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Top 25: Discussion for Nominations on Growing Older

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You can choose not to vote on any given film in the poll. Previous polls have stated that not voting on a film means "haven't seen it." A minimum absolute number of votes has always been required for a film to qualify, but as I recall it's been a fairly low number, like 5.

Edited by Rushmore

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18 minutes ago, Rushmore said:

You can choose not to vote on any given film in the poll. Previous polls have stated that not voting on a film means "haven't seen it." A minimum absolute number of votes has always been required for a film to qualify, but as I recall it's been a fairly low number, like 5.

That seems low to me. I would think that a film, to be on the list, out to have been seen by a majority of people voting (51%), but I realize that might discourage some people from voting if they haven't seen a lot of films and don't want to be the cause of a film not making it. Could also end up in a list that is lowest common denominator--what people have seen as opposed to what they think best. Perhaps we could make having seen a certain percentage of nominated/second films a condition of voting? Or is that too exclusive? Right now we seem to have around 70 films that have been seconded, and a quick glance shows me about 10 I haven't seen, so I'm in like an 85% range (and I tend to think of myself, rightly or wrongly, as being fairly well read/viewed). Is 50% an unrealistic expectation? 

I am open to suggestions for how to handle this. Don't freak out if you disagree (please), just brainstorming here and realizing I have no realistic sense of how "typical" my viewing habits are in comparison to others who are participating. My goals are that I would like a list that is a true reflection of the people here, who are participating, not one that is a reflection of a handful of people here who have seen everything or that reflects only a handful of movies that everyone has seen. 

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On 2/4/2019 at 8:28 PM, Evan C said:

Voting was a scale of 1-5 (like the Ecumenical Jury) with 5 being strongly agree and 1 being strongly disagree.

As to what the 1-5 meant, I think that was pretty much up to individuals, no? I remember seeing the final scores of one or more of the past Top 25 lists, and I think that all 25 of the films were between 4 and 5. Because of that, when I voted last time, I thought of 5 really being the only score for films that I thought should be on the list since a 4 was a score that was below the scores of the films that would most likely actually end up on the list. Scores of 1-4 were more for how much I thought that a film shouldn't be on the list. But I'd be fine with a more delineated set of meanings for each 1-5 score.

 

On 2/5/2019 at 11:58 AM, kenmorefield said:

I would definitely like to see a second round, even if it is optional, to rank finalists. I could see myself giving multiple films a "5" but having a strong opinion about which should rank higher.

I strongly agree!

How does this work with the Ecumenical Jury?

It would be good if there were a little time to catch up with a few more of the films once we know which will be on the Top 25. I also think that the second round of ranking should include films over the limit for each director that would have otherwise been in the Top 25. Four Kurosawa films might conceivably be in the Top 25, but not all will make the final list because of the limit on films per director. It would still be good to have a chance to rank them, too, to determine which ones make it.

April 1 was mentioned as a date to end the nominations period.

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5 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

That seems low to me. I would think that a film, to be on the list, out to have been seen by a majority of people voting (51%), but I realize that might discourage some people from voting if they haven't seen a lot of films and don't want to be the cause of a film not making it. Could also end up in a list that is lowest common denominator--what people have seen as opposed to what they think best.

Someone who has tallied votes in the past could have a better sense of this, but the 51% doesn't seem like a worthwhile parameter for making the list more representative. it's great if this list includes some relatively underseen yet strongly liked gems, I think. A lowest common denominator list shouldn't be the implicit goal, whether or not that might actually happen given the other voting mechanisms. It would be interesting to know how many have seen each film, but a relatively low absolute number threshold seems fine to me.

 

5 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

Perhaps we could make having seen a certain percentage of nominated/second films a condition of voting? Or is that too exclusive?

I think that's too exclusive

 

5 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

Right now we seem to have around 70 films that have been seconded, and a quick glance shows me about 10 I haven't seen, so I'm in like an 85% range (and I tend to think of myself, rightly or wrongly, as being fairly well read/viewed). Is 50% an unrealistic expectation? 

Without doing a precise count, I'm currently in the 50% range. I'll only speak for myself, but I think it might be unrealistic for me to have seen 50% once it's time to vote. Again, I'm not sure how this expectation would translate into a more representative list considering the 1-5 voting mechanism that's been used. If you've seen more films, you get to vote on more films, and thus have more say on whether or not those films make the list.

