It’s that time of year again- that time of year where the crickets are chirping about the end-of-year-lists, scoops for next years best of lists, award ceremony predictions, predictions of award ceremonies based on last years end-of-year lists for the best little list in Texas…
And, of course, top ten lists.
As most of my friends are aware, I cannot take the Oscars or their ilk seriously. I’m a shitty guest at Oscar parties. Unless they are snarky parties. I know that winning a “Best Picture” aware cannot actually designate the year’s best movie. But this isn’t about my built in hatred for the glitz and glitter of the homecoming dance that is the Academy Awards.
This is about those lists- and since I don’t think I saw a single theatrically released film in 2009, it isn’t about an end-of-year list either.
What I am curious about is the “Best of All Time” lists. You’ve made them yourself- I know you have! When people ask you: “What is your favorite movie of all time” do you have a constant answer? I don’t, I can’t. Top 10 favorite movies of all time? Well, maybe I could pull that off, but it would shift.
What about your favorite (insert genre here) movies of all time? Now, some of my friends know me to be a bit of a horror fan. I’d rather they asked me what my favorite Spaghetti Western films were- because that narrows it down A LOT. Since the Spags were really only being made for a 12 year period that narrows it down- well we could be kind and stretch it out for closer to 20, but I’m talking about the rule-changing movies. Basically: A Fistful of Dollars to Keoma. 1964-1976.
Oh, but most people aren’t that specific. It’s just: “Top 10 movies. GO!” or “What do you think the ten best horror films are?”
Those are tough questions. For one thing, you tend to be comparing a lot of apples, oranges, bananas and kumquats to tomatoes. And none of these things are terribly similar beyond being “movies”.
Folks’ll do the same damn thing with books, which seems unfair too. My favorite five books of all time? Jesus, ask me which of my kids is my favorite why don’t you. Sometimes the bibliophiles will take pity: “Favorite books in X genre, or poetry, collections of short stories, classic literature, contemporary lit, beach reads, etc”.
Movie folk tend to be less kind. What the hell constitutes a “horror” movie anyway? With Spaghetti Westerns it is easy: Italian films, sometimes co-productions with Spanish companies, often shot in Almeria, often post-modern of heavily political in subtext. Lots of Ennio Morricone scores.
Horror isn’t that easy to classify: “Scary movie” for some people. For some people Silence Of The Lambs always shows up on their top ten horror films list- I think Silence is a terrific movie (haven’t seen it in over a decade, no idea if it has held up) but a horror movie? Eh. I call thriller. Is Army of Darkness a horror film, or a comedy? Likewise Shaun of the Dean- hey, if you ask me my top 10 horror-comedy films, I can do that easily- or can I? I assume we’d have to say that a horror-comedy is one in which the comedy is intentional, otherwise a number of 80s slasher films would end up on that list…
And what about slasher movies? Are they actually horror, or are they sleazier thrillers, hence “slasher movies”? And what about Alien? Is it horror? I think it definitely is (unlike the rest of the series), but who am I to say?
Indeed. What are some top-ten movies lists you think of, love to contemplate, or are curious about?