Tuesday, July 10, 2007

REVEALED! THE OFC TOP 100! (Coming Soon!)

So it turns out that my own recent 100 List had something behind it other than the usual navel-gazing. It was actually part of the just-announced Online Film Community’s first top 100 movies list, compiled as either a response to the recent AFI 100 List, or as the first online writer’s list to be inspired by it. Inspired, that is, by a desire to take a read of how a list drawn from the submissions of blogging film critics (myself included) might differ from one like the AFI List, which really functions more as a guide for the casual moviegoer than a reflection of the wider net thrown by this group of passionate film writers. Jonathan Burdick at CinemaFusion has the whole story, but here’s just a taste of what he had to say about why this endeavor got started:

With the massive popularity of the internet, the way that people view movies is quickly changing… With this comes a whole new generation of film writers, enthusiasts and fans. These are people who write for or start movie websites to review them, discuss them, interview the actors, report on upcoming films, and just plain put their opinions out there. They range from the casual movie lover to the most hardcore of film buffs - and many are starting to be taken seriously not just by the readers, but by the movie studios and established journalism magazines (John Campea of The Movie Blog‘s recent appearance in Time Magazine comes to mind).
As I’m a daily reader of well over a dozen film sites every day, I realized that these folks aren’t just passionate about movies, but they know a whole lot about them. They see more movies in a year than most do in a decade and love the art of cinema so much that they spend every day reading and writing about it, discussing it, and watching it. So, among movie website journalists and editors such as myself, why not come up with our own list of the greatest one-hundred movies - and instead of limiting it to American films, including all feature films? So, it isn’t necessarily in response to AFI’s list - more inspired by it than anything.

Jonathan and his associates have gathered together a pretty impressive list of writers who have contributed to this project, and we’ll all be looking forward to seeing the final list, which is projected to show up before the end of the summer. Here’s a list of the sites involved, some of which will look very familiar—I seriously advise your taking a long look at the ones that don’t. You won’t regret it. And stay tuned for the final results as the Online Film Community presents the Top 100 Movies of All Time!

Those who took part:

Cinema Fusion
Coffee Coffee and More Coffee
Combustible Celluloid
Cultural Snow
DVD Panache
A Drinking Song
Edward Copeland on Film
Film Experience
Film Grotto
Film Ick
Film Junk
Film Rotation
Film School Rejects
Lucid Screening
Mad About Movies
Movie Patron
Movie Picture Film
Obsessed With Film
Rotten Tomatoes
Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule
Talking Moviezzz
That Movie Site
The Documentary Blog
The Movie Blog
Thompson on Hollywood
Windmills of My Mind
Y Kant Goran Rite


Steve C. said...

Film School Rejects, huh? Good to know.

(I'm sorry, I'm being snide...)

Ted Pigeon said...

I'm in on it too, now. I'm looking forward to it. I'll have to choose liberally from my 149 Favoritest Movies which I just wrote about before I read about this. Maybe this online top 100 will gauge just how different us net critics are in terms of our tastes in movie quality.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like another cause for depression from the teens & twenty-somethings that predominate on movie blogs. What are we going to have to endure this time I wonder. Martin Scorsese's dreadful GoNY voted as the second greatest movie of all time perhaps? Children of Men at number one? I await the results with horrified fascination.

Ted Pigeon said...

Ouch, anonymous. For someone who has taken the time to post on one of these dreadful movie blogs, you seem to have a very limited understanding of them. While there are no doubt plenty of teens and twentysomethings out there writing with little experience as cinephiles rather than critics driven by cholariship and inquiry, I will remind you that there is plenty of great blog writing out there which rivals journalistic and academic criticism. Your comments sounds like a typical elitist response from someone in the Schickel camp of pseudo-academic elitism.

Anonymous said...

>>For someone who has taken the time to post on one of these dreadful movie blogs, you seem to have a very limited understanding of them.

Ooh, unfair. I'm just reacting to what I've read by some film bloggers. I wouldn't claim all bloggers fit that description but in my experience a depressingly high number of them seem to. Then again maybe I'm looking at the wrong blogs as there are far more out there than I can keep up with. But I certainly wouldn't include SL&TIFR as one of those. I've enjoyed reading Dennis's thoughts (even though I'll never understand his love for Robert Altman movies), Dave Kehr at his blog & various others.

>>Your comments sounds like a typical elitist response from someone in the Schickel camp of pseudo-academic elitism.

I haven't a clue what that means but it sounds awfully impressive!

Damian Arlyn said...

Your comments sounds like a typical elitist response from someone in the Schickel camp of pseudo-academic elitism.

I haven't a clue what that means but it sounds awfully impressive!

Ted is referring to a recent article written by L.A. Times critic/documentarian filmmaker Richard Shickel wherein he attacks the majority of current internet bloggers as not contributing anything of any substantial value to the ongoing conversation of cinematic criticism. While I concede that he had some good points to make, I have to agree with Ted (a film blogger who, incidentally, has a great deal to contribute) that it came off sounding rather snobbish, elitist, pseudo-intellectual and unfairly generalistic. It's the latest equivalent of the "old guard" of any given enterprise lamenting whatever approach the "new guard" is taking (a phenomenon which dates back thsousands of years). It really did seem to me more like a self-indulgent exercise in rhetoric rather than an critically objective piece of academic journalism.