 

5 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

I am open to suggestions for how to handle this. Don't freak out if you disagree (please), just brainstorming here and realizing I have no realistic sense of how "typical" my viewing habits are in comparison to others who are participating. My goals are that I would like a list that is a true reflection of the people here, who are participating, not one that is a reflection of a handful of people here who have seen everything or that reflects only a handful of movies that everyone has seen. 

Thanks for these qualifications. Again just speaking for myself, I think I am younger than average here and also I don't really work with film as a professional focus, which means I've seen fewer films than most here. I'd hate for anyone (including myself!) to be excluded because of these kinds of parameters.

The place to have some kind of requirement for having seen a certain percentage of the films could be in a second round for ranking.

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We've always asked everyone to abstain from voting on a film if they haven't seen it. Last time, the cutoff for a film's eligibility was 50% of the voters having voted on it. I'm not sure if it was different in previous years.

6 hours ago, Rob Z said:

As to what the 1-5 meant, I think that was pretty much up to individuals, no? I remember seeing the final scores of one or more of the past Top 25 lists, and I think that all 25 of the films were between 4 and 5. Because of that, when I voted last time, I thought of 5 really being the only score for films that I thought should be on the list since a 4 was a score that was below the scores of the films that would most likely actually end up on the list. Scores of 1-4 were more for how much I thought that a film shouldn't be on the list. But I'd be fine with a more delineated set of meanings for each 1-5 score.

How to apply the rankings to each film was and is up to each individual. 5 and 4 are both votes in a film's favor with 5 being a stronger vote, but both of them will contribute to a higher average for a film. 3 is neutral, and 2 and 1 are votes against a film. Personally, I've used 5 for anything I think is essential, 4 for anything I'd be happy to see on the list, 3 for something I don't care either way, 2 for something I don't think is a good fit, and 1 for anything I really don't think belongs on the list. And I limit the number of 4's and 5's I give, in order to leave room for other people's favorites and for anything I haven't seen, so it's possible a film I like might get a 3, because I just feel stronger about enough other films on the ballot.

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1 hour ago, Evan C said:

We've always asked everyone to abstain from voting on a film if they haven't seen it. Last time, the cutoff for a film's eligibility was 50% of the voters having voted on it. I'm not sure if it was different in previous years.

How to apply the rankings to each film was and is up to each individual. 5 and 4 are both votes in a film's favor with 5 being a stronger vote, but both of them will contribute to a higher average for a film. 3 is neutral, and 2 and 1 are votes against a film. Personally, I've used 5 for anything I think is essential, 4 for anything I'd be happy to see on the list, 3 for something I don't care either way, 2 for something I don't think is a good fit, and 1 for anything I really don't think belongs on the list. And I limit the number of 4's and 5's I give, in order to leave room for other people's favorites and for anything I haven't seen, so it's possible a film I like might get a 3, because I just feel stronger about enough other films on the ballot.

I think Sentence #1 remains essential and is indisputable for an honest list ("Citizen Kane is supposed to be the greatest film ever, so I guess I'd better vote for it" should never guide list-making.)

I'm far more open to discussion on the cutoff for a film's eligibility mentioned in Sentence #2.  I'd be OK with slightly under 50% personally, to give room for great works that don't have a wide audience.

My own ranking is similar:  5 is essential, 4 is near-essential, 3 is an ok fit but I'm rather meh about it, 2 is no, 1 is absolutely hell no.

I don't think it's a bad idea to request 50% viewership of the list as a qualifier for voting, as long as we leave 6-8 weeks between the formation of the voting list and the close of voting.  So far anyway, the list of seconded films is a nice mix of the popular, classic, and esoteric, which would make this requirement doable for any serious film lover.

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I nominated Kitchen Stories, a charming story about a Swedish man with a very strange job for which he is supposed to unassumingly and impartially survey the kitchen habits of a 60-something Norwegian bachelor. He does so from a chair built high in the kitchen where he can see everything his subject does without being tempted to have conversations with him. Both men have aged but not really grown in any meaningful way until they meet and break the rules of the survey. Through the friendship they change each other in ways that heals the years of loneliness and hurt both have endured. The illegal friendship makes them better able to live out the rest of their lives in healthy, productive ways. As an aside, although not relevant to the list, I must add that it's one of the funniest movies I've ever seen, and I hope those who haven't seen it will seek it out.

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I seconded Overstreet's nomination of Apted's documentary 35 Up, but I wonder why this particular installment of the series was chosen rather than, for example, 56 Up--or indeed, the entire 7 Up series? Any comments appreciated.

