There’s been a little controversy over some particular flicks popping up on Flickchart for ranking. Some users seem to figure that Flickchart is a bit too liberal in the material it approves for ranking. WWE wrestling specials? Pixar animated shorts? Television pilot episodes? Looney Tunes? Captain EO?
Well, it all started there, didn’t it? Captain EO is a “4-D” film that debuted in Walt Disney theme parks in 1986 and ran there exclusively through the ’90s. The 17-minute sci-fi film (at the time, the most expensive movie ever made on a per-minute basis) starred Michael Jackson, and was essentially a giant music video with 3-D imagery, flashing lights and plenty of smoke. Following Jackson’s death, the film made a return to Disney parks in 2010, but it has never had a theatrical release.
A Michael Jackson music video that has only appeared at DisneyLand? Surely this obliterates the definition of a “film”. But consider the talent involved: Captain EO was directed by Francis Ford Coppola, executive produced by George Lucas, features music by James Horner (who scored the two highest-grossing films of all time, Avatar and Titanic), and co-stars Angelica Huston. On this basis, Flickchart’s creators seemed to agree that Captain EO could be included in the rankings. For completists, who seem to want to rank everything they’ve seen, this was good news; for purists, whose definitions of “film” are far narrower, it rankled. Now we’re getting short films (like Luxo Jr., Pixar’s first CG animated film, in which director John Lasseter coaxes more emotion out of a table lamp in two minutes than any director has gotten out of Keanu Reeves during his entire career), musicians’ tour videos, feature length making-of documentaries.
It’s all their fault.
But just a minute here: Perhaps, instead of flying in the face of the definition of “film”, Captain EO was opening up the definition of a “flick”. This, here, is “Flickchart”, not “Filmchart”, and maybe there’s a good reason for that.
If I’m too liberal in my definitions of what constitutes a “flick” suitable for ranking, you’ll have to forgive me. After all, I believe I am the person (or, at least, one of the people) who submitted Captain EO to Flickchart for consideration, and if you’ve seen some of those fantastic Pixar shorts come up, I’m responsible for those, too. Instead of getting my hackles up that Flickchart’s creators are allowing too many screwy flicks into the global rankings, I prefer to applaud them for celebrating the power of choice.
Some people may believe that animated films are not “real” films, choosing to dismiss them as “just cartoons”. (Indeed, even though it appears that way on Flickchart, “animation” is not a genre, it’s an art form; but that’s a discussion for another time.) Some may figure that direct-to-DVD movies do not merit the same recognition as theatrically-released feature films. (Half of Steven Seagal‘s filmography should be automatically disqualified.) And then we get into the realm of extended TV episodes, which Flickchart allows, particularly if they received their own DVD release: see Family Guy: Blue Harvest, Stargate Atlantis: Rising, or Prison Break: The Final Break.
They’re Best Picture Oscar nominees. How can they be “just cartoons”?
What about U2: Live at Red Rocks – Under a Blood Red Sky or Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows? Now we’re really stretching the boundaries, because let’s face it: These are not “movies”. They might stretch the definition of “documentary”, perhaps, but they are not movies in the same way Bowling for Columbine and An Inconvenient Truth are.
But the fact is, we all have the ability to choose the flicks that appear on our individual charts. It’s always up to the user whether to rank a film or not. You don’t want to rank it? Just click the “Haven’t Seen It” button and move on; you’ll never see it again.
Of course, there are some people, like myself, who may feel the compulsion to rank everything they know they’ve seen, whether they want to or not. In my case, that leads to inaccuracies in my Flickchart: I’ve added films that I haven’t seen in over 15 years, and thus, I don’t remember well enough to properly rank them against other films. It’s one reason why I’ve chosen to create a second Flickchart account, one that will not have as many films on it, but I feel will be more accurate by the time I’m finished with it.
Seen ’em. Don’t really remember ’em. Why rank ’em? I dunno. (Especially that last one…)
Still, I feel that I’d like to advertise that I’ve seen certain films that rank high on the global charts – like Pulp Fiction or E.T. – even if I don’t feel I can properly recall them for ranking. To this end, I might humbly offer a suggestion to Flickchart’s creators: What if there could be a way to rank a movie as “Seen, But Unranked”? There could be a variety of reasons for this: I don’t want Pulp Fiction to be my highest-ranked “unseen” movie if I don’t have to; somebody else could acknowledge that they’ve seen those Pixar shorts, but not have to rank them against The Godfather and Requiem for a Dream; yet another user could keep animation the heck away from their chart entirely, yet acknowledge to the rest of the Flickchart community that they have indulged in the occasional “lesser” flick from time to time. (Anyway, I digress; it’s just a thought.)
Regardless, this willingness to allow a plethora of choices into the database is part of makes Flickchart so wonderful: Every individual user is allowed to tailor their personal chart to their own tastes. Want to exclude short films? Go ahead. Want to rank only short films? You can do that, too. Want to rank only sci-fi movies from the 1950s? Well, you’re allowed. The choice is up to you. Let’s not point the finger at Captain EO; let’s appreciate it for helping to bring a little variety to Flickchart. And instead of questioning why a flick is even in the database at all, let’s just hit the “Haven’t Seen It” button, and go about our rankings…
This post is part of our User Showcase series. You can find Nigel as johnmason on Flickchart. 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.