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Top 100 2011: Results and Discussion


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Are we honestly trying to say that Death of Mr. Lazarescu is more Arts and Faith inclined than Lars and the Real Girl?

I don't know that we say that. But I say that.

Personally, I think what matters is that the list is simply better as a top 100 films list than last year's list.

Quite right.

And no true genre films (action, horror, sci-fi) made that list with the exception of Solaris, which isn't as good a film as either Blade Runner or 2001: A Space: Odyssey.

I'd say SOLARIS pounds BLADE RUNNER into the dirt.

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And no true genre films (action, horror, sci-fi) made that list with the exception of Solaris, which isn't as good a film as either Blade Runner or 2001: A Space: Odyssey.

I'd say SOLARIS pounds BLADE RUNNER into the dirt.

And I'd say Solaris is a slow, pretentious Star Trek episode, whereas Blade Runner is the best science fiction film ever made.

In eternity this world will be Troy, I believe, and all that has passed here will be the epic of the universe, the ballad they sing in the streets. -- Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson

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And I'd say Solaris is a slow, pretentious Star Trek episode, whereas Blade Runner is the best science fiction film ever made.

I'd say 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY has a pretty firm hold on "best science fiction film ever made" title.

Now, BLADE RUNNER is one of the prettiest science fiction films ever made. Gorgeous cinematography and art direction. And a pretty wonderful score. But its marvelous visuals can't wholly compensate for its narrative vapidity. Ridley Scott has never really learned what a good script looks like.

Edited by Ryan H.
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FWIW, I'm inclined to say it's risky to mount a defense of Blade Runner while calling OTHER films "slow" and "pretentious". :)

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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And I'd say Solaris is a slow, pretentious Star Trek episode, whereas Blade Runner is the best science fiction film ever made.

Solaris is tough material. So... I agree with respect to the film. Blade Runner is by far the best Dick adaptation, but 2001 fires on all cylinders. What a tough call.

Edited by M. Leary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

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FWIW, I'm inclined to say it's risky to mount a defense of Blade Runner while calling OTHER films "slow" and "pretentious".

Not risky at all, since Blade Runner is neither. And compared to Solaris, Blade Runner is about as fast and unpretentious as Salt.

But FWIW, I'm inclined to say that by mere repetition, you've left me wondering about the value and/or meaning of starting as sentence with "FWIW".

Solaris is tough material. So... I agree with respect to the film. Blade Runner is by far the best Dick adaptation, 2001 fires on all cylinders. What a tough call.

2001 and Blade Runner both move on and off my top ten list, so I agree. And while I think Rublev, The Mirror, Stalker, and The Sacrifice are all extraordinary films, I think Solaris only maintains a measure of popularity because of its made by the same director.

Edited by Scott Derrickson

In eternity this world will be Troy, I believe, and all that has passed here will be the epic of the universe, the ballad they sing in the streets. -- Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson

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Well, it was. In your view a vote is who (and how) you are voting against, in my view, it's who (and how) I'm voting with. The results are the voice of a community. It is a "we" thing to me, that's all.

Don't want to belabor the point, but I'm not making a normative argument, but a positive one. I'm saying that going through the process you described when considering your rating for Ikiru could lead to a ranking that does not reflect the average preference of the entire board. ie. voting is an imperfect means of broadcasting the voice of a group.

old wave, are you a Planet Money fan? (Link is to a great podcast about how the voting tendencies old wave described can affect global markets.)

I'd heard of the show, but I've never listened to it. That podcast is really interesting though, thanks!

And I'm enjoying the Blade Runner/2001/Solaris throwdown. They're all in my sci-fi pantheon, but they rarely have constructive criticism leveled against them.

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Scott Derrickson wrote:

: Not risky at all, since Blade Runner is neither.

That's what people keep telling me. But I've seen at least three versions of the film so far, and they've all been pretty boring.

Which is not to say that I would rank it behind Solaris, necessarily. I've never really thought to compare or contrast the two films before. But FWIW, I find your Star Trek reference interesting, as I have long felt that the first Star Trek movie borrows some bits from Tarkovsky's film (and apparently Tarkovsky's Solaris might have borrowed a bit or two from Star Trek director Robert Wise's earlier film, The Haunting).

