The Flickchart Self

23 Feb

I use Flickchart every day because I don’t know myself.

At the risk of impelling everyone to immediately stop reading by beginning a sentence with the phrase “back in college”, back in college I recall having a very college conversation with a roommate, who posed a question more or less akin to: “If you could invent, or rather wish into existence, a machine that could perform a certain task of your choosing, no matter how mundane or fanciful, what would you want this magical machine to do?” In reality, the roommate probably said something like “Wouldn’t it be cool if you had a toilet that turned poop into weed?”, and my response (after concurring that, yes, that would be a pretty cool toilet) to this was “I’d like to have a machine that told me what my favorite things are.”

I don’t know what my favorite anything is. Do you? Does anyone? Putting words in the mouth of yourself as a child is a dicey endeavor, but I seem to recall the determining of favorites to be a fairly cut-and-dry affair as a youth. Hop into a time machine and zip back to Maine circa 1982, track five-year-old me down, ask me what my favorite popsicle is, and I’ll tell you it’s grape. Given your supposed access to time travel, you might want to go assassinate Hitler before asking the child version of a person you wouldn’t know from a hole in the ground about frozen treat flavoring preferences, but you take my meaning. I knew what I liked.

“But you’d been alive a mere five years,” you insist, in that grating, nasal tenor of yours. “That isn’t near enough time to sample the full range of mouthwatering and refreshing yottahertz within the popsicle spectrum.” Oh stop. I’d had cherry, orange, and grape. I would go so far as to say that I’d even ventured into lime territory at that point. But grape was the flavor for me.

Cereal? Buc Wheats, a delicious day-starter consisting of maple-infused flakes that they stopped making in the early ’80s, not coincidentally in tandem with the death of God. TV show? “The Dukes of Hazzard”, without hesitation. Candy bar? Milky Way. Song? “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” by The Carpenters. Condiment? Ketchup. And if you were to take it upon yourself to ask me what my favorite movie of all time happened to be, my answer would be quick, enthusiastic, and final: “The Dark Crystal“.

I envy that little boy. I really do. Free to enjoy and evaluate as he pleases, safe from the scoffing and judgment of peers who base their opinions of him as a human being on whether or not he liked “Donnie Darko“. Free from the overwhelming selection and convenience offered at all hours and with minimal expense by online services such as Netflix and Hulu. Free to view the very concept of preference as a form of math as opposed to philosophy or sociology. Free to say “I like this, and I do not like that.”

Because I fear I may never again regain the confidence and candor of my youth, I take solace in Flickchart. If only within the context of this one arguably insignificant realm of existence, it reports back to me who I am, one click at a time. Like Mr. Osciak before me, it is all I can do to suppress spontaneous ejaculation when I click on “Only Unranked” and discover that, praise God from whom all blessings flow (may he rest in peace), they’ve added some new movies, several of which I submitted myself besides! (By the way, you have me to thank for your ability to rank “Munchies” and “The Party Animal“. You’re most welcome.) As much as it grabs hold of my intestines and kneads them into bloody handfuls of tattered viscera, I love it when Flickchart presents me with a pair of tiny posters of two of my most beloved, nostalgia-lousy childhood friends (“The Karate Kid” vs. “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, Flickchart? “Road House” vs. “Big Trouble in Little
? Why not make me shoot one of my parents while you’re at it?), and forces me to make the ultimate decision. I know one of these things is better than the other, and the amount of soul-searching required to determine the answer is by turns interesting, shocking, and, ultimately, liberating.

I’ve been using Flickchart every day without fail ever since I heard the guys from Filmspotting raving about it on one of their podcasts. The site has a brass tacks approach that slyly (dare I say deviously?) leads the unsuspecting user to temple-throbbing sessions of introspection, seemingly impossible intersections that afford one the rare opportunity to ask themselves why they like the things they like. We hear or watch or read something, and we like it or we don’t. It’s practically a chemical reaction. But why? What combination of past events in my life led to “Rocky IV” claiming its place in my esteem as the best of the hexalogy? Flickchart wants you to think about stuff like that. It doesn’t want you to be afraid of the tough questions, and it wants you to come up with the answers. In uncertain times, that type of attitude is refreshing and commendable.

My name is Jeremy Stover, and I can tell you that my favorite movie of all time, barring any earth-shattering future developments in the next few hundred thousand choices, is “Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins“, and it’s all thanks to Flickchart. It’s no magical weed toilet, but it’ll do in a pinch.

This post is part of our User Showcase series. You can find Jeremy as butthorn on Flickchart, and at his blog: Vaguely Unpleasant. If you’re interested to submit your own story or article describing your thoughts about movies and Flickchart, read our original post for how to become a guest writer here on the Flickchart Blog.

  • Jeremy Thompson

    Hilarious post.

    In looking back, it IS amazing how innate and obvious the concept of “favorites” was when I was a kid. And not just as a summary of childhood in total: I can still remember those favorites demarcating the eras of my youth like signposts on the way to manhood. Masters of the Universe, Thundercats, Voltron, Dungeons and Dragons, Transformers, Dukes of Hazzard, Knight Rider… each held sway at some point or another, and during that time, there was no doubt. There was the King and the also-rans.

    But now the palate’s more refined, the options have blossomed, and the defining lines have softened to gradients and hues. Throw all that into a scorecard system from 1-100 and I’m stumped — but bad stumpage, not the preferable “good stumpage.” It’s great to hear that you get the same visceral satisfaction we do out of Flickchart.

    P.S. Let there be no question at all: Rocky IV is a meaty slab of hexalogy-dominating cinema. Well, probably. I haven’t seen Rocky Balboa yet, but it’s going to take a lot to top what’s undoubtedly Dolph Lundgren’s glistening, oil-slicked shining moment.

    P.P.S. I love them both, but I’d pull the trigger on Big Trouble > Road House pretty quick.

  • Nathan Chase

    Big kudos for the usage of “yottahertz”.

    Oh, and sorry if you’re having to clean yourself up more often, as we’re adding newly approved movies almost daily – sometimes throughout the day.