Thursday, May 28, 2009

Year's Best Countdown

The premise for this entire countdown is pretty self explanatory, but I figured that it was worthwhile to put up an introduction to at least lay out how it will be run and how I’m picking the films involved. Since there seemed to be some positive reaction to the idea when I floated it a few days ago, I’ve decided to move forward with it and have already begun compiling my list and writing the first few reviews. Starting with the year 1930, I will select my #1 film for each year and do my usual review and write-up about it. Once the series has begun, a new year will be covered every few days. The choices that I make will take into consideration concepts such as “greatness” (however definitively that can be defined) and historical significance to a certain degree, but this is not going to be the guiding principle. I can envision nothing more boring than a list made up of all the old warhorses and canonized “great films.” To be sure, many of these warhorses are going to pop anyway, as some of them are among my favorite films, but I can almost guarantee that there will be some surprises and that is precisely the point – hopefully everybody involved will have a different take and we can generate some interesting discussions and debates on the best of each year.

The list will be unique. As I said, expect a lot of the usual suspects to pop up. I don’t ever apologize for loving a lot of wildly popular and commonly praised films. But there will also be plenty of surprises, as there are certainly films that I have a personal attachment to or that I think more highly of than most others. I consider myself a very well-rounded film lover, but I haven't seen everything, so it's possible that some films may be overlooked due simply to having not seen it. Anticipate long stretches of Hollywood-centric selections, but not the complete exclusion of world cinema. And don’t be surprised by some interesting ratings for each film. Since I’m picking the best of each year, there are going to be a lot of Perfect 10s, so that subsection of the site will begin to grow. But don’t be surprised to see a lot of 9s and even 8s chosen as my top choice for a given year. It may seem low for something considered the best of an entire year, but it’s not. These are still good ratings and movies I admire.

Finally, I must give credit to those that inspired me to attempt this countdown. Roger Ebert’s Great Movies was certainly an influence and made me realize how much I wanted to try and pen some thoughts on my own favorite films. Ed Howard’s Films I Love series at the excellent Only The Cinema blog had a very similar impact. And, as I stated in a previous post, the outstanding Wonders in the Dark blog, run by Sam Juliano and Allan Fish, and their lists and polls of the greatest films of each decade gave me the final nudge to go forward with this idea.

I know, I know, this is nothing revolutionary, but I thought it worthwhile to at least introduce the countdown and encourage everybody who stops by the blog to be involved. If you agree with any selections, or if you think I’m a completely delusional windbag who chooses terrible films, let me know about it! Leave comments… agree, criticize, declare your own pick for each year. This should be interesting and highly entertaining for me as I go back through my all-time favorites.


  1. Go get 'em, Tiger! ;)

    I'll be reading with interest.

  2. Thanks for the encouragement, C.K.! It should be fun.

  3. Again Dave, I thank you in behalf of Allan, and I can't wait to see your choices.

  4. Dave -- just saw this via the 70's poll over at WitD. I'll be following along with you from here on out. Sounds like a fun series.

  5. Thanks, Troy! Jump right into the discussions... it's interesting to see where everybody's taste lies. This has been a fun project so far, and it's getting better now as I'm entering into years where the choices are going to be even tougher.

  6. Well, I've held back till now because I didn't want to get "hooked" by another blog, but Sam finally edged me over. I'll be starting here and making my way through the years.

    I'm hoping to try my own similar endeavor (probably not till next year at this point as I've been talking about it since January and it hasn't happened yet). It will be similar to your and Allan's lists in that it will mix "favorite" and "bests" and will be ordered chronologically. It will be different in that the essays will be fewer and far between, as they will probably be pretty, long. I love the fact that you guys keep the engine running at a steady speed but nonetheless, I'm gonna give the long-form idea a shot - it will also give me the opportunity to focus on one movie for an extended period, something I rarely do with a fast-paced viewing schedule, listen to the commentary, research the film history in local libraries, watch the special features, re-watch the movie a few times. Should be enjoyable.

    Anyway, believe it or not, I just not come here to pimp my own hypothetical future projects, so moving on...

    The kinds of exercises are a whole lot of fun, for those reading and those writing. Looking forward to yours. (By the way, obviously my eye has caught some of the films in your lineup on the sidebar there, but I'm trying to keep some surprises in store. I see already that there are a number I haven't seen. I already have a Wonders queue; perhaps I should construct a Goodfellas queue as well - though I'll have to axe another themed queue to make room...) Alright, here goes: 1930...