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11 hours ago, Andrew said:

I think Sentence #1 remains essential and is indisputable for an honest list ("Citizen Kane is supposed to be the greatest film ever, so I guess I'd better vote for it" should never guide list-making.)

I'm far more open to discussion on the cutoff for a film's eligibility mentioned in Sentence #2.  I'd be OK with slightly under 50% personally, to give room for great works that don't have a wide audience.

 

1

How does the following strike people?
1) Proposed dates: Nominations open until April 1; Round 1 Voting April 1-21; Optional Round 2 Voting (Ranking the Top 25 films from Round 1) April 22-28; announce list April 29th and begin assigning blurbs. This does have the downside that I am going to Ireland on May 13, so I'm running into end-of-semester, but I suspect there will be plenty of help if I need it and the posting/creation of a page isn't quite as urgent since we are not attached to Image's schedule. (We can discuss whether we want to do a book then, or we could set up the book contract before and assign chapters then.)

Eligibility Option A:

We set a threshold (to be determined) and state that if that percentage of voters haven't seen the film, it can't make the list.At the Ecumenical Jury, it is usually 50%, but given the fluctuations in membership here, I'm open to a lower percentage. (40%? 35%?)

Eligibility Option B:

We set a relatively low threshold for eligibility of a film, but adjust the film's score in Round 1 accordingly: For example, we set the threshold at 20%, but we deduct an amount (to be determined) from the film's total average score. Hypothetically, let's say that is 0.3. A film that had been seen by a smaller cadre but scored consistently higher, might see its score reduced from 4.5 to 4.2 but still make the list, over a film with a score of 4.0. 

One issue I see with Option B is it could incentivize people to inflate scores for films they perceive as not being widely seen, but those films would still need some strong consensus among its promoters. 

Still just brainstorming. Open to other ideas. 

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I forgot to mention another option:

--one round of voting only, but respondents rank every film seconded that they have seen. This is what happens in some critics' groups, albeit with a much smaller number of nominees. The plus side is that there is no need to tally how many have seen a film as that is built into the ranking (someone might rank a film they haven't seen higher than one they have seen and disliked but is rarely going to rank it very high). The negative side is that this tends to greatly favor those films that have been more widely seen, making it nearly impossible for the esoteric choices to score high. 

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3 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

1) Proposed dates: Nominations open until April 1; Round 1 Voting April 1-21; Optional Round 2 Voting (Ranking the Top 25 films from Round 1) April 22-28; announce list April 29th and begin assigning blurbs. This does have the downside that I am going to Ireland on May 13, so I'm running into end-of-semester, but I suspect there will be plenty of help if I need it and the posting/creation of a page isn't quite as urgent since we are not attached to Image's schedule. (We can discuss whether we want to do a book then, or we could set up the book contract before and assign chapters then.)

Eligibility Option A:

We set a threshold (to be determined) and state that if that percentage of voters haven't seen the film, it can't make the list.At the Ecumenical Jury, it is usually 50%, but given the fluctuations in membership here, I'm open to a lower percentage. (40%? 35%?)

I like this set of options. Gives plenty of time to nominate films and see the nominees. I'll also be somewhat busy in May, but certainly can vote and write a blurb. I think the Ecumenical Jury format works pretty well, unless we want to lower the percentage of voters who have to see a film. One of this year's EJ Top 10 films just barely made it in because it had been seen by exactly half of voters, and received very high scores from everyone who'd seen it.

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Just a few thoughts.

1 hour ago, kenmorefield said:

1) Proposed dates: Nominations open until April 1; Round 1 Voting April 1-21

Voting would begin the day after the final day for nominations, right? April 21 is Easter.

2 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

Optional Round 2 Voting (Ranking the Top 25 films from Round 1) April 22-28;

I know it's optional, but it might be nice to have more than one week for this.

2 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

(We can discuss whether we want to do a book then, or we could set up the book contract before and assign chapters then.) 

Discussion for the companion book was for the Top 100, I thought--or was it both?

2 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

Eligibility Option A:

We set a threshold (to be determined) and state that if that percentage of voters haven't seen the film, it can't make the list.At the Ecumenical Jury, it is usually 50%, but given the fluctuations in membership here, I'm open to a lower percentage. (40%? 35%?)

 

14 hours ago, Andrew said:

I'd be OK with slightly under 50% personally, to give room for great works that don't have a wide audience.

I agree that under 50% is fine. It's hard to say what the line should be precisely considering these two factors (membership fluctuation and underseen gems) and the desire for the list to reflect some kind of consensus. Did films regularly get left off the lists in the past for lack of a sufficient percentage of voters?

