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Time to Man Up and Make a List: Your 2012 Top 10 (no hurry) 
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Post Re: Time to Man Up and Make a List: Your 2012 Top 10 (no hurry)
Awkward Beard Man wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Balaji Sivaraman wrote:

Or he's just saying that Amour is a masterpiece but he doesn't know where to put it in a Top 10 because of how ambivalent he is feeling about it. So he's doing the easiest thing of giving it an honorable mention while ranking the rest of the films in order. I've felt that way about many similar films.


Yeah but that's like saying "Man Requiem for a Dream was great, but it was disturbing so I think I'll put Gone in 60 Seconds in there instead"


Well, given the choice to watch The Raid, or Amour again, I'd hands down choose The Raid. I founds it to be one of the most purely visceral movie experiences I've ever seen. Is it pulpy action trash? Sure, but it achieves what it sets out to do perfectly. Amour achieves perfectly exactly what it sets out to do too, but it was also emotionally draining and depressing to the point that I haven't warmed to it as much as the others on my list. My list is essentially a combination of films that I regard as both the "best" movies of the year, and my "favourite" movies. Favourite being movies that I'd want to buy on blu-ray and regularly watch in the future. As much as I think the film is a masterpiece, I really don't want to watch it again any time soon, so by my qualifications I figured it deserved an honourable mention rather than a place on my list. That's not to say that it's worse than my top 10 (I don't really like comparing films with regards to worth, they're all important to me).
I know exactly how you feel, it's the same with me for Schindler's List, excellent film, but very difficult to sit through because of how disturbing it is, I don't really feel compelled to watch it again anytime soon. So if given the choice between it and The Raid, i'd definitely go for the latter as well.


Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:12 pm
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Post Re: Time to Man Up and Make a List: Your 2012 Top 10 (no hurry)
NotHughGrant wrote:

But you didn't rate Hot Fuzz either. So I won't lose sleep over that.


I feel guilty and slightly left out for not falling totally in love with Skyfall (still liked it, fwiw). However, I have no qualms about Hot Fuzz. How that movie inspired devotion is utterly beyond me, and I fucking love Shaun of the Dead

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Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:32 pm
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Post Re: Time to Man Up and Make a List: Your 2012 Top 10 (no hurry)
Awkward Beard Man wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:
Balaji Sivaraman wrote:

Or he's just saying that Amour is a masterpiece but he doesn't know where to put it in a Top 10 because of how ambivalent he is feeling about it. So he's doing the easiest thing of giving it an honorable mention while ranking the rest of the films in order. I've felt that way about many similar films.


Yeah but that's like saying "Man Requiem for a Dream was great, but it was disturbing so I think I'll put Gone in 60 Seconds in there instead"


Well, given the choice to watch The Raid, or Amour again, I'd hands down choose The Raid. I founds it to be one of the most purely visceral movie experiences I've ever seen. Is it pulpy action trash? Sure, but it achieves what it sets out to do perfectly. Amour achieves perfectly exactly what it sets out to do too, but it was also emotionally draining and depressing to the point that I haven't warmed to it as much as the others on my list. My list is essentially a combination of films that I regard as both the "best" movies of the year, and my "favourite" movies. Favourite being movies that I'd want to buy on blu-ray and regularly watch in the future. As much as I think the film is a masterpiece, I really don't want to watch it again any time soon, so by my qualifications I figured it deserved an honourable mention rather than a place on my list. That's not to say that it's worse than my top 10 (I don't really like comparing films with regards to worth, they're all important to me).


Fair enough. Some of this comes down to the Favorite v. Best argument that I used to scream about with Phil/EvenFlow before he left.

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Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:33 pm
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Post Re: Time to Man Up and Make a List: Your 2012 Top 10 (no hurry)
I always find myself skeptical of attempts to differentiate between "favorite" and "best". It is a silly business.

I'm not saying in theory that it can't be done. But I have to wonder if such attempts are a product of people underrating their own idiosyncratic criteria and overrating the criteria dictated to them by tradition and established norms.

Per the impetus for this discussion, I think you can have a favorite something-or-other without necessarily wanting to return to it as often as something else that isn't as much your favorite. Example: my favorite food is pizza. The fact that there are other foods I eat more often doesn't change that. If anything, it might indicate that the experience of eating those other foods is more ephemeral and less fulfilling--in other words, when compared to pizza, less worthy of being considered a favorite. Maybe I used to have a different favorite food, but the fact that I ate it too often made it less special and now I don't want it anymore. Maybe I just plain don't want to indulge in too much of a good thing.

