Top 100 of All Time, Revised
I've been enjoying the heck out of Tim Brayton's gradual roll-out of what he presently considers to be the 115 best films ever made, roughly timed to the 115th anniversary of those French workers exiting a factory before the witnessing eye of the Lumière Brothers' camera, and giving birth to cinema in the process. (That's a highly laundered and hyperbolic version of events for the purposes of ceremonial prose, but it'll do.) Tim's project also reminded me that I traditionally revise my own Best Films list every other New Year's Eve. I follow fewer rules than Tim does. For instance, I'm happy to include things I've seen as recently as the preceding calendar year, or films produced over the previous decade.
I was so distracted by other events and projects this year that I didn't remember to re-jigger my rankings until a week had passed. The same events and projects will remain my priorities for the next several months, but that makes a Top 100 countdown highly apropos as a way to keep the site quasi-lively. This time, following my edict to my own students to practice concision in their reviews, I'll supply 100-word tributes to each of my 100 titlesso, for the first time, those of you wondering how The Green Ray or The Joyless Street or Flesh found its way onto this roll-call will at least be made privy to a short, admiring murmur of context.
Eight films have dropped from the December 2008 version of this Top 100. Once I've reached the highest debut on the new list, I'll fess up about those jettisoned titles. But here's a preview: one of the debuts, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, has until now been included in the perpetually stalled Favorites Countdown, the point of which is to provide an alternate list of personal pets that supplements this more "objective" list without overlapping. Happily, one of the drops from the Top 100, Todd Haynes's Velvet Goldmine, will easily swap its way onto the upper reaches of the Favorites list, given that it's such a delirious passion of mine and a heavy-rotation title in my DVD player. Stay tuned for a long time, when we evennnntually get back to that endeavor.
For now, the first two movies I have announced for the new Top 100 are, at #100, Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen's Riddles of the Sphinx (1977) and, at #99, Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Feel free to leave comments below; I'm not making any promises about the speed or rhythm at which successive titles will be unveiled, but this will remain the hot spot for debate, suggestions, hosannas, or other comments. Starting today, on 1/11/11or, as you prefer, 11.1.11my Twitter feed will serve as the venue for announcing each film as I make my way back up to #1. Happy hundred, everybody!