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June 25, 2009: "Berardinelli's Top 100" 
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Post Re: June 25, 2009: "Berardinelli's Top 100"
BrianB wrote:
LotR is ranked as a single movie. They are all #20.


You're right; the way they were listed, I didn't catch that.


Fri Jun 26, 2009 7:53 am
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Post Re: June 25, 2009: "Berardinelli's Top 100"
Quote:
1. I'm surprised Lawrence of Arabia was so low; at #96, it's in danger of dropping out of the list altogether.


I agree about Lawrence of Arabia. Although I am biased; it is my favorite.


Fri Jun 26, 2009 3:00 pm
Post Re: June 25, 2009: "Berardinelli's Top 100"
I'm confused; Vertigo's been on the list since the beginning, yet you rated it 3 1/2 stars.

Does that mean your opinion of it has improved since your initial review?

?


Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:23 pm
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Post Re: June 25, 2009: "Berardinelli's Top 100"
Tuco wrote:
So, my question is, are there any 'soft' ratings in your top 100? Flicks you haven't seen in a while and are more likely to be re-appraised (either up or down) simply due to the passage of time and/or exposure to so many more films?
Obviously, if there are, I'm most interested in which ones they are.


Nothing on the list is "soft," since I re-watched all these titles (as well as about 100 more) when compiling the list in 2001.

There are some titles that can sneak in upon re-appraisal. Good example: THE APARTMENT. I first saw it in 1987 but hadn't re-watched it when I made up the list. It didn't make the Top 200 cut, so I didn't watch it as part of the final culling process. Then, a couple of years ago, I chose it as my "A" movie in the Alphabet series (a review of one movie for each letter of the alphabet). It was much, much better than I remembered and I decided it deserved placement in the Top 100.

I'm sure there are other movies out there.

I'm not sure if that answers your question, though.


Fri Jun 26, 2009 5:50 pm
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Post Re: June 25, 2009: "Berardinelli's Top 100"
James, when you announced you were doing a top 100 over a 2 year period, I remember thinking "man, that's going to take forever to finish". I was already a long-time reader at that point, so I've been following your site for a long time. (I looked up your site after Ebert mentioned you in one of his articles/reviews).

Anyway, a question - I just noticed that some of the movies on the list are rated 3.5 stars (The Natural, Psycho, etc), and are above some 4 star rated movies on the list, including once that got bumped off the list (Lost in Translation).

Obviously, your personal favorites don't have to match your recommendations, but I'm wondering what your perspective on that is. (I think you might have address this before, but I can't remember what you said).


Sat Jun 27, 2009 11:33 am
Post Re: June 25, 2009: "Berardinelli's Top 100"
Hey James since we're discussing lists and all I was wondering if you'll ever do like a top 10 list for your favourite films for a specific genre eg. war, thriller, film noir etc.

It'll probably be more help to people wanting to get into movies of a specific genre.


Sat Jun 27, 2009 6:15 pm
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Post Re: June 25, 2009: "Berardinelli's Top 100"
There have been some questions about how I chose the Top 100. Here's the introduction:

People love lists. At the end of every year, everywhere you look, there are "Top 10s" of this, that, and the other things. And every time the American Film Institute (AFI) comes out with another made-for-TV movie list special, viewers tune in. You know the ones I'm talking about... The 100 Best American movies, "100 Years, 100 Laughs","100 Years, 100 Thrills", "100 Years, 100 Tears", "100 Years, 100 Groans", "100 Years, 100 Snores", etc. And, at the end of the year, we all check the critics' Best 10 lists, if only to shake our heads at how misguided they are.

Like everyone else, I have a soft spot for lists. Perhaps because I'm an engineer by trade, I like organizing things, and lists are effective ways of doing that. Still, I don't pay much attention to any of the so-called "All Time" film rosters - whenever a prominent one pops up, curiosity prods me to check it out, but it doesn't mean much to me. I don't get upset if my favorite films aren't there - in fact, in many cases, I expect them to be absent. There's nothing more individual and personal than a Top 100 list. Attempts to quantify the Best 100 movies of all time are doomed to failure, since the words "quantify" and "art" are incompatible bedfellows.

