Tomorrow we’ll be presenting our best films of the decade list, and yeah, we’re a few weeks late, but you know what? Fuck off. That’s what.
Now, normally, I don’t like to talk needless shit, but as Benjie Light and I were waxing and musing about various films that we felt deserved to be on this list, we also, of course, were taking a gander at others’ lists. Some of them are really, really interesting. Some… not so much.
If you click over to the trainwreck of a website that is Ain’t It Cool News these days, you can take a look here at the best of the decade lists by one of their regularly featured… I don’t know what you call them. Are they writers? I’ll be charitable and just say: bloggers. Anyway, the fella calls himself “Mr. Beaks.”
Now, there’s some quality films in this list, there really are. In The Mood For Love in the top five? I respect that. You Can Count On Me in the list at all? I can definitely get behind that. There’s two films by Michael Haneke on the list, which is surprising, but I applaud it. WALL-E‘s on the list, which is a no brainer, and so are films like The Constant Gardener, which people always told me were good but I never saw. All of this sounds fine.
But the list itself? Deeply flawed. For example, there’s way too Ridley Scott happening here. Way too much. I’m surprised that Peter Berg isn’t on the guy’s list. And Brian De Palma’s Femme Fatale. Seriously. There’s weird caveats as well, like, sure Bad Santa makes it onto the list of top 100 films of the decade, but only the “January 2003 Pasadena Test Screening Cut?” What? That’s ridiculous. Oh, and the that the #100 film is Bring It On, seriously, and the #1 film – and it’s important to note that this appears to be a ranked list – is Irreversible. Which is… wow. Indeed.
Also, here is a list of films that “Mr. Beaks” says “just missed” finding a place on his best of the decade list: The Dark Knight, Juno, May, Closer, Old Joy, Bad Boys 2, Unfaithful, Lovely And Amazing, Unbreakable, Mission To Mars, Humpday, The Prestige, Paranoid Park, and I’m Not There. And The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. Just consider for a moment that these titles are together in one section, and then think about how they’re good enough to make it onto the best of list. A-mazing.
Then again, this list is perfect for AICN, and their larger than life founder, Harry Knowles, who once deserved mention in early 90s when it came to how film was discussed on the internet, at least upcoming films. Benjamin Light’s been saying it for a while, and maybe he’s right: I don’t think we care about spoilers anymore. Not that AICN has had them for a while. The system merely absorbed them and spit them back out.
Harry Knowles = the anti-Roger Ebert?
So, it just goes without saying: Reviewing anything is a careful process. Take any review with a grain of salt. If you’re reading a review of a film you’ve never seen before, the review should be enlightening, only slightly spoiler-ish, giving you a good tease, and in clear, firm, and smart language, illustrate for you whether this is something you’d like or not, for whatever reason you like or don’t like things. A review for a film you’ve already seen should feel like a conversation with somebody you’ve either just met or feel like someone you’ve known for years. It should be smart, of course, and thoughtful. It should point out things to you and and excite you, and bring you into a conversation you’d be lucky to engage in. Or not. It’s up to you.
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