Now I want pizza. Thanks a lot, assholes.

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Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:13 pm
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Post Re: Time to Man Up and Make a List: Your 2012 Top 10 (no hurry)
Ken wrote:
I always find myself skeptical of attempts to differentiate between "favorite" and "best". It is a silly business.

I'm not saying in theory that it can't be done. But I have to wonder if such attempts are a product of people underrating their own idiosyncratic criteria and overrating the criteria dictated to them by tradition and established norms.

Per the impetus for this discussion, I think you can have a favorite something-or-other without necessarily wanting to return to it as often as something else that isn't as much your favorite. Example: my favorite food is pizza. The fact that there are other foods I eat more often doesn't change that. If anything, it might indicate that the experience of eating those other foods is more ephemeral and less fulfilling--in other words, when compared to pizza, less worthy of being considered a favorite. Maybe I used to have a different favorite food, but the fact that I ate it too often made it less special and now I don't want it anymore. Maybe I just plain don't want to indulge in too much of a good thing.

Now I want pizza. Thanks a lot, assholes.


Whereas I think that assuming favorite/best are the same is incredibly arrogant and solipsistic -- I love it, therefore it is the best movie ever made? Doesn't make any sense to me. I love Zulu to death but it's not even one of the 100 best movies ever made

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Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:00 pm
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Post Re: Time to Man Up and Make a List: Your 2012 Top 10 (no hurry)
"Favorites" is the only thing anyone has a right to honestly claim. "Best movie of all time" doesn't really mean much.


Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:33 pm
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Post Re: Time to Man Up and Make a List: Your 2012 Top 10 (no hurry)
MGamesCook wrote:
"Favorites" is the only thing anyone has a right to honestly claim. "Best movie of all time" doesn't really mean much.


Why? I'm far more interested in what you think is the best movie than what is your personal favorite

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Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:29 pm
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Post Re: Time to Man Up and Make a List: Your 2012 Top 10 (no hurry)
JamesKunz wrote:
MGamesCook wrote:
"Favorites" is the only thing anyone has a right to honestly claim. "Best movie of all time" doesn't really mean much.


Why? I'm far more interested in what you think is the best movie than what is your personal favorite


I'm with Kunzie. There is objectivity to this stuff, which is what makes it interesting to discuss. If there's not a level of objectivity, what's the point? It's certainly not all objective, but finding that line is the whole intrigue of art to me. To be clear: how art speaks to us and makes us feel is far more subjective than the quality of art, although they are often intertwined (i.e. the objective quality of the effects in Battleship doesn't inherently make it a good film).

As Kunz pointed out with his Zulu example, many of us have a definitive "favorite" film that we wouldn't come close to claiming is the best film. And on the reverse of that, I'm completely confident that, say, 8 1/2 is one of the (at worst) 20 best movies ever made, although it wouldn't sniff my personal Top 100 Favorites List.

I totally get what you're saying, MGames, and there's certainly nothing about my opinion that is correct because it's my opinion. My opinion may happen to align with truth, but nothing my opinion is not what lends truth to it, if that makes sense. Again, I totally get what you're saying in that our opinion/favorite is all we can offer with total credence, but what's interesting to me is that if you say 2001 is the best film, and I say Apocalypse Now is the best film, one of us may be right. I think that's cool.


Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:35 pm
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Post Re: Time to Man Up and Make a List: Your 2012 Top 10 (no hurry)
One of my all-time favourite films is The Blues Brothers.

But despite its great, and still unique, mix of awesome music and car chases, I'd be hard pressed to call it objectively the greatest movie ever.

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Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:04 am
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Post Re: Time to Man Up and Make a List: Your 2012 Top 10 (no hurry)
If you want objectivity, then what you should be objectifying is what the said films contain which makes them the best. It's hard to objectify a movie as a whole; you can't account for every decision that's made during its production, but you can objectify certain elements of it. Blues Brothers may be a flawed movie, but the car chases and music are objective elements which contribute to your subjective overall positive opinion of it.

