Saturday, February 11, 2006

Everybody Be Cool, This Is a Robbery

Why do we make lists?

I mean, I suppose it depends on the list. I'm not really talking about shopping lists, or to-do lists. Those aren't really a mystery. Well, not a mystery, unless your shopping list includes: duct tape, goat-chow, and 20-pack of disposable Bic razors...

No, I'm talking about lists like: "My Top Five Favorite Shades of Yellow," or "The Top-10 Episodes of Airwolf." You know, those little lists that we make, by which we hope to define ourselves, or demonstrate our superior taste.

Sometimes, we strive to settle our priorities, and we make, for instance, the Island List: "What 10 things would you want to have if you were stranded on a desert island?" Other lists just seem to be a means of killing time: "Five topping I like on Pizza."

Invariably, however, the lists will be in denominations of 5. Well, 10 really. 10 seems to be the ideal list limit. Why is that? I mean even Jehovah of old chiseled commandments in groups of ten. I suppose it has something to do with digits.

The most primary, basic way to make a list is by counting on your fingers, and barring any unfortunate early-childhood combine accident, you have 10. 5 pops up frequently, but that is just laziness. "I'd tell you my ten favorite boy bands, but I don't have the time. So, here's one handful of fingers' worth."

Sometimes we list music. Sometimes we list books. Some of us even list our ever-revolving list of hot female celebrities. The big list, however, seems to be movies. Your movie list will spark conversation. It may spark argument (is Godfather II really better than Godfather I?)

Personally, I generally list my favorite movies in a list of five, but that's just for the sake of discipline. I could list 10 or even 50. AFI seems to be fond of 100. But then, there's IMDB. 10? 50? 100? No. No, IMDB decided not to fuck around. Their list of all-time top movies across all genres and demographics contains 250 titles.

250. And one day I shall own them all...

Actually no, I won't. Here's why. IMDB lists what their members deem "Top Movies." Talk about vague. I mean, are they saying "Best?"

Are they saying "Biggest," or maybe "Most Influential?"

Perhaps they are just asking, "Hey, what's your favorite?"

I think those distinctions are important. My subjective favorites are certainly not the objective best. Hell, there are certain "Best Movies" that I down right hate. And then, there are movies that I love that, um, well... Showgirls? Freddy Got Fingered? Right, you get the point.

So, if you're going to make a list of movies, it seems that you need to make two, and for simplicity sake, keep each limited to five. Here are mine:

[This is where I take a break. Time passes. I take a nap. I go to Costco with the monkey. I go over to Chris and Brenda's to pickup their mail. I grill salmon and pineapple for dinner. The monkey goes to bed. We watch What The Bleep Do We Know -rented from Netflix-and it copletely and irrevocably fucks up my head for the rest of the evening...]

Oh hell, I don't know what my favorite movies are. After watching What the Bleep, I'm not even sure movies exist at all, or which reality they may or may not exist in. Goddamn intellectual philosobabble bullshit!

In Calculus, it is sometimes necessary to incorporate the square root of negative one into an equation. That number is obviously an imaginary number, so it is denoted by the letter "i." Likewise, in theorectical quantum physics, certain philosophical mechanisms must be employed. Just as "i" cannot exist in the observable world, so too must certain quantum mechanisms be relegated to the philosophical realm alone.

Sorry, really, that's all I have to say about that. Alright, back to my movie list!

Actually, no. You don't really care do you? I mean, how is it going to be entertaining for you to read a sterile list of my five favorite movies? It's not. It's just all so pedestrian.

I'd rather ask:

Was Pulp Fiction the greatest movie ever made? Was its success based entirely on editing? Was Silverado a better western than The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly? Hell, can The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly even be considered a western? Was Citizen Kane overrated? Why do fans of the Godfather hate The Shawshank Redemption so much?

Would Ran have been better without all of the monotone off-key singing? Who would win in a cage match between the Seven Samurai and the Magnificent Seven? Why does George Lucas write dialogue? Did the folks who made the Matrix sequels ever actually see the original??

Have you watched the complete 13 hour extended edition of the Lord of the Rings in one sitting? Have you seen the alternate endings that were filmed for Casablanca? Did Braveheart make you cry? Did Jaws make you scared of the water?

See, these are the interesting questions. This is what a movie conversation should be about. We should discuss the ideas, and the inspirations. We shouldn't labor at list-making like galley slaves. Of course, I can't be expected to stop using that IMDB Top-250 list as a shopping guide...


  1. Anonymous4:18 PM

    No, but its a great film.
    No. The dialogue and mixing genres.
    Yes, sometimes it is.
    They do? I love both.
    The Magnificent Seven.
    Don't know, but he needs to stop.
    All evidence points to no.

  2. 10. Sleepless In Seattle
    9. How to Lose a Guy In 10 Days
    8. Titantic
    7. Ghost
    6. The Wedding Planner
    5. Steel Magnolias
    4. Beaches
    3. Dirty Dancing
    2. Pretty Woman
    1. Anal Invaders Vol. 17


Be compelling.

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