Monday 18 June 2012

My Favourite Films Of All Times! The Top 20 Challenge

Venerable British film magazine Sight & Sound is busy compiling the top ten lists of a whole variety of film experts/journalists etc... with a view of publishing the mother of all lists on their September issue, as they do every decade. Strangely enough I have not received their request for mine quite yet, the e-mail must have got lost in the post. So I have decided to publish it anyway, and I do not even have to wait for September!

There are many arguments against setting up such lists. They are rather artificial. How can you possibly decide, say, which film is going to be 6th best over 7th best? Under which criteria? Is it based on the actual artistic qualities of the film, or the emotional effect it had on you?

Worst still, I always find that compiling lists from a large group of people means that, because of the law of the averages, the most obvious choices always found themselves on top, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now etc... Great films obviously, but I am more interested in the particular choices of an individual rather than those films who are liked by the majority.

Sharing your passion for film is all about putting the spotlight on a few perhaps more unusual films, not the ones which you think you ought to put on it. In the end, you just have to trust your instinct, free yourself from any kind of influence and follow your passion. If you have the minimum of knowledge and culture about films then your list is bound to be interesting.

As I am typing this, I am still deciding on my list. The first four are easy, they have not changed in over five years. They are my absolute favourite films ever and as much as I would love it, rare will be the films that manage to dislodge them off their top spots.

Since it has been so hard to decide on 20, I shall publish a post with a sort of reserve list once I am done with my top 20, with all of those films who nearly made it but not quite, so that I do not feel so guilty for leaving them aside.

One regret I have is that my list does not contain a little more variety as a good chunk of them are 80's American independent films. But what can I say, this is a decade that means so much to me as this is the one I started my filmic education, as an impressionable child then teen, a decade that shall remain unique for so many reasons. And this decade contains some masterpieces I only got to see as a grown up, with the added layer of nostalgia to top it up.

Finally, I must apologise but a lot of the films on the list contains an insane amount of neon light, which obviously goes hand to hand with the 80's. Give me a neon lit, New York sleazy dark alley in the 80's and the film has got a lot of chance to end up high on my list.

Also, as much as I love experimental films, in the end, if there is no emotional connection then you end up with films you admire but not love. So even some of the more unusual films in my list, no matter how bizarre they are, all contain a certain level of emotional involvement, even if it is not all that obvious.

There is the slight regret also that no films on the list is to be found from before the 70's. But again, it is a personal list, and I am not trying to show off my culture, just to share my passion, telling you about films which you might just not know. And if encourages you to check out a few of them then my work is done.

Rather than put them all in one post, which would take me ages, I have decided to publish the list over the course of the next fortnight or so, with a daily post dedicated to each of them. I have included a few stills from a few of them throughout this post as clues, (not all of them, and they are not in order!) you will most probably have recognised a few of them already...

So follow my blog over the next two weeks as I shall publish a daily post about each of them one by one! And then once I am finished, I would love for my readers to publish their own lists either on their own blogs, or just in the comment box below, whether you are a casual film blogger or just a film fan, I would love to read your own choices, free from any pressure or influence!

Tomorrow I shall write my first entry, starting from the bottom, all the way to the top (SPOILER: my blog's name is inspired by its title).

And as an exciting update, Martyn Conterio, founder of the brilliant film site Cinemart, has decided to take up the challenge and follow suit, putting together his top 20 list through daily posts. We have not shared our lists so I shall be discovering it at the same time as you, one film per day. You should most definitely follow him on his website.

I shall be updating this original post daily with a link to each new film as they are released in order:

20: Night Of The Comet
19: The Raspberry Reich
18: The Beyond
17: Le Père Noel Est Une Ordure
16: Exotica
15: Drowning By Numbers
14: The Hunger
13: Happiness
12: Demons
11: Full Moon In Paris
10: Sister Act
9: Thirst
8: The Thing
7: Videodrome
6: Cruising
5: Crimes Of Passion
4: Ghost World
3: Law Of Desire
2: The Thin Red Line


  1. You gave me a heart-attack remembering that Inland Empire scene. I wouldn't include too many spoiler pictures like that though if I were you. I look forward to seeing the list though.

  2. Hehe I love that scene! Good tip you gave me though, I removed most of them after reading it