Mr. Arkadin

Arts & Faith 2017 Top 25 Topic Poll

2017 Top 25 Topic   25 members have voted

  1. 1. What should the 2017 Top 25 topic be?

    • Films about coming of age
      5
    • Films about crime and punishment
      4
    • Films about cultural upheaval
      2
    • Films about government
      2
    • Films about idealism vs. reality
      0
    • Films about small towns
      2
    • Films about "waking up"
      9

Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.

27 posts in this topic

I'm curious if the voting method for the Top 25 Topic poll has been discussed? Using a simple plurality/ first past the post/ single vote system like in a Congressional race doesn't seem like it would be the method that would most accurately reflect the will of the group in choosing a topic. For example, what if no topic has a majority and "coming of age" receives the most votes, but only one more vote than "cultural upheaval," and let's say "cultural upheaval" was everyone else's second choice. I'd say "cultural upheaval" might more accurately reflect the interest at large. Has a preferential/ ranked list/ instant runoff system been considered? That's how the Oscar for Best Picture is chosen. I'm not suggesting a change to this vote that's already in progress, just wondering if the system has been considered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

So far, only 13 people  have voted, so if we're really looking for "interest at large," we need more voters :)

Edited by BethR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I voted for "Waking Up," because I could envision a number of films I would want to see on that list, but also because I think that this community and the faith angle would add something unique to the topic beyond what other groups of cinephiles/critics/scholars would.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Waking Up" seems to be the topic with the most momentum (so far, at least).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/10/2017 at 2:47 AM, Anders said:

I voted for "Waking Up," because I could envision a number of films I would want to see on that list, but also because I think that this community and the faith angle would add something unique to the topic beyond what other groups of cinephiles/critics/scholars would.

Same here. 'Coming of Age' is a classic theme, and one we should probably do at some point, but this one just excited me more. It allows so much room for interpretation and hence gives real value to the different perspectives people bring. Plus, as you said, 'Waking Up' is just such a Faith-full theme.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

*Sigh.* Perhaps "Coming of Age" will pull through, as I still believe it's a rich subject worth considering and discussing in this community, and it's so much more than simply bildungsroman or "films about childhood"--in fact, "waking up" and "coming of age" have a lot of overlap, IMO, with the latter having a bit clearer definition in terms of genre and scope. Perhaps "Coming of Age" will win the electoral college, if not the popular vote.

I do hope that more A&F folks take the time to vote this week, as having less than 20 votes at the moment feels like we could be missing some key voices or perspectives.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've done run-off votes before, so we could do that and see whether "Coming of Age" or "Waking Up" wins.

Share this post


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

We've done run-off votes before, so we could do that and see whether "Coming of Age" or "Waking Up" wins.

I didn't vote for either, but "coming of age" was my second choice. Honestly, most of these topics seem great, and I'm just looking forward to participating.

 

On 3/12/2017 at 7:01 AM, Anodos said:

'Coming of Age' is a classic theme, and one we should probably do at some point

As a Cubs fan, I'm used to saying "there's always next year" (till last year of course) :)

Share this post


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

We've done run-off votes before, so we could do that and see whether "Coming of Age" or "Waking Up" wins.

If they're really that close, I'm open to this, but I would also be very happy exploring films on "waking up." Really, all of the options are quite unique, intriguing, and timely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since it looks like "Waking Up" is going to be the winner, I want to ask for some clarifications now, specifically as to how it's different from, "movies in which a character has moral growth and development," because that is a broad definition which would encompass a lot of movies. I see that in his description of the theme, Jeremy says he's trying to cultivate a list in which characters wake up to appreciate the "joys and treasures of life," and then later clarified with:

On 1/10/2017 at 3:09 PM, 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 really like this description, but I'm still worried it's not definitive enough. For instance, if I just select titles across my DVD shelf:

  • 12 Angry Men - Henry Fonda wakes up the rest of the jury to the injustice of condemning the kid.
  • GoodFellas - After fantasizing the glamor of the mob life, Ray Liotta ultimately wakes up to its ugly realities.
  • Coraline - Coraline wakes up to realize the dangers of a world that gives her everything she wants, and that her parents aren't as awful as she thought.
  • Men In Black - Will Smith wakes up to the alien world surrounding us.
  • Schindler's List - Schindler wakes up to the plight of the Jews.
  • Minority Report - Tom Cruise wakes up to the corruption of a system he enforced after it turns against him.
  • Mary Poppins - She wakes up all members of the Banks' family.
  • Shadow of a Doubt - Teresa Wright loses her youthful naivete, and wakes up to the evil of her beloved uncle.
  • Spellbound - Ingrid Bergman helps Gregory Peck wake up to the reality of his past.
  • Pan's Labyrinth - Ofelia wakes up to the evil that surrounds her as well as the fantasy world.
  • Quiz Show - Ralph Fiennes wakes up to the corruption of TV, and then wakes up again to repent of his cooperation.
  • Tsotsi - He wakes up to recognize the evil of his life and take responsibility.

