On “Best of” Lists

I have a bit of a problem with the idea of making a “best” list. Individually-speaking. Passing off one’s individual opinion on what constitutes the “10 best movies of the year,” for example, seems kind of snobbish to me. Perhaps film critics are supposed to be snobbish to an extent, but why does it have to be that way? It’s also kind of funny that anyone can claim to know what the “10 best films” are of a given year, given the fact that so many films are released. Of the hundreds of movies released in the United States each year, how many of them will I see, for example? Not even close to a majority of them. Granted, I don’t have the luxury (or lack there of?) to go to every movie playing in a theater on any given weekend. But even those with press passes, who go to lots of film festivals, etc., are not going to see every film in the year in order to make a truly overarching judgment.

Thus, if and when I release a list such as those above, it won’t be of the “best” films of the year, but rather my favorites. After all, how can we even know what the best film of a given year is until we look back on it in retrospect? Citizen Kane wasn’t considered the best movie of its year by many people when it was released, but I’d be hard pressed to find many people who would say it didn’t deserve more awards and praise at the time of its release. Still, we couldn’t know at the time.

Keep an eye out for my lists. I’m going to retroactively do lists from previous years, as well as the current year. Though none of them will be out for quite a while. There are still quite a few movies I’d like to see from 2009, for example, before I make a list of my favorite films of the year.

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One Response to On “Best of” Lists

  1. John says:

    Amen. That’s why I always make sure I call mine the 10 favorites rather than best.

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