Thursday, August 02, 2007

Kodos and the disappointed voters

Much has been written about The Online Film Community Top 100, which I contributed to, most notably some thought-provoking pieces by Dennis Cozzalio, Weeping Sam, Peter Nellhaus, Ted Pigeon and Neil Sarver. I felt the need to chime in as well because 1) I'm a member of the generation of film fans who have received the most grief over the list and 2) I'm an eternal glass-overflowing-full optimist.

In Dennis' comments section I said that the Simpsons quote of 'Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos' was what sprang to mind as I looked at the list, as in 'hey, don't look at me!' This is a product of a project like this, where the fingers get pointed everywhere, but never at anyone in particular, least of all the person with the extended finger. But to a greater extent, I'm reminded of my favorite Deep Thought by Jack Handey:

In a way, we were all guilty -- we all shot him, we all skinned him, and we all got a complimentary bumper sticker that said "I helped skin Bob."
So we're all guilty -- of caring about film much more than the average person, and that's why we're never satisfied with these lists. There are simply too many great films and too many ways to look at them. I'll never understand how a close friend of mine from college could hold Scorsese's Bringing Out the Dead in the same regard as Casablanca, but he obviously has his reasons. This is why I'm happy to read collaborative lists like this, because it opens your eyes to films that others feel so strongly about, even if you'll never agree or understand why. I would have never guessed that The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind would be ranked so high -- I thought it was good, but would never place it on a list like this, yet looking back I can see how someone would be greatly affected by it.

And since a lot of the reception to the OFC Top 100 has focused on the group of voters who gave their nods toward the TNT Saturday Night Movie Hall of Fame inductees, I would like to offer a defense on our behalf. Yes, we are young and often misguided, but we are also mostly aware of our shortcomings as film fans. Myself, I still don't feel very good about my own Top 100 because I still have so many movies to see that probably belong on that list. I know that I'm like a few of my fellow young movie bloggers in that I'm insecure about my film knowledge. For most of my life I fashioned myself a film snob, but at some point after college I realized just how many great movies out there I had not seen. And so my movie intake for the past few years has focused heavily on classics, leading me to neglect new releases probably more than I should.

Lists like these help motivate me to branch out more, as my foreign film intake is still woefully malnourished. On the other hand, I feel like I've seen about 80 percent of all well-regarded Westerns, and my ballot reflected that. Anyone who votes will have a certain bias based on their favorite genres or eras, and that's why it's impossible to make a list that pleases everyone. So while we may not like to look at Bob's dead body, let's be honest and recognize we all shot and skinned him.

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