The Sight & Sound 2012 Poll is an amazing idea. I really think even the worst list-haters out there (yeah, that’s you Mr. Ebert! …and I actually am a huge fan.) can enjoy this one. Because it doesn’t have to beTHE GREATEST FILMS OF ALL TIME.It can be. But that’s a weird and unwinnable arguement to muck yourself into. In the intro, this little snippet:
'As a qualification of what ‘greatest’ means, our invitation letter stated, “We leave that open to your interpretation. You might choose the ten films you feel are most important to film history, or the ten that represent the aesthetic pinnacles of achievement, or indeed the ten films that have had the biggest impact on your own view of cinema.”'
I have to say also that if it really was about making a list of the great movies of all time, I never would’ve made a list. I haven’t even come close to seeing enough. I’d need to watch, at the very minimum, the top 100 of both the critics’ and directors’ lists. I’m working on this, but it will take a long time.
Until the day comes that I can rightfully say I’ve scoured these much-loved and treasured films, I will keep from saying “greatest” and “best” and other such meg-presumptive wordage. For now, I am thrilled to write a list inspired by Jeff Nichols (who is Batman now for getting Fletch into the Sight & Sound poll), Peter Farrelly (the man who dareplane to vote Airplane!), Matthew Vaughn (writer of a buttery popcorn coated list of movie love), and Quentin Tarantino (pulled a Lethal Weapon with Jeff Nichols and got Director Michael Ritchie one more slot in the poll by putting Bad News Bears on his list). Also, two critics went genius and gave Zoolander a one up on MANY MANY films. I think The Goonies and Ferris Bueller have fantastically found their own spots, too.
It’s (let’s not get too treacly here, Weston! the ground you tread on …is in a treacly state) big bright flickers of rocket-fuel soaked celluloid-love bursting into flames. The films picked will light others on fire in ways that the deciders could never even imagine, but they’re communicating across voids. Let’s try this, my D- grade impression of a rodserlingism: Here is an inarguably powerful and magical artform that can melt its way through time, space, and language and hit with a kaleidoscopic trillions of different visceral collisions of emotion and weirdness and chance and imagination and then only to be hurtled further to others. To communicate again. What movies and films are all about. And I know my list will change very much as I watch more of these films that come so highly praised. But this here, this is a start. Take us away Mrs. Pauline Kael-
“A good movie can take you out of your dull funk and the hopelessness that so often goes with slipping into a theatre; a good movie can make you feel alive again, in contact, not just lost in another city. Good movies make you care, make you believe in possibilities again. If somewhere in the Hollywood-entertainment world someone has managed to break through with something that speaks to you, then it isn’t all corruption. The movie doesn’t have to be great; it can be stupid and empty and you can still have the joy of a good performance, or the joy in just a good line. An actor’s scowl, a small subversive gesture, a dirty remark that someone tosses off with a mock-innocent face, and the world makes a little bit of sense. Sitting there alone or painfully alone because those with you do not react as you do, you know there must be others perhaps in this very theatre or in this city, surely in other theatres in other cities, now, in the past or future, who react as you do. And because movies are the most total and encompassing art form we have, these reactions can seem the most personal and, maybe the most important, imaginable. The romance of movies is not just in those stories and those people on the screen but in the adolescent dream of meeting others who feel as you do about what you’ve seen. You do meet them, of course, and you know each other at once because you talk less about good movies than about what you love in bad movies.”