My Favorite Movies of All Time, circa age 30 – An Introduction

I feel like a feature with that title shouldn’t really need an introduction post as it’s pretty self-explanatory. But this was cooking for about a year now and the ceremony of finally putting it to post does necessitate context to my mindset, I feel. In fact this was really simmering a little longer: on my 24th birthday 6 1/2 years back, I posted my 100 favorite movies around that time and THAT in itself was a response to a 4-year-earlier list that I acknowledged as being “immediately outdated”. I knew at the time I typed those words, the sentiment would hold true now to the 4 year list and thought about making a regularity of rewriting the list a la how Sight & Sound check in every ten years (and how appropriate for me to have been brought into the world in 1992, in pattern for S&S‘s practice). But even now I understand my unwillingness to bind myself to a selection of movies as unsteady as this very list that I’ll be spending the next few days breaking down into ten posts of ten entries.

Part of my problem taking so long by moving my target date – originally I entertained (but did not commit) to making it my 29th birthday post as five years after the last incarnation; then I decided on the occasion of my 30th birthday for the personal centennial factor; then I figured I could push it back as long as I did it while I’m still 30 – was how often I found myself neurotically second-guessing and re-arranging and removing and including movies all throughout, at points tempting myself with “do I really need to stop at 100?” But eventually there came an uncomfortable truth that I had to face: 9 months through my 30th year in life… I was not going to be physically able to write another word on this hear blog without finally posting this list, revisions be damned. And now I’m pushing myself to accept what I have and open it up.

How did I do that? Kind of by finally embracing the arbitrariness of such a task: my whims may have fluctuated within an hour, making this a never-ending game of musical chairs, that’s fine… it captures a precise moment in which my mind said “yes, this is a 100 movie list that I love” and that is sufficient for me. It’s a snapshot of a moment in the past that’s still near enough I can relate to the fella a few weeks ago that said “OK, this is the one I’m gonna post”. This certainly is not the list of 100 movies that I think are better than any other movie I’ve ever seen, but that’s fine… that’s the illusion of objectivity that I may entertain yearning for but deep down know is never achievable. And the biggest gripe is that maybe it’s not even THE 100 movies I love more than any other. Probably most of them, but not all of them… but that’s fine too because it is a list of 100 movies I love enough to consider personal masterpieces.

Anyway, even while trying to accept the whim of the listmaking, I still made myself abide by certain rules, some of which you may remember from the last incarnation of this list.

  • No movies released in the last ten years. If I was talking shit about the Sight & Sound list having them, obviously I need to be my own example. Besides, y’all heard me talk enough about Mandy.
  • 3 movie maximum per director. I was discussing this with a friend about a week ago but I feel like there was never any real threat to this rule – my three favorite directors represented on the list have two movies each – except for one particular silent filmmaker.
  • No miniseries (though I will confess to two of the films on my list technically count as television). There’s a real difference between the two artforms, y’all. I love Twin Peaks, Scenes from a Marriage, Dekalog, and Fanny and Alexander. They’re all tv, though, and just because an acclaimed filmmaker is making them and they stand out above the usual form of television doesn’t disqualify them. Maybe I’m particularly eager to play fair with this because I mostly dislike television, so I don’t want to paint exceptions to my dislike as exceptions to the form.
  • No movies I watched for the first time in the last year. This one is a new one I’m applying on the merit of feeling like I haven’t really sunk in with a movie if it’s too fresh in my mind, similar to the “no movie from the last ten years” rule. An attitude I sort of had 7 years ago as well, but back in 2016 I didn’t feel like I’d seen nearly enough movies to impose that rule on myself.

And I guess before we finally begin our hand, I guess I should give an impression of what movies are to come: since the last list, I’ve eased myself into adding 21st Century films, including one selection from the 2010s. I also found myself eager to shovel in as many silent and musical films without feeling the proportion would be contrived. In addition to that devotion to the silent era, there’s a good amount of post-War era pictures there. In spite of that post-War element, I do find myself shocked with only fitting in one true blue film noir (which I consider to be restricted to American cinema in the 1940s) with neo-noir outnumbering it in representation, but I don’t have any qualms with my one pick for that suite and I imagine that it’s a consequence of my preferred kind of post-War cinema being based in Japan. I surprised myself by the amount of short films on the list (two of which premiered on television) and haven’t decided if my horror fandom is adequately represented. And of course, I do devote space to animated films – shorts AND features – but I do wish I could have made room for films outside of the usual big studios one could name. I think the most conscious element was trying to represent some of my favorite filmmakers (a lot of whom simply did not make the cut and it’s killing me what the absences are), but what really threw me aback for some were the selection of movies I found myself more eager to have represent my taste than what I would have responded kneejerk maybe a week prior.

Hey, it’s all intuition. Would be absolutely no fun if I knew exactly what I was setting to pen here from the word go.

The resultant list is mine and will remain mine, even after I take a peek a month from now and go “Agh! What was I thinking not including such-and-such?!” and even after I determine the next instance where I’m going to revisit and update this list with all the new movies I just discovered and watched and all the new ways I look at the last ten years of moviemaking with appropriate distance. It’ll just be a different past version of mine.

Anyway, I gotta stop stalling. There’s no turning back from here. Let’s dive in!


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