climate, namely our responsibility to be peacemakers. The first movies that come to my mind within this topic of reconciliation are Metropolis ("There can be no understanding between the hands and the brain unless the heart acts as its mediator," reads the final title card before two former enemies join hands and form an alliance that will dramatically change that culture for the better) and The Color Purple (an entire community is transformed through the reconciliation of individuals formerly at enmity, even to the degree that a horrifically abusive character eventually extends an attempt to make peace with his victim). 

 

Thank you,

Ed

Edited by EdB99

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/11/2017 at 8:59 AM, NBooth said:

I'm getting a David Dark vibe off this comment and I'm digging it. My only hesitation is that I'm having trouble thinking of movies that fit the precise parameters described; most "waking up" movies I can think of are things like They Live or (sigh) The Matrix--the idea being that the default settings exist to blind us to a Dark, Horrible Truth. Other than (maybe) a Miyazaki film or two, what movies present escaping the "default settings" as anything other than disillusionment in both the strictest and the more broadly popular senses?

Yeah, I share your concerns.

Didn't we throw around the Top 25 Crime Movies a few times? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/15/2017 at 6:26 PM, Ryan H. said:

Yeah, I share your concerns.

Didn't we throw around the Top 25 Crime Movies a few times? 

We did, but I think that is what got renamed Crime & Punishment.

The more I think about it, the more I like NBooth's Small Town/Village theme.  It feels like there are so many possibilities there, a world wide range of films from many eras, which I think the best of our lists exemplify.  It also is closest to another of my favorite themes thrown out there, Joel's Coming of Age theme.  So many of the films I think about when considering that topic also fit into NBooth's suggestion.

I know we're getting down to crunch time her, but I'm going to throw out another possible theme.  This one is kind of personal, but I think many here might be able to relate.  My stepson recently went into the Marines - toughed out the grueling basic training while suffering from both bronchitis and a strained hamstring, both of which hit him less than 10 days in (he missed by 2 points becoming the battalion's lead marksman).  Talking over his experience with him, he was quick to say that any preconceived notions of idealism or romanticism he may have had going in was quickly erased.  I didn't know what changes might occur within him during this time, but he told me that it was his faith that got him through as pretty much the same decent/caring person he always had been.  He went in with two friends, whom he said really changed in attitude - not for the better - which for my stepson was very sad.  He said that may have been the toughest lesson to learn, that not everyone is going to hold onto the standards they had going in.

Anyway, his experience got me to thinking about this - Top 25 Films about Idealism vs Reality.  Films that examine characters whose perceptions about certain conditions are not always in line with the reality of those situations. Some films that come to mind...

  • Amelie
  • The Mission
  • Sicario
  • Gallipoli
  • The Big Chill
  • The Candidate
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

 

 

Edited by John Drew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could someone compile a list of all nominated themes? If I'm keeping track we have:

  • Idealism vs Reality
  • Small Towns/Villages
  • Waking Up
  • Coming of Age
  • Crime and Punishment
  • Films About Government

At this point, I'd lean toward Crime and Punishment, although Small Towns intrigues me a lot too (mostly because we definitely need Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me on at least one of our lists.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Evan C said:

we definitely need Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me on at least one of our lists.)

Yes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now