Are these year-end lists of the best movies, methodically ranking them in some incongruous, silly order, degrading to the actual pieces of film themselves?
Crafting those year-end best and worst movies lists has turned into an annual tradition for film critics. But what exactly are they for?
Do we obsess and mull over them for our own pleasure, or do we make them out of sheer adulation for the movies deserving of recognition? Perhaps a bit of both.
It’s not too bold to claim we’re a ranking crazed society, where articulation and analysis has been substituted for stars, letter grades, tomatoes, and thumbs. Even in my own experiences with grading I struggle to create and define the dichotomy between a film that receives a C- and a C.
This ongoing inner battle is inside all of us who decide to construct and take part in the year-end ranking. And it’s not just in the realm of film that categorizing occurs. Read the papers, listen to the radio, and turn on the television — lists of the best books, songs, albums, and athletes will soon appear.
Despite my skepticism about the motives behind these lists (a battle between self-promotion and promotion of cinema) I’ll be participating starting this weekend with IndieWire’s yearly poll. At the end of the day, it’s fun to occasionally indulge. Just remember, while every sort of list is asinine, be sure your making making them for the right reasons. Good films deserve to be highlighted among the sea mediocrity year after year. And despite that fact that no number could ever adequately represent a piece of transcendent art, it does allow certain films to have their day in the sun.
Before everyone begins to rail on one another for not getting swept up in the same films they did, attempt to embrace the diversity over the next few weeks. Uniformity doesn’t progressive the medium, insightful discourse does.
On an o-so serious final note, I better not see any Hitchcock, Killing Them Softly, The Sessions, or any other film I didn’t like on your list.