I don't think we'd want all these titles, and I know I wouldn't, so before we start nominating (and before the poll closes) I'm interested to know if there's a way to make waking up more specific.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, there's a vagueness to the topic I resist (I didn't vote for it, myself). It needs some boundaries.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't either, though I don't mind doing it as a list. I would think that "waking up" is more apocalyptic (in the David Dark sense) than simple moral growth and development--more vertiginous than, say, Minority Report. Something like (sigh) The Matrix or They Live seems more in line with the description provided, though (importantly) neither of those is about waking up to beauty and wonder. Maybe Malick has something about waking up to beauty and wonder, but I should think that kind of movie is vanishingly rare.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The topic seems made for Tree of Life (which is probably why I resisted the topic in general; that film clashes with my sensibilities a bit).

But, yes, thinking of it in apocalyptic terms is probably the way to go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, NBooth said:

I didn't either, though I don't mind doing it as a list. I would think that "waking up" is more apocalyptic (in the David Dark sense) than simple moral growth and development--more vertiginous than, say, Minority Report. Something like (sigh) The Matrix or They Live seems more in line with the description provided, though (importantly) neither of those is about waking up to beauty and wonder. Maybe Malick has something about waking up to beauty and wonder, but I should think that kind of movie is vanishingly rare.

I don't mind doing it as a list either; with the right definitions, I think it could be a really great list. At the same time, you voiced my concern on the other end: that it turns into an A&F greatest hits list.

The Thin Red Line, Tree of Life, Ikiru, Wings of Desire, Ordet, Babette's Feast, Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal, Magnolia, Sullivan's Travels, The Apostle, Jesus of Montreal, The Flowers of St. Francis, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Seems like more of the regulars would actually prefer 'coming of age'... it doesn't bother me if we switch it. You may be right that 'waking up' is too broad/ambiguous a theme. I thought it might provoke more discussion, but it might just mean the list lacks any sort of cohesion. 'Coming of age' would probably generate more interest, and although a common theme I'm sure we could put our own (somewhat) unique spin on it.

Anyway, these polls ain't legally binding, missy. Them's more like...guidelines.

Share this post


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

For instance, if I just select titles across my DVD shelf:

  • 12 Angry Men - Henry Fonda wakes up the rest of the jury to the injustice of condemning the kid.
  • GoodFellas - After fantasizing the glamor of the mob life, Ray Liotta ultimately wakes up to its ugly realities.
  • Coraline - Coraline wakes up to realize the dangers of a world that gives her everything she wants, and that her parents aren't as awful as she thought.
  • Men In Black - Will Smith wakes up to the alien world surrounding us.
  • Schindler's List - Schindler wakes up to the plight of the Jews.
  • Minority Report - Tom Cruise wakes up to the corruption of a system he enforced after it turns against him.
  • Mary Poppins - She wakes up all members of the Banks' family.
  • Shadow of a Doubt - Teresa Wright loses her youthful naivete, and wakes up to the evil of her beloved uncle.
  • Spellbound - Ingrid Bergman helps Gregory Peck wake up to the reality of his past.
  • Pan's Labyrinth - Ofelia wakes up to the evil that surrounds her as well as the fantasy world.
  • Quiz Show - Ralph Fiennes wakes up to the corruption of TV, and then wakes up again to repent of his cooperation.
  • Tsotsi - He wakes up to recognize the evil of his life and take responsibility.

As the one who came up with the idea in the first place, I can definitively say that if we do not limit what we want "waking up" to mean, then it is not worth doing the list.  I do see two major limitations that should be obvious.  The first major limitation I've been assuming all along is that the list will actually deal with spiritual/theological themes.  This excludes "waking up" to just any realization or reality, and instead would focus the film on "waking up" to spiritual realities.  (And I think, Evan, eliminates the vast majority of what you wrote above.)  The second major limitation that I think could be tacitly agreed upon is that, given that we have already done a Top 25 horror list, that we avoid focusing on "waking up" to the reality of evil (which is basically any spiritually significant horror film).