2 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

Eligibility Option B:

We set a relatively low threshold for eligibility of a film, but adjust the film's score in Round 1 accordingly: For example, we set the threshold at 20%, but we deduct an amount (to be determined) from the film's total average score. Hypothetically, let's say that is 0.3. A film that had been seen by a smaller cadre but scored consistently higher, might see its score reduced from 4.5 to 4.2 but still make the list, over a film with a score of 4.0. 

One issue I see with Option B is it could incentivize people to inflate scores for films they perceive as not being widely seen, but those films would still need some strong consensus among its promoters.  

This is also gets at the trick of finding that balance/line. But this seems too unclear as to how it would actually translate into changes, or making the list more reflective of the voting of the group. I'd stick with Option A.

2 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

I forgot to mention another option:

--one round of voting only, but respondents rank every film seconded that they have seen. This is what happens in some critics' groups, albeit with a much smaller number of nominees. The plus side is that there is no need to tally how many have seen a film as that is built into the ranking (someone might rank a film they haven't seen higher than one they have seen and disliked but is rarely going to rank it very high). The negative side is that this tends to greatly favor those films that have been more widely seen, making it nearly impossible for the esoteric choices to score high

This is really interesting, and I love this idea in principle. But it would definitely skew towards the more widely seen / lowest common denominator. The way to make an single round ranking more meaningful would be to require a certain minimum number of films to be seen (say, 50 hypothetically [it would be at least 25 for this list, I'd think]) and then adjust everyone's rankings on a 1-50 scale. So if someone had seen 53 films their 1 & 2 would be scored as "1," their 3 & 4 would be "2," 4 & 5 would be "3" and their remaining 47 films would be ranked 4-50. (The doubling could be done at the bottom, or anywhere really and that could be done by the ranker or the counter.) Then the ranks assigned by each person for of each film would be averaged to give it it's score, so it wouldn't matter how many total had seen it. This is a pretty straightforward mechanism, but it's not as simple as the 1-5 scale, and would require a lot more work for each voter (which might discourage people from voting). It would just be simpler to do this in the optional second round with the ranking of the top 25.

 

 

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I nominated The Fountain, which alludes to the fountain of youth and is about a man’s quest (or is it three quests?) to find a “cure” for death by reversing aging. It’s largely about coming to terms with mortality—our own and those we love—an important part of growing older.

 

I nominated While We’re Young, an excellent study of the process of growing into middle age, particularly regarding relationship tensions and insecurity around career achievements, and negotiating the envy of youth and firmer accomplishments of elders. I also really liked how it doesn’t just feature the interaction of people at different life stages, but also between individuals of the older millennial, older Gen X, and older Boomer/Silent generations.

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9 hours ago, kenmorefield said:

How does the following strike people?
1) Proposed dates: Nominations open until April 1; Round 1 Voting April 1-21; Optional Round 2 Voting (Ranking the Top 25 films from Round 1) April 22-28; announce list April 29th and begin assigning blurbs. This does have the downside that I am going to Ireland on May 13, so I'm running into end-of-semester, but I suspect there will be plenty of help if I need it and the posting/creation of a page isn't quite as urgent since we are not attached to Image's schedule. (We can discuss whether we want to do a book then, or we could set up the book contract before and assign chapters then.)

Eligibility Option A:

We set a threshold (to be determined) and state that if that percentage of voters haven't seen the film, it can't make the list.At the Ecumenical Jury, it is usually 50%, but given the fluctuations in membership here, I'm open to a lower percentage. (40%? 35%?)

I'm good with the proposed dates, only I would give Round 2 an extra week.

Of the possibilities Ken mentioned, I would stick with Eligibility Option A, without any of the embellishments suggested.  35% sounds like a good cutoff to me.

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I just nominated two movies that bring to mind the title of Art Linkletter's book How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life. As a person who avoids the self-help shelf at almost any cost, I know nothing about the book except title and author. Nevertheless, the two movies I nominated both embody the sentiment of that book title which I believe makes them worthy of consideration for this list.

The Straight Story: Alvin's journey is built on the knowledge that his time for reconciliation will end soon. As urgent as that is for him, he never hurries any of it. Along the way he passes along his wisdom of growing older with everyone he meets. His words (as few as they tend to be), his actions, and his single-minded determination for reconciliation show that he knows "how to make the rest of his life the best of his life." Best of all, he teaches others to do the same.

