My time as an active poster on the Boards is approaching 6 years. A lot has changed in my personal life and a lot has changed in the way I view movies. Most people don't realize that when I registered, my Username was short for 1 Strong Opinion. I showed up all full of gospel, the hard belief that there are right and wrong answers in cinema. That a Top 100 list would be made of nothing but inarguable greatness. Undebatable selections.
Boy was I naive.
I learned there are people who love film, but prefer cinema that is outside the mainstream. That it's possible to hate Casablanca and not be a contrarian or a troll. Personal favorites are exactly that, personal. That between nostalgia, genre preferences and films that set off a gut reaction, people are going to come at this beast from many different angles, and while we each get something different from cinema, we all love it enough to express our satisfaction on a regular basis.
Or our dissatisfaction. During my time here, I continue to go against the grain on acclaimed filmmakers like Ozu and Fellini. Bergman is hit and miss, I'm easily bored by Italian neo-realism and I don't think Dr. Strangelove is funny. These crackpot opinions used to require strong, intelligent defenses but now it's just accepted as my personal viewpoint. (I recently posted my Ozu bias on another board and nobody wanted to hear from me after.)
The Top 100 Club has been an immensely insightful look at the taste of others. Then the mirror came back to me. I expected the reviews would contain some lesser-known classics like They Shoot Horses Don't They, but the focus was more on the titles that give my list "personal charm", like Perfume, Rope and Streets of Fire. The analysis made me more comfortable than ever looking at my list as a selection nobody will enjoy as much as myself, and that got me thinking about a list of Essentials - which is almost a summation of my time on the Boards - and a revised Top 100 which wouldn't exclude Short Films.New Entry
More is 6 minutes long and very easy to find around the internet, so I would recommend watching it first because what I want to say is going to be very Spoiler-y
I've always thought More was one of the best shorts I'd ever seen. The specific inclusion of colors into that gray world combines with the intense music - depressed but not angry - tell the story extremely well. It seems like a simple fable, and I read one review who found it too on the nose. I kind of see that, but over the years I've found a lot of ambiguity as I've come to see a lot of myself in that worker.
His memories of a happy youth have created a literal fire in his belly. A strong desire to do something and not just be one of the crowd. I've tried for years to do what I truly love and have only had brief moments of Bliss, but mostly a frustration at being unable to share my fire. In the short, the worker finds his success but it's an artificial and empty victory. He is unable to reach true joy, and the fire in his belly has gone out.
At this point in my life, I question what we're supposed to take from this ending. Would it have been better if he didn't succeed? If that idea stayed bottled up inside? Was there a better way to achieve Bliss? Something that wouldn't have taken the burning from him? I wonder if the fire in me still burns as brightly as it once did, or if I've resigned myself to this Wonderful Life while I'm waiting for all those big dreams to hit. (It's a Wonderful Life, another of my most unpopular opinions.) What will happen with my career dreams in what's left of my future and what will I take from More 6 years from now?
I will post a revised Top 100 after some more individual posts.