So why am I making my Top 100 list available for the world to see? One reason is that, amidst all of the e-mails I get, this is one of the most frequent requests. Once every three or four days, as regular as clockwork, someone asks for my Top 10, 20, 50, 100, or even 1000 movies of all-time. Another reason is to highlight some underrated films by their inclusion (and, conversely, to do the same with some overrated films by their omission). At the very least (for those with similar tastes to mine), this list will represent a repository of potential VHS/DVD rental choices.

Please note that the title of the list is my "Top 100 Films of All-Time" not the "Best 100 Films of All-Time". My ego is not large enough to allow me to claim to be able to compile the latter list. To date, I estimate I have seen about 6000 movies. That's a lot - more than many people see in a lifetime - but it also means that there are thousands of films I have not seen, and, with so many holes in my viewing roster, I can't even attempt to compile a comprehensive list. So all I'm doing here is listing my 100 favorites (and it took a lot of work to narrow things down to 100 titles). I doubt there's another person in this world who will come up with the same 100 movies.

Also, the list is a living thing. As I see more movies, it will evolve and change. When a great new film comes out, it may enter the list. Likewise, I may see and fall in love with an older movie. Thus, to start with, there are no runners-up. But, as other movies enter the list, those near the bottom will slip into runners-up status. Five years from now, the list may have changed by 10-20%. I expect to revisit the list anually (every January) to determine whether any of the movies I have seen in the past twelve months (whether new releases or older films I have just gotten around to watching) should be added. The main list page will keep a record of additions and films that have become runners up.

Some might assume that the list will be comprised solely of four star films. It is not. There are many four-star films to be found, but also quite a few with three-and-one-half stars. There are also a number of four-star films that didn't make the list. There's no definitive reason for this, except that the passage of time has, in some cases, enhanced or decreased my opinion of a particular movie. Reviews, excepting video reviews, are written within 24 hours of my having seen a movie, and are usually based on a single viewing. Hindsight, used in compiling this list, is generally not a contributing factor. There are no movies on it that I have seen only once. Plus, the star-rating, imperfect as it may be, signifies how strongly I recommend a film (four-stars being the highest recommendation). It does not represent objective quality (although that is often what people mistake it to mean). How much I like a film correlates strongly with how highly I recommend it, but the correlation is not perfect. That may not make sense to anyone reading this, but it makes perfect sense to me.

A few random statistics of possible interest. The breakdown by decades goes like this: one from the 1920s, four from the 1930s, five from the 1940s, 15 from the 1950s, 14 from the 1960s, 15 from the 1970s, 26 from the 1980s, 17 from the 1990s, and three from the 2000s. (This does not mean I think the 1980s is the best decade for movies; however, since the '80s represented my "formative" years, it's logical that a high percentage of my favorite movies would come from this era.) The black-and-white versus color breakdown is as follows: 74 in color, 26 in black-and-white. Two are silent films; the rest are "talkies." Spielberg has five entries. Kurosawa has four. Scorsese, Reiner, and Hitchcock have three apiece. No other directors have more than two.

So, for what it's worth, here's the list that so many of you have clamored for - the fruit of more than three decades of movie-watching and ten years of reviewing.


Sat Jun 27, 2009 11:02 pm
Profile WWW
Post Re: June 25, 2009: "Berardinelli's Top 100"
I am bereft at The Big Sleep sliding from the 100 - I'll need therapy for this; surely, as time passes, consideration should be propelling it ever higher up the ranks...


Sun Jun 28, 2009 10:05 pm
Post Re: June 25, 2009: "Berardinelli's Top 100"
James Berardinelli wrote:
Nothing on the list is "soft," since I re-watched all these titles (as well as about 100 more) when compiling the list in 2001.

There are some titles that can sneak in upon re-appraisal. Good example: THE APARTMENT. I first saw it in 1987 but hadn't re-watched it when I made up the list. It didn't make the Top 200 cut, so I didn't watch it as part of the final culling process. Then, a couple of years ago, I chose it as my "A" movie in the Alphabet series (a review of one movie for each letter of the alphabet). It was much, much better than I remembered and I decided it deserved placement in the Top 100.

I'm sure there are other movies out there.

I'm not sure if that answers your question, though.


Thanks for the response.