Waking Ned Devine: Michael ironically and hilariously learns "how to make the rest of his life the best of his life" by impersonating a dead man (Ned Devine). For him to "wake up" that dead man is to learn how to impart riches on the community that go far beyond the monetary riches of the lottery that inspires the scheme. Through taking the identity of the dead man, he teaches all the people of his community how to make the most of every moment life gives them. He helps them all to grow older and wiser.

Edited by Ed Bertram

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7 hours ago, Andrew said:

I'm good with the proposed dates, only I would give Round 2 an extra week.

Of the possibilities Ken mentioned, I would stick with Eligibility Option A, without any of the embellishments suggested.  35% sounds like a good cutoff to me.

I am reluctant to get outside the academic year for various reasons. Maybe to avoid the Easter issue, we could split the difference? April is voting month, with Round 1 being April 1-15 and optional round 2 (ranking 25 finalists) between April 16-30?

As far as a cut off for a film's eligibility, I think I now realize that there is no good way of determining that in advance, because we don't know, exactly, how many voters there are and how widely viewed they will be. Perhaps we should decide on the threshold until after Round 1? If the cut off point isn't obvious, I could share data with the group (without titles) to get a sense of where that line should be. I suspect most people would probably trust me to make that decision myself, so that's an option. Or I/we could have a three person group decide so that there is no temptation, after the fact, to make that decision around a personal favorite entry.

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I offer the following as a personal comment rather than an admin comment. 

I'll cop to feeling ambivalent about Make Way for Tomorrow and Tokyo Stories, among others. Both are great films, and I understand why they are nominated. I do tend to see them as being less about old age than about young people responding to old age. The experience of having an elderly parent is, through much of cinema, a staple of the middle-aged experience. I get that these films also give us insights into the aging themselves and that we are not limiting ourselves to simply films about old age...but that's my personal bias/interpretation sneaking in. I can more easily see films like Amour, The Wife, 45 Years, or Before Sunset, which are actually about how the aging of the couple impacts the couple than films about young(er) people dealing with aging parents.

I am, I hope, open to counterarguments or explanations/ideas. 

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I think this is a subtle distinction between the narratives of Make Way for Tomorrow and Tokyo Story--I think the former is the story of the elderly couple and their navigation of old age, while the latter is more the story of the adult children trying to figure out what to do with these older folks. In my experience with the films, the emotional catharsis in Make Way comes when Lucy and Barkley kiss (a great breaking of the fourth wall!), and the final tragic shot of the train leaving, whereas the emotional catharsis in Tokyo Story is when the daughter-in-law, Noriko, finally breaks and begins to weep after receiving the watch. Noriko is arguably the central character in Tokyo Story; I don't think that's the case for Make Way.

I've noticed quite a few coming-of-age stories being nominated and seconded in the nominations thread. Part of me thinks that's great--I do love me a good coming-of-age story--but part of me is hoping this is a film more about the aging process in adulthood, growing older rather than growing up, if one can make that distinction. I can understand why Minding the Gap would fit here, but it's less clear to me how Boyhood or Inside Out would work, unless we interpret those films as being about the parents growing older.

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11 hours ago, Joel Mayward said:

I seconded both of these titles after being uncomfortable with some of the other coming-of-age choices. I had considered nominating both of them but got beat to Boyhood. I still don't know how I'll vote on Inside Out, but as long as someone else had the idea too I wanted to give it a chance.

As far as Boyhood, I think this is a great fit because the title itself is deceptive. Mason's the main character and he comes of age to be sure, but it's not really about Mason's boyhood. It's about parenthood through the eyes of the boy. Two scenes make this especially clear to me. First, a juxtaposition of Mason's mother experiencing two paradoxical realities pertaining to her stage in her life: She sees the results of the wisdom she's gained through life at a restaurant where a man who once worked for her expresses gratitude for noticing potential in him and encouraging him to better his life. But this is followed immediately by a sense of confusion and purposelessness since this meal takes place immediately before Mason leaves for college. The other scene involves Mason talking about his mother; he says, "She's just as f***ing confused as I am." He's both right and wrong. The ways in which the truth and limitations of that statement unfold for his mother (and for his father, even though he's only talking about his mother in that scene) are the centerpiece of the movie. Mason's parents may be living with the same degree of confusion as Mason, but it's a much more grown-up confusion. Both parents use that confusion to grow more outward, giving of themselves from the wisdom they've developed over the years. Even the father, who remains self-centered in many ways, gives Mason hope and wisdom for navigating new stages in life because he has been through that already all while being thoroughly confused. And both parents must learn to navigate a new stage of life where neither of their children are children anymore. So, these are the reasons I think Boyhood is more fitting for this list than it would be for a list on coming-of-age films.

