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Top100 2010: IMAGE needs your help


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#41 M. Leary

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 11:55 AM

Thanks, SDG. I got to "ho-hum entries like Fearless" in the third paragraph and stopped reading.


And Secrets and Lies?! If someone says something like this, they aren't a credible source of information on decent cinema.

#42 Christy E

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 01:10 PM

I may be missing something, but it looks like Joe Carter is looking at a list other than the one found here.

#43 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 01:39 PM

FWIW, Carter explicitly says he's relying on the 2004 list and not on the later lists. ("They’ve put the list out a few other times but this seems to be the best version.")

#44 Christian

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 04:16 PM

FWIW, Carter explicitly says he's relying on the 2004 list and not on the later lists. ("They’ve put the list out a few other times but this seems to be the best version.")

Why does that list "seem to be the best version," I wonder.

#45 Overstreet

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 06:24 PM

In the immortal word of Neo: Whoa.

I didn't really have time today for what I felt reading his summation, but I responded anyway. I hope he approves my comment.

Ho-hum?

Secrets and Lies?

Sigh.

And Fearless... is it possible he thought we meant this?

Edited by Overstreet, 23 November 2009 - 06:25 PM.


#46 Persona

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 06:28 PM

I don't know who this guy is. I'd like to put up a giant "WHO CARES?" except that I agree with him on certain films.

He's seen 48% of the list and has never taken part in the endless debate and discussion, the late night coffee arguments, and the changing of minds after an eye opening experience that we have had the pleasure to have had. We intimately know many of the films listed through the wrangling and wrestling that has taken place here for a decade. If he wants to, have him join and take part in the discussion. Until then, the words at his site are nothing more than a grocery list.

#47 Overstreet

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 06:35 PM

FYI:

I was smart -- for once in my life -- and saved my reply in case it isn't approved for their page:

Joe,

I appreciate your discovery of the A&F list. It has been my “go-to” list for movie rentals for years.

Still, I just about choked when you called “Fearless” and “Secrets and Lies” … “ho-hum.”

Really?

You realize that the group was voting for Peter Weir’s celebrated film about the plane-crash survivor, and not the Jet Li action film of the same title, right?

These films were chosen by a wide variety of moviegoers — writers, critics, pastors, teachers, parents, college students, editors, etc. — but here’s what they have in common: they see, and usually write about, a long list of international releases every year. If “Fearless” is on the list, it’s because *many* people, on their own, without conspiracy, are saying that it was “spiritually significant” to them.

Me? I’ve seen all of Peter Weir’s films, and it’s the one that means the most to me. It gave me a powerful exploration of the *cost* of living in relationship with other broken human beings. It gave a vivid picture of how appealing it can be to live with a sort of moral superiority and smugness — a temptation often common to critics, it turns out — as opposed to living humbly, and honestly, in our troubled bodies and with all of our contradictions. What Jeff Bridges’ character experiences in that film is a very unique redemption story, one that moves me and inspires me not just emotionally, but intellectually as well.

I’m not saying it therefore *must* move you, Joe, in the same way. But keep in mind: It’s on the list because many passionate film lovers, Christians all of them (I believe) found this one worth celebrating, not only for the excellence of its artistry, but for the questions it opens up for exploration.

No offense, but you’re *one* moviegoer who doesn’t share the love. Take almost any of these titles that *you* love, and some of the voters would probably have been “ho-hum” on that one too.

What’s valuable to me about this list is that a *majority* of the moviegoers polled — moviegoers whose often-conflicting perspectives and reviews at ArtsandFaith.com I respect — stepped up to recommend these particular titles. That these selections have inspired so many of them tells me that each title is well worth taking seriously. Even if they don’t bowl me over the way they did others.

“Secrets and Lies”? A film about prejudice, class, sacrificial love, reconciliation, peacemaking, and the devastating effects of suppressed truth… it’s my favorite from Mike Leigh’s incredible filmography, and apparently the favorite of many others as well. I’m sorry you didn’t care for it, but please… consider that maybe it’s “ho-hum” to you, but revelatory to many others, and not easily dismissible just because you say so.

Further, I’m not sure what you mean to say when you claim that this list is “the best version.” Does “the best” mean “your favorite”? Even this group of voters cannot arrive at a “provable” result. Every year they revise this list, some have grown in the voters’ estimation, while others have diminished. That’s what’s so great about art. We can come to some conclusions about excellence and artistry, but so much of what *moves* us about a work of art has to do with our individual experiences and preferences.

Personally, I found “Groundhog Day” ho-hum, but that’s just me. I would never argue that it hasn’t been revelatory to many others. The sheer number of testimonies in its favor tells me that it probably belongs on this list.

“Dancer in the Dark”? I thought it was abusive to the audience; that’s sure how it felt to me. But many of the film reviewers I respect have helped me see why it moved so many people, and thus I’m happy it’s on the list – even though I personally never want to see it again.

Okay… rant over.

Again, I’m glad you found the list worth mentioning. I’m hoping that we see a revised list one of these days, as many other great films have been released since the last version of the A&F Top 100 was published.

Jeffrey Overstreet
lookingcloser.org

P.S. If you promise to watch “Secrets and Lies” again — with a group, and then discuss it afterward — I’ll be happy to give “Dancer in the Dark” another go.



