A Year in the Trenches

That's right. This is the first anniversary of this blog. I posted 81 times in the previous 365 days, which works out to better than 1.5 entries a week. I'm damned pleased.

Maybe this is the time to re-examine the all-time ten-best list thing. I have always said that if you asked me a half-hour after I compiled the list you might get eight different films. I'm not going to cheat and look at the one in my first entry. If you ask me right now to name my all-time ten-best films (best, most personally significant, whatever), at 12:06 EST on January 17, 2007, I would answer in no particular order):

1. Vertigo -- Hitchcock
2. The Searchers -- Ford
3. Man With a Movie Camera -- Vertov
4. Sans Soleil -- Marker
5. Once Upon a Time in the West -- Leone
6. Lancelot du Lac -- Bresson
7. Weekend -- Godard
8. An Autumn Afternoon -- Ozu
9. Tales of the Taira Clan -- Mizoguchi
10. French CanCan -- Renoir

Okay. Now, looking back, I see that eight of the titles on this list were on the 2006 list. The only changes are Man With a Movie Camera and Weekend, which replaced Sherlock Jr. and Shoah.
Nope, that's because last year I did a "dozen best films" list. "Duck Amok" and Chimes at Midnight were also on that list, so technically speaking there were four changes rather than two.
Hell, at this level of cinematic genius, it's just bookkeeping. You could certainly shuffle these 14 films and get a pretty good list.

Indeed, the whole list-making thing is not much more than a kind of game-playing, the cinematic equivalent of flipping baseball cards. (Does anyone still flip baseball cards or are they immediately encased in plastic to protect their market value? When I was kid those things were for fun, not an investment. Well, as Leland says in Citizen Kane, "My, what a disagreeable old man I have become.") Yeah, I know, it's the first step towards canon-building, but I rather doubt that a ten-best list posted on a blog -- however brilliant -- will lead directly to a re-evaluation of any academy's teaching methods.