: But FWIW, I'm inclined to say that by mere repetition, you've left me wondering about the value and/or meaning of starting as sentence with "FWIW".

You'll know I REALLY mean it when I actually spell the words out. ;)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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FWIW (:)), here are a few additional thoughts about the list:

- Overall, I think it is a stronger, more balanced list than last year's edition. I'm very pleased with the addition of the likes of John Ford, Hitchcock, Miyazaki, etc. (though in my opinion, for the purposes of our list, Mononoke > Spirited Away and Rear Window > or = Vertigo).

- Like Stef, I wish there were a place for Lars and the Real Girl - such a gentle drama/comedy, with sympathetic characterizations (the lack of demonization in the portrayal of a history of family dysfunction is quite a relief), with a pleasing portrayal of what church/community can look like at its best

- Very happy with the addition of Takahata's film, but I think Pom Poko has a greater spiritual richness and a comparable sort of longing and sense of loss to Grave of the Fireflies, albeit down a different avenue (environmental despoilation vs. the sorrow of war). Have many folks here seen the latter film? I would vote it in for the 'monster parade' sequence alone.

- Burmese Harp does very little for me - the blend of war horrors and fabulism just didn't work for me, and I guess Japanese war-era melodramas aren't my cup of tea, as I felt similarly about 24 Eyes.

- Monsieur Hulot is da bomb, but I much prefer his Holiday to Playtime - there's a lot to be said for the former's comparable joy and simplicity, and I guess I prefer outright funny to clever

- I'm in the 'happy it's on the list' camp for Silent Light - seeing it on the big screen in 2007 was a high point of that viewing year. I suspect the wonder of the opening and closing sequences loses a lot of its power when viewed at home.

- I wish I'd nominated Lost in Translation :(

Edited by Andrew

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- Overall, I think it is a stronger, more balanced list than last year's edition. I'm very pleased with the addition of the likes of John Ford, Hitchcock, Miyazaki, etc.

Agreed!

(though in my opinion, for the purposes of our list, Mononoke > Spirited Away and Rear Window > or = Vertigo).

IMO,

( Mononoke > Spirited Away ) < ( Rear Window > or = Vertigo ).

By a long, long shot. :)

- Like Stef, I wish there were a place for Lars and the Real Girl - such a gentle drama/comedy, with sympathetic characterizations (the lack of demonization in the portrayal of a history of family dysfunction is quite a relief), with a pleasing portrayal of what church/community can look like at its best

Count me in as well.

- Very happy with the addition of Takahata's film, but I think Pom Poko has a greater spiritual richness and a comparable sort of longing and sense of loss to Grave of the Fireflies, albeit down a different avenue (environmental despoilation vs. the sorrow of war). Have many folks here seen the latter film? I would vote it in for the 'monster parade' sequence alone.

I have not seen Pom Poko.

- Burmese Harp does very little for me - the blend of war horrors and fabulism just didn't work for me, and I guess Japanese war-era melodramas aren't my cup of tea, as I felt similarly about 24 Eyes.

Ah. I am one who loves The Burmese Harp.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

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Ah. I am one who loves The Burmese Harp.

You're not the only one.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Rear Window > or = Vertigo.

lex-luthor-wrong1.jpg


I am with you. But my answer to Andrew is simply "I disagree." Rear Window is still a Great film, but Vertigo is better!


Interesting. See, this is exactly how I feel about ( Mononoke > Spirited Away ).



Yeah, I'm definitely with you on that! Edited by Benchwarmer
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Interesting. See, this is exactly how I feel about ( Mononoke > Spirited Away ).

Yes. That one is a head-scratcher.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I can understand why a film lover would favor Vertigo over Rear Window simply from a cinematographic point of view. But story-wise, the two don't compare. And while the flash of the camera at the end of Rear Window is, yes, quite a bit far-fetched, the plummet at the end of Vertigo is akin to thoughts on this forum from opponents of Boyle's Sunshine -- that the end doesn't justify the means, or even a luscious, "filmic" (there really is no other word to use, because it really is outstanding) beginning.