Finally, we do not want to just select 25 films from our Top 100 list.  Therefore, it would be an engaging work of film criticism for us to essentially focus in upon films like Joe Versus the Volcano (stories where a character does undergo a sort of conversion experience that wakes him up to the spiritual world).

Here's another way of looking at it.  Given all the the above, think of what Movieguide would produce by making a list of Top 25 Conversion Films.  Then think of Kirk Cameron saying the sinner's prayer and everything else that would be wrong about such a list.  Then think of how to make Top 25 list that would avoid those problems with a less reductionist view of spiritual conversion that would be the opposite of what Movieguide would come up with.  "Waking Up" is just a way of naming it differently, but I still think it would be a serious way in producing the kind of recommendations that cannot be found anywhere else in the world of film criticism.

I would personally enjoy making a "Coming of Age" or "Crime and Punishment" list.  But if we do "Waking Up," then let's make something that can't be found anywhere else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

So "waking up" should be glossed as "conversion"? I can dig that, though I wouldn't want to limit the list to positive examples (um...just off the top of my head, and no one including myself would suggest it, but Revenge of the Sith is a conversion movie, in its own way. More sensibly, perhaps, so is Nineteen Eighty-Four).

Edited by NBooth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

4 hours ago, NBooth said:

So "waking up" should be glossed as "conversion"? 

This is kind of what I was afraid of, and why I voted for "coming of age."  I understand that the site and list is geared mostly to Christian readers and viewers, so no hard feelings on my part, but as a non-believer I'll be sitting this one out.

Edited by Andrew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought films about waking up could just be this:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Andrew said:

This is kind of what I was afraid of, and why I voted for "coming of age."  I understand that the site and list is geared mostly to Christian readers and viewers, so no hard feelings on my part, but as a non-believer I'll be sitting this one out.

I hope you reconsider, Andrew. Since a conversion is a process of changing one's beliefs - or literally, a turning around - I don't see why that should exclude atheists. And while we are a faith based community, films like Joe Versus the Volcano and Ikiru (one of the few top 100's I would want on such a list) are about conversions, or waking up to a greater reality and turning one's life around, that are applicable to all of humanity, regardless of religious affiliation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, Evan C said:

I hope you reconsider, Andrew. Since a conversion is a process of changing one's beliefs - or literally, a turning around - I don't see why that should exclude atheists. 

Emphatically agreed.

Share this post


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

I hope you reconsider, Andrew. Since a conversion is a process of changing one's beliefs - or literally, a turning around - I don't see why that should exclude atheists. And while we are a faith based community, films like Joe Versus the Volcano and Ikiru (one of the few top 100's I would want on such a list) are about conversions, or waking up to a greater reality and turning one's life around, that are applicable to all of humanity, regardless of religious affiliation.

This comment makes a lot of sense. It seems to me that "conversion" in the traditional sense of religious affiliation or belief is only one form of (or maybe even more accurately one possible byproduct of) spiritually "waking up."

Andrew, I don't know you at all, but I just want to say that I'd value a list of "spiritual awakening" films even more if I knew that it had the input of a nonbeliever or someone who was generally skeptical of "spiritual" things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Again, and I can emphasize this, imagine the "Top 25 Films on Conversion" that someone like Ted Baehr would create.  Then, imagine us doing the opposite of that and calling it "Top 25 Films on Waking Up."  I believe such a list would focus on stories where characters' eyes' are opened to spiritual realities, both with and/or without institutionalized religious contexts.  I would want to craft the list in such a way that it is attractive, challenging, and inspiring to any thinking person, wherever that person may currently be in thinking through what he or she believes.

Share this post


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

Again, and I can emphasize this, imagine the "Top 25 Films on Conversion" that someone like Ted Baehr would create.  Then, imagine us doing the opposite of that and calling it "Top 25 Films on Waking Up."  I believe such a list would focus on stories where characters' eyes' are opened to spiritual realities, both with and/or without institutionalized religious contexts.  I would want to craft the list in such a way that it is attractive, challenging, and inspiring to any thinking person, wherever that person may currently be in thinking through what he or she believes.

I like this approach very much and it is more or less what I had in mind when I voted for "films on waking up."

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