Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Hot 100

I'm about two weeks late, but while I was in Virginia, I did in fact revise my other Top 100 list, the one that's intended to reflect the 100 best films I have seen (as opposed to the pets and favorites that are my Picked Flicks). The image at left is from Shohei Imamura's The Ballad of Narayama, the highest-ranking of 16 new entries in my Top 100, and one of three movies in my Top 10 that still isn't available on DVD. (The others are The Earrings of Madame de... and Harlan County, USA.) Why there is a Criterion Collection edition of Armageddon but not of these bonafide masterpieces is not remotely clear to me. Especially since Criterion, DVD culture more generally, and the entire home-format industry are supposed to revolve around my own tastes and wishes, etc.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous goatdog said...

There's some drastic movement going on over there. What caused it? I'm usually afraid to rewatch old favorites on my list for fear that they'll tumble off (A Double Life), but those films are usually--but not always--near the bottom. I'm wondering what causes, say, Written on the Wind to drop from #43 into oblivion. Which brings up (but does not beg, no sir) a related question: how often do you rewatch the films on your top 100?

3:11 PM, January 19, 2006  
Blogger Nick Davis said...

I'm a fickle bastard, and plus, I love all of these movies so much that the rung-by-rung rankings are pretty quicksilver, capturing a day in the life of my fandom. This is why I limit myself to revising the list every two years.

I do like to watch these films often, and several of them are regular fixtures on my teaching syllabi. Just this fall in my Intro to Film Studies course alone, I had excuses to revisit The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Docks of New York, Modern Times, Grand Illusion, Meshes of the Afternoon, Laura, Bicycle Thieves, Pickup on South Street, A Woman Under the Influence, Harlan County, U.S.A., and These Hands, as well as Dog Day Afternoon, which dropped off the list from last time (but will pop up instead on the Faves list). At least a dozen others have shown up in other courses I've taught in the last two years, which is always an incentive to closer study and appreciation (and a good bulwark against my senility).

Some of these films I do watch at least a couple times a year: Safe, Morvern Callar, Aliens, Dead Ringers, Persona, Taste of Cherry. Others, I'd say about a quarter of the list, I know haven't seen in full in the two years since the last list, sometimes because they're so indelible in my memory by now that there's almost no need (Star Wars, Touch of Evil, Metropolis, The Letter). Other movies I've seen only once, and years ago—with Jeanne Dielman and Riddles of the Sphinx, seeing them once is already a stroke of luck—but the impressions they left were indelible.

With Written on the Wind in particular, I still love and admire it, but I think as I've seen more Sirk in the last two years, that one feels less distinctive (whereas something like A Time to Love and a Time to Die is seeming more and more interesting for his career, and in the way it helps me think about other movies, which is what a lot of these films do). Big droppers like L'Atalante or Marat/Sade just lost something in recent viewings, though they're still quite extraordinary; big leapers like Andrei Rublev and Sunrise and The Thin Red Line seemed even more incredible.

You didn't actually think I was capable of a short answer, did you? :)

3:49 PM, January 19, 2006  
Anonymous goatdog said...

I'd have been disappointed with a short answer. :) And I want to sit in on your intro to film studies class.

I want to eventually write a review for every movie on my top 100, so I'll probably be doing a lot of moving and shaking myself.

4:04 PM, January 19, 2006  

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