The holiday season is upon us and, since it’s an even year, it’s almost time for the biennial ranking of my 50 Favorite Films.
For those of you obsessed with processes or those of you waiting for an appointment and have exhausted old magazines in a waiting room, read on!
I’m a lifelong movie buff and have watched literally thousands of movies. Not all of them are good. Some of the good films are, nonetheless, not my favorite films. As I discuss elsewhere, I rank the films by the criteria of quality, watchability, and resonance.
Ideally, I’d see all the “must-see” films of a given year that year. By “must-see,” I’d include the blockbusters and awards bait films that capture some pop culture consciousness — along with my personal druthers (I generally catch most sci-fi flicks and anything with a submarine, because come on! Submarines!).
Unlike one of my brothers, who is a fellow cinemaniac, I am not able to catch every film out in the theater — or even when it’s first out on video (e.g. DVD, BluRay, streaming). So that means I may go a couple years before seeing all of the a “year’s best.”
Some of these films will, under no circumstances, crack my top 50. They are Gallipoli-like machine-gun fodder for the sort.
It’s about as cruel to abstract concepts as you can be, but if you think this ain’t fair, you should see some of the films. All get their chance, but some are going to fall to the bottom. As you may recall, to save time on the sort, I don’t actually sort all the films in the bottom half because after 150 or so, the rankings really lose all meaning unless I were to include every film I’ve ever seen –or at at least a disproportionate number of them. For both my and my family’s sanity, that won’t happen. Still, adding new films with every sort, including films I know I don’t love, helps get the sort going as they contrast well with films I do love.
Here are the films that came out or I’m just first watching or I’m first adding to the sorting list:
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
An American Werewolf in London
Avengers: Infinity War
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Bend it Like Beckham
Big Hero 6
Blade Runner 2049
Bridge of Spies
Captain America: Civil War
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
Fiddler on the Roof
The Finest Hours
Ghost in the Shell (2017)
The Girl on the Train
Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters
The Good Dinosaur
Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2
Ip Man 2: Sadly Not Wing Chun Boogaloo
John Wick: Chapter Two
Kung Fu Panda 3
The LEGO Batman Movie
The LEGO Ninjago Movie (can you tell I have kids?)
London Has Fallen
Looney Tunes: Back in Action
Meet the Robinsons
The Monuments Men
Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
Northern Limit Line
Pete’s Dragon (2016)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The Siege of Jadotsville
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Star Trek Beyond
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
Train to Busan
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Zorba the Greek
You can safely assume some of these are the aforementioned canon fodder films. They’re never going to be my favorite films, but can serve as a comparison for how much I like a particular film. For example, I have seen every cut there is to see of Apocalypse Now, usually in theaters with nice prints. It’s critically acclaimed and technically masterful in many respects.
It’s never going to be one of my favorite films.
So if I don’t like a film better than Apocalypse Now, how much do I like it, really?
On that note, and as I mentioned for the 2016 list, I’m dropping some films from the sort because they’re just not going to rank highly. That includes The Exorcist.
So are there some films I absolutely, positively must fit into the next two weeks? Let me know in the comments.