Selecting what the best movie of all time is, is ultimately a matter of falling into different camps. Nothing wrong with that I guess, personally I like The Godfather camp. I'm open to the idea of Jaws being the best as well. The real question is, what are regular people open to. The way trends are going right now, you'd have better luck getting the average person to watch what they believe might be one of the best movies, than you would getting them to watch something which appeals to their baser instincts. Wish it wasn't the case.


Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:21 am
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Post Re: Time to Man Up and Make a List: Your 2012 Top 10 (no hurry)
But those objective car chases and objective soul records are given subjective gravitas by moi.


(The French word seemed appropriate in the context)

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Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:18 am
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Post Re: Time to Man Up and Make a List: Your 2012 Top 10 (no hurry)
MGamesCook wrote:
It's hard to objectify a movie as a whole; you can't account for every decision that's made during its production, but you can objectify certain elements of it.


Precisely, and that's my point: it's hard, but it can be done. As I said, I believe that a film can't be graded based solely on the merit of each of it's qualities in some stringent metric, but there is an overarching quality that any film has that is definable, but it is super-hard to do so.

MGamesCook wrote:
The real question is, what are regular people open to. The way trends are going right now, you'd have better luck getting the average person to watch what they believe might be one of the best movies, than you would getting them to watch something which appeals to their baser instincts. Wish it wasn't the case.


I don't know that I agree that your premise defines the majority given that the movies at the top of the box office are supremely similar to what they've always been in appeal. However, I do think your premise does define many film consumers, although I care about that far less than you do. Certainly part of the point of discussing and dissecting this stuff is to try to win each other into certain camps and that's great, but that's not what matters to me, ultimately, and that's not what affects in any sense my joy in the films I love and find the most value in.

And maybe we just need to define our terms better, but to me there's a fairly significant difference between "baser instincts" and "what we find most entertaining." The former, to me, just screams of relentless, pulsing assaults on the senses that captures our attention through loudness more than anything, while the latter is more about visceral appeal to the individual taste and life experience. The latter to me is much more valuable, but as I said we might be talking about the same thing just in different terms.


Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:31 am
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Post Re: Time to Man Up and Make a List: Your 2012 Top 10 (no hurry)
To all here: what are your objective criteria?

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Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:34 am
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Post Re: Time to Man Up and Make a List: Your 2012 Top 10 (no hurry)
In some ways the lines between best movie of al-time and personal favorites can be blurred. Many people might pick Taxi Driver or Casablanca as their personal all-time favorite (myself for the former, my father for the latter) and I often see both of those listed on all-time favorite lists. Another candidate from my perspective is Apocalypse Now and indeed that one also pops up on many lists.

On the other hand, Die Hard might not quite make a general best of all-time movies list. But I could see it making it into the top 5 on a best action movies of all-time list. Personally I'd agree with that and rank it at or close to the top (its primary competitors being Aliens and a couple John Woo movies).

Like Nothugh I love the aforementioned Blues Brothers and would place it on an all-time faovrite comedies list as well as a general all-time favorites list. But I'm not sure it would quite place on an all-time best list. On the other hand I could easily see Monty Python And The Holy Grail on an all-time best list.

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Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:13 am
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Post Re: Time to Man Up and Make a List: Your 2012 Top 10 (no hurry)
Ken wrote:
To all here: what are your objective criteria?


Great question. Not to be a tool about it, but quality is my objective criteria. Seriously though: story, acting, cinematography, editing: all are, at a certain point, undeniably objective to me. For me, a film can be objectively good if it succeeds in all those things most importantly, with everything (including things not mentioned, such as production design and costumes and music) serving the story, which is most important and what makes the whole endeavor worthwhile. I just don't believe that people actually love movies for the points they make, they love them for story. We can all of course be struck emotionally/intellectually by an idea or concept or worldview that a film projects that we happen to agree with, but that's different than quality. When a movie like, say, Courageous or Soul Surfer is loved by those who share the worldview (which is certainly not to say everyone who shares that worldview loves those movies), I think they honestly enjoy it, but there's no objective quality in that. Same for, say, Dead Man Walking or Z (both of which I happen to find to be a great films on their own merit): I may sing their praises partially because I agree with their politics, and I may honestly love them for that reason, but that doesn't lend them quality in and of itself. It's the reverse of the whole ordeal of Birth of a Nation: horrifically misguided ideas, great film. Birth of a Nation will never be a favorite of mine even though I concede that it's objectively better than some I do consider my favorites.

