Films Ranked. Now What?
Author’s note: The title of this post implies, quite disingenuously, that you could ever be “finished” ranking movies. We all know that a Flickcharter’s work is never done.
I love going to museums, but I often walk away feeling a bit melancholy. Specifically, I don’t know what to do with the art I’ve experienced. I don’t know how to record it, mentally catalogue it, make it my own. Looking at paintings and sculptures is, inevitably, a fleeting experience, and sometimes that bothers me. Ninety percent of what you see at a museum never takes root in a part of your brain you can readily access. That’s just what happens when you interact with art for a minute or two, then don’t see it again for decades, if ever. And that’s a perfectly acceptable outcome for art that sucks. But what about when you can’t find a place in your brain even for the art that affects you? That’s a little depressing.
Movies, of course, are different. With running times of anywhere from 80 to 180 minutes, movies have a much better chance of really sinking in. (Sometimes they still fail; see my previous comment about art that sucks.) Movies we really like are supposed to linger with us, and usually, they do.
But some of the same logic still applies. If you’re a film fanatic, you aren’t necessarily satisfied with just passively consuming the movie. You still want to catalogue it, record it, make it your own. For some people, that means literally owning it: starting a collection, buying as many DVDs as you can. For others – who own some DVDs, but are trying to save money, not mentioning any names here – that means making lists. In fact, I have a number of movie lists, led by the granddaddy of them all: a list of every movie I’ve ever seen, which I’ve been keeping for 20 years. I may be missing some titles, but if I am, I haven’t given them a passing thought in the last two decades. Otherwise they’d be on there.
For some of us, though, that’s still not enough. And that’s where Flickchart comes in. With every duel between two pieces of art, you revisit them for at least that brief moment in time. You reconsider their merits and their shortcomings. Sometimes you think “Man, I have to see that again!” And sometimes you think “Thank God, I never have to see that again.”
But what if that’s still not enough?
Even with all but 200 of the films I’ve ever seen ranked on Flickchart, I still don’t know what to do with that information. I still have the sense that I want to use it somehow. This is not such a problem with my top 20; they’re posted on the left during my duels, and I also post them on my personal blog. That’s plenty of function for them. But what about the fact that Notting Hill is #787 on my list? What about having The Last Boy Scout ranked at #1246? And what about Life as a House, dangling out there at #1480? I’ve discovered I want these rankings to mean something as well. I want a way to “use” the judgments I’ve made about these movies, so they don’t just sit there, collecting dust.
So a friend of mine (Handsome2010 on Flickchart) and I came up with a little game to “use” our Flickchart rankings. Here’s how it works: I start clicking through duels on Flickchart, and as I do so, I copy down the title and ranking for the next ten victorious films that I think he’s also seen. For example, if I give Bottle Rocket the win, and I think/know he’s seen it, I’ll write 1) Bottle Rocket (Derek 98). And so forth on the next nine titles. Then I’ll send those ten titles to him in an email. He’ll search those movies in his own Flickchart list, and write his ranking next to mine: 1) Bottle Rocket (Derek 98, Handsome 185). Usually, we include a comment about the discrepancy in our rankings, the similarity in our rankings, or any other random words of dismissal, words of praise, or private jokes about the film in question. When he’s done with my titles, he’ll send me back ten new titles from his next bunch of duels. And the game continues, stretched across the days and weeks, until one of us gets too busy, and the thread goes slack.
Through this process, we’ve had some great arguments, but also been turned on to some great recommendations, when one of us made an incorrect assumption about which films the other had seen. Batting these titles back and forth, kind of like a shuttlecock, is quite satisfying. It keeps these movies alive, and makes the ranking we’ve given them “matter” – even if only within the narrow context of two fans discussing film.
Most of us will never be filmmakers. But we love film, and whatever processes exist to help us express that love should be fully utilized. It’s one of the reasons six months on Flickchart have changed the way I view my own fandom, giving my critical responses to this art form an ongoing role in my daily life. People who love music, but can’t create it, have an outlet for taking ownership of the songs they love: They put them on mixes. For those of us in the same boat with movies, there’s Flickchart, helping us “own” our movies, one ranking at a time.
This post is part of our User Showcase series. You can find Derek as derekarm on Flickchart, and at his blog: The Audient. 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.