#48 Persona

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 06:46 PM

Groundhog's Day is one of the huge ones that needs to be removed, although, I think it has, as this is the 2004 list. It must have been some kind of experiment in the making at that time.

But, Jeffrey -- he's saying that Dancer in the Dark should be on the list (it wasn't) and that it should be there instead of Dogville.

#49 Overstreet

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 06:51 PM

But didn't it show up on subsequent lists? (I've sent in a correction.) And I've invited him to get involved at A&F so he can be available to help with the voting next time... to help make the list more (ahem) correct.

Edited by Overstreet, 23 November 2009 - 06:58 PM.


#50 Persona

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 07:29 PM

I don't remember. I hope not.

It isn't on the current version.

#51 Anders

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 10:35 PM

It's obvious anyone that gives 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, LA DOLCE VITA, WITNESS, THE STRAIGHT STORY, SECRETS & LIES, and BAD LIEUTENANT all one-star on a spiritual scale has a different idea of what spiritual means than those of us who voted on the list. But perhaps it all comes back to what Stef (sorry, "Persona") says about the slippery nature of the term "spiritual". If everything is spiritual though, perhaps nothing is. I don't know. All I know is that I'm excited to vote once again on the new A&F Top 100.

#52 Darrel Manson

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 10:43 PM

To toss something in from left field (possibly even foul territory) I wonder if instead of a list that is redone every few years, perhaps a better model is the Library of Congress's National Film Registry which names x films each year (with a given period of time before eligibility.)

#53 Darryl A. Armstrong

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 11:08 PM

C'mon guys, let's not be too harsh on Joe. Maybe his opinion of some of the films on our list doesn't coincide with our own, but he's throwing us a large bone just by bringing some attention to the list - and during a time we're considering a new version. As has been noted, he admits to the list's merits when he states, "[T]he compilation does serve the primary purpose of such listmaking: to offer an abundance of material for debate. In that regard, the effort is a complete success." Isn't that at least our partial goal?

Indeed, some of the comments below his post show some good thoughts.

We all know lists can become divisive. And I don't think he critiques ours as harshly as we have lists by Pitchfork, Paste, Rolling Stone, etc. here.

For the record, in my opinion, while I'd probably rate Fearless with more than 1 spiritual star, I think it is kinda ho-hum standing next to some of the other films on our list. I just don't think it's that great of a film, and certainly not Weir's best. I haven't seen Secrets & Lies. That must be remedied...

#54 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 12:51 AM

Yes, that must be remedied. Though I've certainly come across people who felt that Secrets & Lies might have made an okay play but wasn't very "cinematic". I disagree with them, but I can respect that point of view.

Fearless, I'm afraid to say, I can never think of without remembering how my friend Trent turned to me during the credits and said, "Well there's our trumped-up Hollywood spirituality for the week." (He then made that the opening line of his review.) A lot of people at the time certainly found it ho-hum, so I don't begrudge anyone having the same reaction today.

I personally love 2001: A Space Odyssey and I probably voted for it on at least one of our lists, but again, I can respect anyone who didn't find it very "spiritual". It all depends on what you mean by the word, and Kubrick was certainly more cerebral than anything else -- more concerned with the mind than the spirit, as it were.

And so on, and so on.

So there's certainly room for dialogue and debate around these issues. And Carter, if memory serves, said the list serves its purpose precisely insofar as it got him thinking and arguing. It's not like we have a "litmus test" for this list, wherein it absolutely must contain certain titles if it is to have any validity at all. By its very nature, the list is democratic and is thus bound to be somewhat idiosyncratic. So by all means, let the idiosyncracies thrive.

#55 MattPage

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 09:42 AM

So who is this guy? And why do we care that he criticizes a list we ourselves thought came up short?

Matt

#56 M. Leary

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 10:06 AM

Groundhog's Day is one of the huge ones that needs to be removed, although, I think it has, as this is the 2004 list. It must have been some kind of experiment in the making at that time.


I think Groundhog Day is on there because it was a staple of all that first round "let's write a book about films that have spiritual messages" Christian publishing. Like you, not sure why. (Even though I think it is hysterical.)

#57 M. Leary

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 10:15 AM

So by all means, let the idiosyncracies thrive.


Indeed, but which idiosyncracies? I would be thrilled to have someone come argue for the inclusion of something like Thirst or Tropical Malady, but there is a certain lack of cinema awareness involved with simply passing off something like Secrets and Lies and others on his list that make me wonder how this should work. That editorial is free to say whatever it wants about whatever film it wants to, but it calls into question how we go about making these sorts of canons. How democratic should the list be?

If it hadn't been as democratic as it had been in the past, we would have overlooked some of the worthwhile popular entries. But if we hadn't spent the time drilling down into the merits of more obscure entries, the list would not have had any kind of cultural legitimacy. As always, I am equivocating here.

#58 SDG

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 10:29 AM

Groundhog's Day is one of the huge ones that needs to be removed, although, I think it has, as this is the 2004 list. It must have been some kind of experiment in the making at that time.

I think Groundhog Day is on there because it was a staple of all that first round "let's write a book about films that have spiritual messages" Christian publishing. Like you, not sure why. (Even though I think it is hysterical.)

There is something very Zen about the film. I would love to find a Christian angle on it, but it just feels like a Buddhist film. Yet it is hysterical. (The groundhog is not Jesus.)