I'm not sure if that's a helpful answer, but there you are.


Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:16 am
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Post Re: Time to Man Up and Make a List: Your 2012 Top 10 (no hurry)
To summarize Shade's point in a single line: Art is completely subjective. Craft isn't.

To use a G.O.A.T and personal example, when I first saw Schindler's List, I was completely moved by it. A lot of it had to do with the fact that I did not know a lot about the Holocaust until that point in my life. (Don't sue me, this was when I was 15/16 which is when you start building world knowledge.) And each subsequent time, I've been moved to tears by it. The story of one man doing something so pure touches my heart every single time I see it. I've heard criticisms of its portrayal of the Holocaust. I am not an expert on it, so I cannot speak of it. But I don't think anyone - even its staunchest critics - can deny that every single aspect of Schindler's List from a craft point of view - Spielberg's understated direction, Kaminski's exquisite B&W cinematography, and Williams' masterful, longing score - all serve its story and make it one of the most finely crafted motion pictures of all time. I think the same applies for any masterpiece, or any film, in general. Different films speak to different people but you can unanimously say that some of them are the greatest of all time irrespective of how moved/touched/thought-provoked you are by them. (Whether you liked the final sequence of Skyfall or not, I don't think anyone can deny that it was one of the most beautifully crafted sequences of 2012.)

Of course, this applies to people who generally understand - to whatever degree - the craft that goes into making films. If they don't, the only measure is what Cook was talking about in the earlier post.

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Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:55 am
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Post Re: Time to Man Up and Make a List: Your 2012 Top 10 (no hurry)
Craft--at least as described by you guys--is subjective. You guys are singling out an element of a film, characterizing it as objective, but then you invariably relate it back to your experience of the film and evaluate that element of the film based upon your experience. That is subjective by definition. How do you evaluate how well an element succeeds? How do you evaluate whether or not the score is masterful, whether or not the cinematography is exquisite, and so on? Objectivity requires that there be some sort of external criteria that doesn't depend on the experience of the viewer.

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Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:05 pm
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Post Re: Time to Man Up and Make a List: Your 2012 Top 10 (no hurry)
Ken wrote:
Craft--at least as described by you guys--is subjective. You guys are singling out an element of a film, characterizing it as objective, but then you invariably relate it back to your experience of the film and evaluate that element of the film based upon your experience. That is subjective by definition.


I think you're muddying what he's saying and I'm saying a little bit. As I originally stated, I'm not talking about craft in a purely technical sense (such as Bal's Skyfall example). And I don't agree that art is completely subjective. If you think Monet is a crappy artist, you're incorrect.

Ken wrote:
How do you evaluate how well an element succeeds? How do you evaluate whether or not the score is masterful, whether or not the cinematography is exquisite, and so on? Objectivity requires that there be some sort of external criteria that doesn't depend on the experience of the viewer.


I see your point and I agree with it. I'll try to explain myself better:

I know you are not using the word "experience" in this sense, but to turn it around a little, every film is, by the very nature of the medium, experienced. And that can be objective. To answer your question, you evaluate the success of the score/cinematography/etc based on exactly that; the quality thereof. The challenge is that it's a whole package when we're trying to lay out the objective quality of the work as a whole.

As I've said: I think very, very few works of art are objectively and undeniably great. But I think they exist.


Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:50 pm
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Post Re: Time to Man Up and Make a List: Your 2012 Top 10 (no hurry)
Shade, I think Skyfall was a bad example. With Schindler's List, I was talking about how all those individual aspects combined to form a cohesive work of craft, not merely in their technicality but in their effectiveness. But I think Ken has raised an interesting point here: how objectively can you judge those aspects. And I have to concede my original argument loses validity in that regard. Taking the Spielberg film as example, I will agree with Ken in that you cannot say those aspects are subservient to a singular work of vision if you cannot understand what that vision is.

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Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:32 pm
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Post Re: Time to Man Up and Make a List: Your 2012 Top 10 (no hurry)
NotHughGrant wrote:
JamesKunz wrote:

I wasn't impressed by the manor attack sequence either


But you didn't rate Hot Fuzz either. So I won't lose sleep over that.

Considering it reminded a lot of people (myself included) of "Home Alone," I can see how it could've been a turnoff to some. :|


Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:28 pm
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