I think Ted's point was that your comments had a similar tone to them and, I have to admit, they sounded that way to me too.

Anonymous said...

I think all film critics, legit or not (whatever legit means) are just as valuable to the reader as anyone else. In fact it's been my experience that more mainstrean critics will overlook some really good films in favor of the so called "hot film" of the week. People like Dennis are really talented writers and have created their own voice on the internet that alot of people, famous and unfamous are sitting up and paying attention to.

Sure there are some bloggers that make it their purpose to spew vile hatred towards a great many things, but more often than not they are actually providing the voice for a great many people. Many of us may not like it but that's the beauty of the internet.

Anonymous said...

>>It really did seem to me more like a self-indulgent exercise in rhetoric rather than an critically objective piece of academic journalism.

Sounds as though the same comment could be made of much online film criticism from the kiddie camp.

Ted Pigeon said...

Which is why grand generalizations about a particular "camp" are reductive and often completely incorrect. It's easy to make these blanket statements and try to sound good doing it, but empty expressions of opinion are totally worthless.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

What was it that the great and wise philosopher Rodney King once said?

Anonymous, while I hold some of the same qualms about lists that seem to have little awareness of film history B.S. (that's Before Scorsese), and I put little value on the Ain't-It-Cool-News school of reportage, I do think there's a difference between the kind of stuff Damian and Ted and a lot of other 30-and-under bloggers are doing out there to redeem and expand Internet film writing. It doesn't take but a couple of samples to realize when you're in the presence of someone whose passions and discipline run deeper than the rest of the stream, and I think there's plenty of sites run by youngsters like Ted and Damian, and old farts like me too, to keep us all occupied while the others report on the latest sneak preview of some cruddy comic book movie that will blow away and be forgotten after opening weekend.

My final comment will be to refer everyone to a very valuable and entertaining post by author Lauren Kessler who talks about the work of the writer. Good insights for those of us who are swimming against the tide of bandwagoning onto the latest hot topic, or just bad writing in general, as well as those who would read us. Enjoy!

Uncle Gustav said...

Not having been invited, all I can say is:

Oh no! Not another stupid list!!

Uncle Gustav said...

Over at "About My Movies" she's counting down her Top 100. So far we have Cold Mountain and The Virgin Suicides.

Indeed: why dick around with Erich von Stroheim or Anthony Mann?

"Anonymous" isn't daft. These things are torture.

Dennis Cozzalio said...

Emma at All About My Movies is all of 17 years old, and as such has displayed an above-average-for-her-age intelligence when it comes to discussing movies. But again, she's 17, so she's got a ways to go before she vacumms up as much experience with film history as a film writer near three times her age (like, say, me) might be expected to have.

Of course Top 100 picks like Cold Mountain and The Virgin Suicides evince a certain lack of maturity-- after all, she's 17 years old. What 17-year-old runs off to see Queen Kelly or Greed before she sees Titanic, or a movie like Suicides which was directed by someone-- a female someone-- startlingly close to her own age?

I'm not convinced Emma's list is going to have much meaning for me either, quite frankly. And her site has that "Dear Diary" tone that won't endear it to many serious film journalists. But how about taking some note of the fact that the other two movies revealed on her list so far are by venerated directors like Preminger and Hitchcock? Of course Notorious probably deserves higher placement-- it certainly got it on my own list. But why can't we take a little heart in the fact that Emma is obviously cognizant of film history, or those movies wouldn't be there at all? Who knows-- by the time she's 20 she'll have discovered Von Stroheim and Mann and maybe Rouben Mamoulian too. I'd rather encourage someone like her to dig deeper instead of putting them down because they've obviously got a ways to go in their own personal film scholarship. God, I'd hate to see what a Top 100 list I would have composed when I was 17 would look like.

As for the listmaking, I think most of those who make them find it fun and have no pretensions as to their value other than as representations of a certain taste at a certain time, and perhaps as places people might go to jog their memory and awareness of films they need yet to see. Whose Netflix queue couldn't use that kind of help? And those AICN-inspired lists that are clearly just fanboy consensus sessions on whether GoodFellas or The Shawshank Redemption is the greatest movie of all time-- well, they're easy enough to sniff out and ignore, I think. Maybe the OFC Top 100 will turn out to be one of those, but I kinda doubt it. Even if it does, at least I'll know it started from someplace sincere, and maybe there'll even be a movie or two mentioned that it'll remind me I still need to see. That'll make it worth it for me.

Uncle Gustav said...

Well, whatever. My ego is still bruised over not having been asked to participate.

Oh, the shame of it all...

Dennis Cozzalio said...

E-mail Jonathan at burd-man@hotmail.com and he'll hook you up. The key word is "community." Besides, I was kind of a last-minute friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend askee myself. And I'd rather read your Top 100 than my own anyway! (Performance would certainly be on there, right? I still haven't seen it...)