Making "the list" is a hard job. It really is. How in the world out of over 1000 films, is one supposed to pick their 100 favourites?
Truth is, you can't. And even though I'm mostly happy with my Top 100, there are still movies which I wish were in there. Movies that should've been slightly higher in the list. So of course, it isn't a definitive list for me, but it makes me happy. If you were ever wondering about how I make these Top 100 lists, here are the things I take into consideration:
1) The Favourite Film vs. Best Film Ever argument
It is so hard to define what the "Best Film Ever" is. I think it is all based on the superficiality: how good the script is, how good the editing is, how good the cinematography is, all of that stuff. But what's the point in me making a "Best Film Ever" list? I think that's only worthy if you've seen every single film under the sun. Favourite Films are a different story. The thing that keeps film alive is that we all connect to these different films in different ways, and the experiences can be unique to us. Which leads me to my next point...
2) A list that reflects myself
This reflects favouritism. Ideally, while there's the film criticism that is all about pointing out the amount of quality in all of the aspects of a film, there's also the side that looks at how films affect us as people. Which has always been the most important thing to me, and that's all that really matters when making this list. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is at number 18 because it is probably the closest I've ever felt to a film. And because of that, I can look past the fact that I generally don't like Stephen Chbosky's direction or the editing, and it is up there ahead of a film like Goodfellas which I think is technically wonderful and entertaining, but it doesn't hit me as hard as Perks.
3) The films that inspired me
Memento is simply my favourite film because it has absolutely everything: a perfect script, a challenging premise, amazing direction, wonderful performances...it is the type of film that makes my heart burst with inspiration every time I see it. I'm inspired by almost everything, but that's one of the biggest factors in making this list. If I feel like my heart is going to burst with inspiration, then it must be a good one.
4) Star ratings
As I've grown older, I've come to think less of star ratings. They're just so hard to give out. The funny thing is, is that all of the films I've ever rated 10/10 didn't all get an immediate space in here. In fact, there's some 10/10 films that I wouldn't even consider putting in here (but that's mostly because back in the day I used to give the full quota of stars out like candy at the Christmas parade). One prime example I have of a film without 10/10 that makes it quite high in my list is Black Swan. Here's a film that I can only give 8/10, because I still don't fully buy into Nina's downfall (happens quite quickly if you ask me), but heck, it is so well made and well acted that I can't help but have so much love for it.
5) The memories
The funniest thing I find with making these lists is looking at my memories of these films. Some of the films, like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The Pianist and Requiem for a Dream are ones that I'm content with never seeing again. But I love them just the same as films I endlessly rewatch, like Mean Girls, The Devil Wears Prada or Meet Me in St. Louis. Rewatching does have a rather big influence on the films I have in my list. For example, There will be Blood was originally in the 60s, but now it is in my top ten after I watched it again just the other night. Other films haven't fared so well. Which is why this can't ever be a definite list, and why it keeps on changing. And here's an idea of how it has changed over the past year since I did my last list:
Films that are no longer in the top 100:
Fish Tank, American Psycho, Strictly Ballroom, Trainspotting, sex, lies and videotape, Red Riding trilogy, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, It's a Wonderful Life, Dial M for Murder, The Muppets, My Man Godfrey, Chinatown, Moulin Rouge, Alien, Breathless
New entries to the top 100:
Animal Kingdom (100), Brick (99), Love Actually (98), Pleasantville (96), The Ice Storm (93), Before Midnight (88), No Country for Old Men (69), Atonement (53), In the Name of the Father (51), Before Sunrise (39), Clueless (38), Zero Dark Thirty (30), Goodfellas (19), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (18)
Films that moved down places:
Belle de Jour (-15), The Double Life of Veronique (-21), L.A. Confidential (-8), District 9 (-4), The Red Shoes (-43), Little Miss Sunshine (-17), Rear Window (-24), My Neighbour Totoro (-17), American Beauty (-15), Batman Begins (-22), Vivre Sa Vie (-17), Nosferatu (-23), The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (-47), Three Colours: Red (-29), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (-53), The Wizard of Oz (-24), The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (-2), Romeo + Juliet (-1), Grave of the Fireflies (-40), The Dark Knight Rises (-34), All About Eve (-9), Toy Story 3 (-19), Ferris Bueller's Day Off (-3), Juno (-14), Magnolia (-1), Casablanca (-16), The Prestige (-4), Midnight in Paris (-4), Psycho (-14), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (-9), The Pianist (-11), Quiz Show (-3), In Bruges (-5), Hairspray (-11), Requiem for a Dream (-1), Pulp Fiction (-9), Days of Heaven (-3), Let the Right One In (-8), The Virgin Suicides (-13), It Happened One Night (-2), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (-7), Fight Club (-4), Sunrise (-10), Inception (-2), Lost in Translation (-4), Gone with the Wind (-1)
Films that moved up places:
Kick-Ass (+10), We Need to Talk About Kevin (+4), The Hangover (+9), I'm Here (+3), The Philadelphia Story (+7), The Departed (+9), Enchanted (+1), Forrest Gump (+14), Before Sunset (+31), What's Eating Gilbert Grape (+8), Black Swan (+7), Drive (+31), Revolutionary Road (+3), Carrie (+22), Waitress (+2), Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (+8), Blue Valentine (+3), The Devil Wears Prada (+18), 500 Days of Summer (+3), An Education (+2), Hunger (+2), Mulholland Dr. (+1), Waterloo Bridge (+1), Shame (+6), A Streetcar Named Desire (+13), There Will Be Blood (+53), The Social Network (+4), Inglourious Basterds (+2), City Lights (+1), The Dark Knight (+2)
Films that somehow managed to stay in the exact same spot:
Sunset Blvd. (94), A Single Man (60), Up in the Air (41), Mean Girls (15), Meet Me in St Louis (5), Schindler's List (2), Memento (1)
But there's also the case of my Top 10...
...which I try to get as perfect as possible, because it is really all that matters. Since I started doing these lists, Memento and Schindler's List have always been in the top two spots (though I have often toiled about their order, but Memento remains unconditionally my favourite). Gone with the Wind, The Dark Knight and Meet Me in St Louis have almost always rounded out the top 5, with the exception of Lost in Translation and Sunrise which managed to get to number four on separate occasions (and they went down a bit this time around - and I can say that's just because of rankings of other films, not because I lost love for these films). Inglourious Basterds has always been in my top ten too. Funnily enough, The Social Network and Inception are two films that I've had a hard time separating, because of the many conflicted feelings I had between the two in 2010, but this year, for the first time, The Social Network made it into the top ten, ahead of Inception. That's based purely on rewatchability. And growing up, I suppose. But while my top ten has almost always had the same films in it, there have been two films that have dramatically changed: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and There Will Be Blood. At the beginning of last year, Eternal Sunshine was number eight. Now it is number 75. I guess you can say that rewatching did that. Same with There Will Be Blood. The last time I did one of these lists (a year ago), it was number 64. Now it is number 9. But that's really the only dramatic change in the top 10. Probably because I like that top 10 to reflect longevity more than anything.
Makes it sound like the Billboard Top 40 or whatever, but hey, I have fun making these lists. And I found it interesting to see how much they've changed over the past two years. So what are your favourite films, and why do you love em as much as you do?