You did answer my question, but it did get me to thinking the matter a bit more. I figured out that what makes my list 'soft' is that my criteria for inclusion are soft. I think the biggest criteria on my list is emotional. It's sort of silly to try to break it down to a percentage, but conceptually, it might be useful to say that my emotional reaction to a film is probably 70% of what makes up it's status as a 'favorite.' As such, because my emotional state changes, my list changes (shuffles, really) fairly often.

In fact, I find the fact that your list isn't soft, least in spots, to be remarkable.

I intend that as a compliment, by the way. To have a firm list indicates that you've put thought (certainly more than I have) into what characterstics you value in a film; what makes it entertaining, or artistically valid, what moves you, what is thought-provoking, etc.

I can't keep track of it all. With some notable exceptions, due mostly to incredible repetition, I find myself forced to reduce the flicks I've seen to what they did to my emotional state the last time I saw them. That gives me a simple and useful 'index,' but the biggest downside is that it makes my list subject to emotional variables that are totally unconnected to the film I'm thinking of.

The worst example is that I sometimes have to remind myself that Wyatt Earp basically sucked. I LOVE the whole mythology that surrounds Wyatt Earp the man, and even a crapfest about him can leave me emotionally affected.

So, I guess I'm just marveling that your list is as fixed as it is.


Mon Jun 29, 2009 3:48 am
Post Re: June 25, 2009: "Berardinelli's Top 100"
This list is the perfect example of why I love JB's work. How often do we get to see a true list from anyone?


Mon Jun 29, 2009 8:01 am
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Post Re: June 25, 2009: "Berardinelli's Top 100"
James's #2 is my current #1, with my only qualm being whether Dekalog should be considered a single movie rather than a series of films. Last year, it knocked off The Maltese Falcon, which was my #1 since the early 80s.

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Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:44 am
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Post Re: June 25, 2009: "Berardinelli's Top 100"
Hey James, nice list. Been reading your reviews on this site for many years. I wonder have you ever seen Grand Illusion? It seems like a film you would love and place highly...I would say it's my number 1 closely followed by A Woman Under the Influence.


Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:13 am
Post Re: June 25, 2009: "Berardinelli's Top 100"
Thank you for continuing to expand the Honorable Mention list to always include Wrath of Kahn.


Tue Jun 30, 2009 5:00 pm
Gaffer
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Post Re: June 25, 2009: "Berardinelli's Top 100"
Hey James - it's July 1. Time to put up your Top Ten List of 2009 So Far.


Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:37 pm
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Post Re: June 25, 2009: "Berardinelli's Top 100"
Grant Wood wrote:
Hey James - it's July 1. Time to put up your Top Ten List of 2009 So Far.


You are correct, Sir. It's on the "to do" list. Tomorrow, it's 1987, then a couple of days after, it's the Halftime Top 10.


Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:09 pm
Profile WWW
Post Re: June 25, 2009: "Berardinelli's Top 100"
I just want a Bottom 100. C'mon, you know you want to. :D


Thu Jul 02, 2009 10:01 am
Post Re: June 25, 2009: "Berardinelli's Top 100"
rblount27 wrote:
I just want a Bottom 100. C'mon, you know you want to. :D


Only a crazy person would do that! And we haven't made James insane yet.


Thu Jul 02, 2009 10:05 am
Post Re: June 25, 2009: "Berardinelli's Top 100"
James Berardinelli wrote:
There have been some questions about how I chose the Top 100. Here's the introduction:

People love lists. At the end of every year, everywhere you look, there are "Top 10s" of this, that, and the other things. And every time the American Film Institute (AFI) comes out with another made-for-TV movie list special, viewers tune in. You know the ones I'm talking about... The 100 Best American movies, "100 Years, 100 Laughs","100 Years, 100 Thrills", "100 Years, 100 Tears", "100 Years, 100 Groans", "100 Years, 100 Snores", etc. And, at the end of the year, we all check the critics' Best 10 lists, if only to shake our heads at how misguided they are.

