Monday, August 20, 2012

Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity

The Sight and Sound poll is stupid. All lists are stupid. Remind me again why we love lists so much.

I can't find some magic objectivity inside me that would allow me to distinguish the "greatest" movies from my personal favorites. More than that, any attempt to show some sort of comprehensive knowledge is doomed to failure. Even if I had watched every film ever made (or even the "important" ones that form something of a critical consensus), how could I choose ten and only ten? The task would only become that much more impossible. Is Keaton's The General really greater than Chaplin's City Lights? Is one more important than the other? Do we want to give up either one? Is Lang's M. really greater than his Metropolis? Can one pick a single John Ford film or do they all cancel each other out because they're all so consistently good? And so on.

What follows is a list of the ten greatest movies of all time, excepting the fifty others, just as great, that I've left off the list and the thousand others that I haven't seen.

Top Ten

1) Stalker (Tarkovsky, 1979)
2) There Will Be Blood (Anderson, 2007)
3) Rubin & Ed (Harris, 1991)
4) Terror in a Texas Town (Lewis, 1958)
5) The New World (Malick, 2005)
6) A Woman Under the Influence (Cassavetes, 1974)
7) The Flowers of St. Francis (Rossellini, 1950)
8) Modern Times (Chaplin, 1936)
9) The Adventures of Robin Hood (Curtiz, 1938)
10) The Seventh Seal (Bergman, 1957)

I'm going to leave out the commentary for now even though I know that's the most fun part.

At this moment in time, those films above are my desert island picks. THE GREATEST FILMS. THE MOST IMPORTANT FILMS OF ALL TIME. THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FILMS. YES, INDEED, MY FAVORITES. There you are, Sight and Sound. Mr. Musa, I hope you're happy now.

But, of course, I already regret the above list. It is missing many, many of my favorite films. Why Stalker and not Andrei Rublev? Why not include them both? How do I dare include Rubin & Ed? Where are the Rohmer films? Isn't On the Waterfont pretty much perfect? Well, where is it? Why are there no animated films on this list? Isn't Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein more entertaining than every film on the list? Where are the rest of the foreign films? Where are the rest of the Hollywood studio films? And on and on.

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