Now, Inside Out: I'm very torn on this one, but there is one key feature I keep coming back to that separates it from the other coming-of-age movies. It's a literal depiction of the  theme "growing older." Riley moves from one stage of childhood to adolescence, so it's not really about growing up. She's still a child at the end of the movie, just an older child. As an attempt to show the changes happening inside her body and how they interact with the major life change she's also experiencing, we see Riley growing older in the most literal way I could imagine. On the other hand, this literal motion of growing older is still from one stage of childhood to another. So what I like about it (literally "growing older") feeds directly into what I strongly dislike for the purpose of this list. I would prefer mostly "second half of life" stories as one member (sorry I don't remember who and don't have time to look right now) suggested in the planning process for this list. So, I'm torn.

Edited by Ed Bertram

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Thanks for sharing your perspective, Ed--that's helpful, especially regarding Inside Out. I'm still working through the nuances of "growing up" vs. "growing older" in my mind, especially regarding the "second half" theme, which is underlying all of my decisions/nominations for this list. Otherwise, I'd just be nominating adolescent bildungsroman stories left and right. :) 

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As the person who nominated Inside Out, I don't think it's about the parents growing older at all; however, I think Riley's growing older through the course of the film is different than a coming of age story. For one thing, she's a child at the film's beginning and still a child at the film's end; she's just aged from one portion of childhood to another. For me, in most coming of age films there's been a distinct progression and the protagonist has made a distinct leap from childhood to adulthood. Riley begins the film as a child and ends it at the place where most coming of age stories begin. Also, Joy (and the other four emotions) certainly has to grow wiser and learn to fall upwards, to quote the term that was discussed early on.

While I would like most of the list to be films about characters growing into middle age or later, I think it would be nice to have a few films about children growing older as well, as long as we make some distinction about how those films are different than coming of age stories, which I think Inside Out does.

 

I also went ahead and nominated The Portrait of a Lady, because Nicole Kidman's character is faced with the consequences of her one youthful mistake as she ages, and then must reconcile her idealism and dreams of how her life would turn out with the reality of how it has. And the ways she's chosen to grow older come to ahead when she sees another young couple facing the possibility of making a similar mistake.

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FWIW, I re-watched Unforgiven, and I did think it more about economics, power, and trauma but not necessarily about aging. So no nomination for me (though it's a fine film.)  Your mileage may vary.

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On seconding Poetry:

 

Yes, there are moments of moral failure in this film strong enough to make us queasy, but these are really of a piece with the fragility of the lead character’s mind. 

 

Having just seen it for the first time, I feel the film should be very strongly considered for our list. 

 

It a deeply challenging film about aging, and this from a cultural perspective rarely seen on our screens. 

 

Growing older….

…how we express ourselves as we age.

…how we relate to art and beauty as we age.

…how we relate to memories as we age. 

…how we relate to depravity as we age.

...how we relate to truth as we age.

But, really, my list is so prosaic for a film of such…well, you know.

This list is only the beginning of why Poetry should be in our Growing Older top 25.

 

Rent it on Amazon. 

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Just one voter's opinion, not a pronouncement or nothing...but I watched Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and I wasn't really feeling it for this list. I could be wrong; I have been before.

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I nominated Grey Gardens, the 1975 documentary that Jackie Kennedy inspired by telling filmmakers about her aunt Edith and cousin Edie. As we watch the extreme eccentricities of the mother and daughter who have lived together for 30-some years, we see the theme of growing older on 3 different levels. First, as they reminisce we see them interact with their past and interpret it through older, wiser (albeit odder) lenses. They grow in this way because of and in spite of each other. Secondly, through their conflicts we see the stubborn ways in which each one envisions growing older. Their reclusiveness from the outside world and their constant togetherness make this impossible, so each must adapt sacrificially to grow older in ways that benefit the relationship over self. Finally, the house itself—Grey Gardens—has decayed dramatically when filming starts. As we see pictures of the way it used to be, we see it as a symbol for lives that have been fully and joyfully lived. Even in their deterioration and reclusiveness, they’re never lonely and always supportive of each other. By the end, we should be thinking less of their eccentricities and more about the apparent truth that the two lived exactly the lives they wanted because of each other, no matter how strange it looked to the rest of the world.

Edited by Ed Bertram

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