Your Flickchart Top 20: Gift or Curse?
If you’re an avid Flickcharter, you’ve no doubt got a list of hundreds — if not thousands — of films ranked. From your all-time favorites to the dregs of cinema that you only wish you could un-see, to those middle-of-the-chart, ho-hum, so-so films whose ranks, while fun to try and get into their proper order, become somewhat interchangeable as they all share a common air of mediocrity.
Indeed, when it comes to your Flickchart, do you truly care whether Movie #667 is better than Movie #668? Does it even matter if Movie #236 is better than Movie #247?
What about global rankings? Does it matter to you if Flickchart’s users have V for Vendetta ranked higher than There Will Be Blood? Or that District 9 ranks higher than Best Picture Oscar-winner The Hurt Locker? Be honest: Does it really, really concern you that The Dark Knight outranks Star Wars as the #1 movie of all-time? As a movie fan, you know this fact to be either true or false; global rankings can be very useful in helping you find good movies that you haven’t seen yet, but when it comes to the films you do and don’t like, they aren’t necessarily going to sway your opinion.
In fact, I’d be willing to bet that, for most Flickcharters, the only list that really matters is that one that stares you in the face every time you come to the site: your personal Top 20. It’s the list that’s on-screen every time you rank; either causing you to constantly question it, or reaffirm that yes, yes these are, in fact, my favorite movies of all-time. The cream of the crop. The films that will smack down any others they come against in your Flickchart rankings.
It took me some time to work on my personal Top 20. There are movies that held spots on that list for months, before they fell away and now occupy the lower half of my Top 100 (Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report; David Fincher’s Fight Club). There are some movies I knew I loved, but didn’t make the grade until I saw them again (particularly Dean Parisot’s Galaxy Quest). There’s even one or two that took me completely by surprise when I found them on the list (Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men, I’m looking at you).
But after the past seven months of Flickcharting, I finally have a Top 20 list that is rock-solid. Every movie, I’ve decided, deserves to be there – and that list hasn’t changed in weeks now. For the record, here it is:
The rest of my Top 50 fluctuates wildly, but that Top 20 is rock-solid. So much so, that I haven’t even allowed any movie that I’ve seen for the first time since I started Flickcharting to dare crack that list. (The closest would be Pixar’s Up and WALL·E, which I love, and are indeed in my Top 30). I have my 20 favorite movies, they’re all in place, and it’s going to take a miracle for that to change.
Or so I thought.
See, an interesting thing has happened over the last couple of weeks. I’ve re-watched Terminator 2 and Jurassic Park. (For those who weren’t paying attention, #7 and #18, respectively, on my hallowed list.) I thoroughly enjoyed them – despite having seen both at least a dozen times. After all, that’s how I rank; the movies at the top of my list are the ones most likely to be watched again by yours truly.
But dang it, now I’ve started wondering if I didn’t enjoy Jurassic Park more than T2…
This would not be a problem if these two movies were side-by-side in the rankings. Just rank ‘em and flip ‘em. But there are ten movies between T2 and Jurassic Park. Maybe I’ve decided that the dinosaurs are better than killer robots from the future… but are they better than all the movies I’d ranked ahead of them previously?
It’s an interesting conundrum. It’s no big deal to me if a movie in the middle of my Flickchart suddenly jumps ten places; with most of those mediocre films, the rankings are almost inconsequential to me. But halfway up my Top 20? Therein lies madness.
And it creates all manner of new questions. What about Aliens? Does the fact that I seemed to enjoy Jurassic Park more recently mean that Terminator 2 might not even be my favorite James Cameron movie anymore? Should JP move ahead of Collateral and Back to the Future in my rankings? Or should T2 move down?
Do I spend an hour just trying to re-rank my Top 20 again? And, if I do that, should I consider letting another movie onto the list (like the aforementioned Up or WALL·E)?
Or, would the only way to truly decide be to watch every other movie in my Top 20 again…?
To me, this would seem to be indefatigable proof that the Flickcharter’s work never done — especially for a Flickcharter like me, who always ranks by a single criteria: “Which movie would I rather watch right now?” Of course, the answer to that question at this moment is “any other movie in my Top 20 than Jurassic Park” – because I just watched it!
I legitimately love (or almost love) every movie in my current Top 200. (Well, except Hitman; I just kind of like that one, and I don’t know how it sneaked up to #196.) And thus, the Top 20 becomes like a bit of a double-edged sword: Is it legitimately a list of my favorite movies of all time? Or should it change on a regular basis, because, depending on how the mood strikes me, my favorite movie of all time could still be significantly farther down the list…?
Ultimately, that’s part of the joy of the Flickchart system: Our definitive lists of the greatest movies constantly shift and change, because our opinions of our favorite films can shift depending on our moods, repeat viewings, and the other unseen films that are waiting in the wings to challenge our perceptions of cinematic greatness.
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.