I had a bit of an epiphany today my friends. I realized talking to my friend that I had begun to feel very negatively about La La Land. This is strange because I really did enjoy the film and gave it an A-. It was a bubbly, beautiful breath of fresh air. My opinion of the film was pretty much the same from when I saw it and yet I felt negative about it. What had changed? Well, I thought about it and realized it is ranking! Ranking may just ruin movies for me.
Last year when I created my best of 2015 list I sat down at end of the year and thought about the films I liked the most. I also tried to have a variety on the list so it wasn’t all the same kind of movie. This was challenging but overall produced a list I am happy with.
However, this year has been different. I have been keeping a 2016 movie ranking over on letterbox all year. Whenever I see a movie I put it on this list and move it around as I ponder it. This seemed like a great way to keep track of the movies I’ve seen and my opinions on the year as a whole.
But there’s a BIG problem!
Let’s take today for example. When I saw La La Land I said I didn’t think it was as good as Moana and Sing Street. These both had better songs and I connected more with them emotionally. But I still had La La Land very high because I really did love it. The problem comes is in justifying its placement on the list I kept thinking about the flaws and the reasons why it ‘deserved’ to be where it is at. It’s like I had to focus on the flaws in order to make my ranking valid.
The challenge is I have tons of films I loved/liked for different reasons. For example, Manchester by the Sea took me a bit to get into but certain scenes affected me the most of any film in 2016. How do I rank that vs a film like Pete’s Dragon, which I did not cry as much but it dazzled me throughout. How do you even compare films in completely different genres? I’m sitting making my list trying to decide if I like Hacksaw Ridge better than Your Name? It’s impossible. The two movies have nothing in common, but I loved them both.
Another example is I thought Hell or High Water was basically a perfectly executed film except for one plot hole. This plot hole doesn’t matter to me but where do I rank it? Like I said I have about 30 films that I love about the same so it forces me to nitpick these small problems that I don’t really care about just to differentiate them for the ranking.
And yet I feel compelled to do top 10 lists because I enjoy reading them and it does provide closure for the year. Perhaps my strategy last year is the best way- just make the top 10 list at the end of the year and move on instead of it being this ongoing thing?
I know some people have algorithms and charts that help quantify their rankings but I don’t like that. There may be a movie which on paper has issues but impacted me more than a more technically perfect film.
What do you think? How do you think I should go about ranking films? Can you relate to what I am saying about comparing films can make a viewer focus too much on the problems? I would love to hear your insight.
In the meantime, I have decided to make my list private and am not going to share any more rankings with you guys or on social media until I have settled this problem and seen the remaining films. I want something to be a surprise!