I don't agree with that notion when it comes to Sunshine, as that film dips into genre (horror) and actually escalates according to that genre -- whether you like the fact that it went there or not. Vertigo just kind of dips into the blank stare of its already vacuous characters. It begins with Jimmy Steward being a dip, himself, falling for a girl that is a virtual blank stare and with little to offer but her looks. The film ends with her taking a huge plunge, and by the time it's through we feel finally relieved to see her go. Compared with the likeable characters in Rear Window, characters we think we'd like to see survive together, Vertigo is an achievement in everything but character development -- either that or these characters are developed, but aren't interesting enough to merit their presence in a film -- whatever -- and unfortunately the film hinges on a need for characters, or development, whatever the case, which is sorely lacking.

So frankly I don't care what the big guns think when comparing the two films. One has interesting characters with strange, mixed motives, and a storyling about a voyeur with a broken leg that's fun to follow. The other is like talking to a man in a coma. We won't know the why because he can't tell us, he just sits there breathing and eventually he'll die.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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But story-wise, the two don't compare.

Of course they don't. The story of VERTIGO is significantly more interesting, complete with richer thematic statements and bolder dramatic moments. ;)

It begins with Jimmy Steward being a dip, himself, falling for a girl that is a virtual blank stare and with little to offer but her looks.

Precisely. VERTIGO is a film about the idolatry of image. Their relationship could never work. Stewart's interest only exists because of his psychological hang-ups and his infatuation with the image, and it's what makes Stewart creepier and creepier as the film goes on. He's not interested in her. He's not interested in love, really. He's interested in recreating a moment. He's interested in fantasy.

Compared with the likeable characters in Rear Window, characters we think we'd like to see survive together, Vertigo is an achievement in everything but character development -- either that or these characters are developed, but aren't interesting enough to merit their presence in a film -- whatever -- and unfortunately the film hinges on a need for characters, or development, whatever the case, which is sorely lacking.

This is horribly unfair. The characters in VERTIGO are not realistic--VERTIGO is an exercise in surreal, grand melodrama, and you can either buy into this outrageous story or you can't--but they are certainly interesting and developed.

Edited by Ryan H.
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Compared with the likeable characters in Rear Window, characters we think we'd like to see survive together, Vertigo is an achievement in everything but character development -- either that or these characters are developed, but aren't interesting enough to merit their presence in a film -- whatever -- and unfortunately the film hinges on a need for characters, or development, whatever the case, which is sorely lacking.

This is horribly unfair. The characters in VERTIGO are not realistic--VERTIGO is an exercise in surreal, grand melodrama, and you can either buy into this outrageous story or you can't--but they are certainly interesting and developed.

I don't see how it's unfair at all. I've seen a few films, quite a few that are an exercise in the surreal, and I've known it when I've seen it. Vertigo doesn't convince me of that.

And whether the point of the characters is that they really are vacuous, and that's the point -- then I'm thoroughly convinced that their vacuousness isn't explored deeply enough to be remotely interesting.

The film overcomes these things, obviously. I've given it a four out of five Netflix rating. Come to think of it, four stars were given to North By Northwest, Vertigo, Rear Window and Notorious. Psycho is the only five star rating I've given to Hitch. I guess my thinking in the ratings is that while Rear Window isn't as astounding in the powerful feel of its imagery, and Vertigo has too bland of characters for us to really dig into and care (to the point of being relieved when one finally dies), Psycho is the film where it all comes together for Hitch. It has visual intensity (to the core in places), and characters are developed strongly enough that we honestly are horrified when/if they die. We don't want them to die, actually. And then there's the whole fascination with Norman Bates, and the reveal at the end, which even today after being riffed on a thousand times, remains interesting, I'll say timeless. It is a stronger ending than Vertigo because we are fascinated with Bates *and* the people staying at the motel.

Can most people familiar with film actually name a character in Vertigo? Do most people familiar with film know both who Norman Bates is as well as who he was played by? They've both been available for years. I've seen both years ago. They were both made long before I was born. There's a reason you remember Psycho over any other Hitch. It's because it's his most intense film, and the best film he made.

Having said all that, and this was the original point -- I'd still favor Rear Window by half a star over Vertigo.

Edited by Persona

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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