Like everyone else, I have a soft spot for lists. Perhaps because I'm an engineer by trade, I like organizing things, and lists are effective ways of doing that. Still, I don't pay much attention to any of the so-called "All Time" film rosters - whenever a prominent one pops up, curiosity prods me to check it out, but it doesn't mean much to me. I don't get upset if my favorite films aren't there - in fact, in many cases, I expect them to be absent. There's nothing more individual and personal than a Top 100 list. Attempts to quantify the Best 100 movies of all time are doomed to failure, since the words "quantify" and "art" are incompatible bedfellows.

So why am I making my Top 100 list available for the world to see? One reason is that, amidst all of the e-mails I get, this is one of the most frequent requests. Once every three or four days, as regular as clockwork, someone asks for my Top 10, 20, 50, 100, or even 1000 movies of all-time. Another reason is to highlight some underrated films by their inclusion (and, conversely, to do the same with some overrated films by their omission). At the very least (for those with similar tastes to mine), this list will represent a repository of potential VHS/DVD rental choices.

Please note that the title of the list is my "Top 100 Films of All-Time" not the "Best 100 Films of All-Time". My ego is not large enough to allow me to claim to be able to compile the latter list. To date, I estimate I have seen about 6000 movies. That's a lot - more than many people see in a lifetime - but it also means that there are thousands of films I have not seen, and, with so many holes in my viewing roster, I can't even attempt to compile a comprehensive list. So all I'm doing here is listing my 100 favorites (and it took a lot of work to narrow things down to 100 titles). I doubt there's another person in this world who will come up with the same 100 movies.

Also, the list is a living thing. As I see more movies, it will evolve and change. When a great new film comes out, it may enter the list. Likewise, I may see and fall in love with an older movie. Thus, to start with, there are no runners-up. But, as other movies enter the list, those near the bottom will slip into runners-up status. Five years from now, the list may have changed by 10-20%. I expect to revisit the list anually (every January) to determine whether any of the movies I have seen in the past twelve months (whether new releases or older films I have just gotten around to watching) should be added. The main list page will keep a record of additions and films that have become runners up.

Some might assume that the list will be comprised solely of four star films. It is not. There are many four-star films to be found, but also quite a few with three-and-one-half stars. There are also a number of four-star films that didn't make the list. There's no definitive reason for this, except that the passage of time has, in some cases, enhanced or decreased my opinion of a particular movie. Reviews, excepting video reviews, are written within 24 hours of my having seen a movie, and are usually based on a single viewing. Hindsight, used in compiling this list, is generally not a contributing factor. There are no movies on it that I have seen only once. Plus, the star-rating, imperfect as it may be, signifies how strongly I recommend a film (four-stars being the highest recommendation). It does not represent objective quality (although that is often what people mistake it to mean). How much I like a film correlates strongly with how highly I recommend it, but the correlation is not perfect. That may not make sense to anyone reading this, but it makes perfect sense to me.

A few random statistics of possible interest. The breakdown by decades goes like this: one from the 1920s, four from the 1930s, five from the 1940s, 15 from the 1950s, 14 from the 1960s, 15 from the 1970s, 26 from the 1980s, 17 from the 1990s, and three from the 2000s. (This does not mean I think the 1980s is the best decade for movies; however, since the '80s represented my "formative" years, it's logical that a high percentage of my favorite movies would come from this era.) The black-and-white versus color breakdown is as follows: 74 in color, 26 in black-and-white. Two are silent films; the rest are "talkies." Spielberg has five entries. Kurosawa has four. Scorsese, Reiner, and Hitchcock have three apiece. No other directors have more than two.

So, for what it's worth, here's the list that so many of you have clamored for - the fruit of more than three decades of movie-watching and ten years of reviewing.


Do you ever sleep? I am beginning to think you don't.


Thu Jul 02, 2009 6:48 pm
Post Re: June 25, 2009: "Berardinelli's Top 100"
I have to ask, where the heck is Apocalypse Now on your list??? Is it just not there because you've never seen it before?


Mon Jul 06, 2009 3:17 am
Post Re: June 25, 2009: "Berardinelli's Top 100"
Captain Aarrgh wrote:
I have to ask, where the heck is Apocalypse Now on your list??? Is it just not there because you've never seen it before?


Here's his review right here. Apparently he doesn't like the movie enough to have it be put on his Top 100.

http://www.reelviews.net/movies/a/apocalypse_now.html


Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:18 am
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