Monday, August 3, 2009

Tristan's Top 100 - Films on the Verge

Alas, the honorable mentions segment. I can't proceed without it, and for various reasons, chief among them guilt. I love too many of these films to not at least casually name drop them. Tragically, for one reason or another, when the tough choices had to be made, these films got dropped. And it's more random than you'd think. There was a time when any one of 40 odd films were vying for the final 15 spots. At some point I just had to cut myself off and lock in a definite final 100. I already made too many additional graphics. My indecision was holding back the project. So, for better or for worse, I made up my mind, and in the end some titles had to go. So now I present to you the films that didn't make the grade, sorted not by preference, but by reason they got left off.

Films I need to rewatch: Who can I blame here but myself? Some films I unquestioningly claimed as favorites the first time we met, but I've never had a chance to revisit them since. If I were more confident in my love of them, or my ability to wax poetic for a paragraph or two on exactly why they belong on my list, I'd likely have included them. Missing out on these grounds are Persona, The Double Life of Veronique, L'avventura, The Battle of Algiers, On Top of the Whale, Kandahar, El Topo, Ugetsu and Paris, Texas among others no doubt.

Films by directors already well represented on the list: And bear in mind, I never set limits on my list. There was no cap on how many films by any one director, from any certain decade or in any given language. But when it came time to finish this list off, that kind of criteria helped me make up my mind. I'd have loved to have included The White Diamond, but Werner Herzog has a respectable share of my favorite films already. In much the same way, I gave the heave-ho to Greenaway's The Baby of Macon, Miyazaki's Porco Rosso, Bunuel's L'Age D'or and Godard's Contempt. There's one director with four films on the list. A few others have three. Tragically though, some excellent directors have none, bringing me to my next point.

Directors who I don't have a clear favorite from: Tricky situation here. There's several directors who just seem like they belong on a list of my 100 favorite films because they so thoroughly fit my style, and yet you won't find them here, all because I can't decide which film to include. Pedro Almodovar, for instance, has given me All About My Mother, Talk to Her, Volver and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, but my favorite is prone to switching depending on the day. And much as I love them, it's not enough for me to justify multiple spots on the list. And so, Almodovar gets the shaft. But he's not alone. Cronenberg could have easily had The Brood, The Fly or Naked Lunch, but instead has none. Kubrick could have had Dr. Strangelove, Barry Lyndon or A Clockwork Orange, but I simply couldn't choose. Scorsese very nearly had After Hours, but Taxi Driver and King of Comedy kept me second guessing myself. It's best I not even get into the quandary that Woody Allen was giving me. He too misses out. But all the aforementioned films are great ones, easily alternates to this list on another day, so don't take their absence too hard. I'll try to make up for them with my other inclusions.

Films I'd never be able to make a legitimate case for: Oh, what else to call this section? Guilty pleasures isn't fair because I feel no guilt in loving them. But to throw Tank Girl in alongside everything else would imply that, to use a random example, I like it that much more than Belle de Jour, but not quite as much as La Dolce Vita. That's just weird, and I'd get tired of trying to explain why I placed it exactly where I did. Perhaps it's irrelevant because Tank Girl wouldn't quite have made the cut anyway, but I'd be lying if I didn't toy with the idea of putting it or other similarly eyebrow raising selections on the list. Some others I'd mention: Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Sex and Fury, Pink Flamingos, Flesh For Frankenstein and Starship Troopers. All have a special place in my heart, but not a place on this list. That having been said, since my list is of favorites, not "the best," I did include a few choices that I'd never dream of placing among the greatest films of all time. On a list that essentially defines my taste in movies though, I'd be remiss to leave them off.

Special Cases: Only two more mentions. First, the only film that I can recall doing a complete 180 on, Powell & Pressburger's marvelous ballet epic The Red Shoes. I was cold to it at first, not the gorgeous cinematography, but the story itself. I've since revised my opinion considerably. I suspect with another viewing, The Red Shoes will catapult into the upper tier of my list, but I'll reserve that placement for later. The other film I wanted to give a shout out to is Robert Bresson's Mouchette, which for whatever reason I just couldn't see on the final list. I set it apart from the others because it's just about the only thing Bresson has done that's ever impressed me, minimalism is as contrary to my style as you can get, and I had to call attention to one way or another since it didn't fit under any of the other categories.

But there you have it. That's what you wo
n't be seeing. Or rather, that's what you won't be seeing that I feel guilty about. There's plenty of shocking exclusions that I'll leave you to find out as we go. And I won't hold you long in suspense. The first 10 will be up in a day or so. Along with them I'll post some preliminary statistics, because if there's one thing I love more than pointless rankings, it's pointless statistics.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Tristan, I finally found this blog, I've apparently been missing out on a lot of listing! I'm glad to see that you did a U-turn on The Red Shoes, but why does Godard's best film get the heave-ho? And seriously, no Cronenberg, Kubrick, Almodovar, or Scorsese?