Lost in Stagnation: or How I Realized I Had A New #1 Movie

Emil Ekelund

Emil is a movie-loving Swede, more prone to sarcasm and dry humor than to the berzerking of his Viking ancestors. While he enjoys most types of movies, a lot of his favorites tend to be various kinds of comedies. An unashamed fanboy of both Jason Statham and Shannyn Sossamon, he will watch any movie to feature either of those actors, no matter how bad they seem (if they were to appear in the same film together, his head might very well collapse). He does the vast majority of his movie-watching at home but occasionally ventures out to the cinema, at least whenever a new Christopher Nolan film arrives. When not occupied with film, Emil enjoys other forms of fine culture such as books, video games and pro wrestling. He also likes tea and beards. He runs a film blog called A Swede Talks Movies, tweets at @Esh_Kebab and is known as Eshegnev on Flickchart.

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16 Responses

  1. Emil, I’m thrilled you wrote this!  We’ve talked about it quite a lot, and this is one time I’m glad someone else wrote what I had wanted to write.  You’ve created (to my mind, anyway) a concrete case in favor of Flickchart flexibility.  If I might make one tiny suggestion, though, it would be to expand that filter to, say, your Top 50.  You’d be surprised how much your Top 20 really changes when the next thirty films are thrown into the mix.  It irks a lot of Flickcharters to think of this as “undoing” their diligent work, but I find it’s rewarding to get a frequently updated snapshot of my taste at any given point in time.

    I’ll have more later, I’m sure, but right now I’m exhausted.  Kudos, though, on a well written debut post!

    • Emil says:

      Thank you, Travis! Wouldn’t have happened if not for your suggestion, so you deserve credit too.

      Yeah, the Top 50 filter works great too, and I’ve done that one as well. The Top 20 is to shake up the internal order of the list on the left, whereas the Top 50 helps bring new titles into it. They both serve their purposes.

      I’m interested in hearing what you were planning to write on Flickchart psychology, though!

  2. Nostra says:

    Excellently written and it’s true that with some movies rewatching them changes your opinion on it. Didn’t know about Flixchart before, so will be sure to check it out further.

  3. Nigel Druitt says:

    My #1 is my #1; I have a hard time fathoming the idea of that changing. (In my case, my #1 represents three films, Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, and is a little more concrete in that case.)

    A rewatches have exchanged films within my Top 20, though. Terminator 2 left. Galaxy Quest came in. It can happen, but yes, I am totally guilty of that rigidity in my Top 10.

    My biggest problem is that I usually have to watch a film again before I will really consider that it should, perhaps, be higher on my chart.

    This is a well-written piece, Emil. Nicely done.

    • Emil says:

      Thank you very much!

      That’s an interesting point about feeling like you have to rewatch a film for it to climb. It’s a valid arguement, if one I don’t subscribe to myself. Sure, I’ll often rerank a film right after rewatching it, which leads to some interesting climbs and falls. But in the end, it all comes down to a choice between two films. And if I, at the time the choice is presented to me, feel that one is better than the other, it will win. But I see your point. Since Flickchart is all about climbing (a film that loses only drops one place after all), once you’ve climbed, you’ve kind of earned your spot. It’s interesting, really. Another example of Flickchart psychology at work.

    • Nigel Druitt says:

      Part of it is being concerned that I don’t remember a film well enough to properly rank it if it’s been too long since I’ve seen it. For example, I saw Pulp Fiction once, back in about ’97 or so, and while I remember not liking it much, that’s about all I remember. Should I really be ranking that movie…?

    • Derek Armstrong says:

      Time for a new example, Nigel — I’ve heard the Pulp Fiction one about 40 times! ;-)

    • Nigel Druitt says:

      Ha! You’re right, Derek; sorry. How ’bout E.T.? It’s probably been even longer since I’ve seen that one…

  4. Derek Armstrong says:

    The rigid thought process I’ve got to get myself out of is thinking that everything on Flickchart must happen “organically.” Like some other people did, I entirely rebuilt my account once the newer more accurate method of adding new films was introduced. Having done that, however, I now feel like I should go back to totally organic again — ranking all my films against each other, and not focusing in on the upper-end of the list. Clearly I recognize that this is a very narrow way to view Flickchart, but I can’t seem to bust myself out of it. Like you, I actually resolved to re-rank movies every time I re-watched them, so as to be sure that my current feelings about the movie were accurately represented in my rankings. Of course, since making that resolution I’ve become gun shy, worrying about a movie jumping (or falling, because that can happen more precipitously when you re-rank using By Title) “inorganically” by too many spots.

    Oh yeah, and — very entertaining read! I think it’s rather amazing that a film you felt “meh” about could end up one day becoming your #1. Cinema truly is a living entity, isn’t it?

    • Emil says:

      I know what you mean with the whole organic thing. Part of what made me (and most likely others) hooked on Flickchart at the beginning was to see your list compiling itself for each ranking you did. Flickchart dictated the perimeters, and you just answered to whatever it presented you with. It becomes more of a fun game when you don’t control what the rules are, so to speak. It’s sort of akin to dreaming. You can have a really cool dream with crazy things happening, and it’s awesome. Then you wake up, but you want to keep dreaming, so you try to let the dream continue in your mind. But since it’s now your awake brain (IE you) that’s in charge rather than your subconcious, it’s just not as fun.

      I like having things out of my control, I suppose. It’s the same with my movie rental list. I understand Netflix lets you order your films in fine detail, but Lovefilm (the Swedish alternative) only gives you 3 priority levels to assign films to. Sure, you could put every movie on priority 2 and bump the one film you want next up to top priority, but I prefer to keep a bunch of them up top. That way, it will be a bit of a surprise what film I’ll get next.

      A living entity it is indeed. But there has been no other film that my opinion has changed as drastically on as Lost in Translation. Some films have gone from “meh” to okay upon rewatches, or from masterpiece to very good, etcetera. But nothing has come close to LiT’s journey.

      I actually watched Sofia Coppola’s latest film Somewhere today. It’s funny, but I had pretty much the same reaction to it as I had for Lost in Translation when I first saw it. Maybe that film will end up high on my chart a few years from now too. Time will tell. For now, it gets to hang out in the 800-ish range.

    • Nigel Druitt says:

      Yeah, I don’t have any experiences like that – from “meh” to “love”. Definitely a couple in my Top 20 that never would have been anywhere near my Top 20 the first time around, but I at least genuinely liked them the first time…

  1. October 11, 2011

    […] recently contributed my first blog post to the Flickchart blog. It’s about how I came to realize that I had a new all-time favorite […]