I feel a bit of a fraud if I’m asked for an opinion about films, not least because I’ve been so tangled up in recent months with writing about barely competent restaurants and 9/11 and the semiotics of the Millennium Dome and the sex life of a certain grumbly Canadian that I’m pretty sure the last actual feature film I watched – and I mean *watched*, all the way from the lion’s roar to the third assistant dolly grip’s therapist was probably The Wrestler, which was in – Jesus – February. And now, come to think of it, I’m not even sure if I did actually make it to the end. According to my write-up, the DVD stuck a few minutes before the climax. But I know what happened. Maybe I dreamed it. (Talking of which, my dreams are becoming ever more banal; a few nights ago, I dreamed that I was 10 years older than I actually am. That’s it. Nothing actually happened, I just stood there, being a bit older. There wasn’t even a mirror to satisfy my curiosity.)
Anyway, yeah, films. Despite my current lack of engagement with the medium, I’m still an intellectual slag, so I was delighted to pitch in when Iain Stott asked me to contribute to his 50 Greatest Films project; if you’re really interested, you can see my contribution here. (And I know I didn’t pick 50, but Iain said that was cool, so leave me alone, OK? And I didn’t include The Wrestler, but I did include The Road Home, so that explains the poster, OK, again?)
As Iain points out, there were over 3,000 different films across the various lists, with more than half of those only being selected once. And yet everyone knew that when the overall Top 50 was collated, Citizen Kane would be at the top, and there’d be at least one each from Hitchcock, Kurosawa and Kubrick, because, well, that’s the way these lists go. There’s bound to be someone working at the nexus of anthropology and statistics who could tell you why it always happens.
Strangely, this predictable clumping around the upper reaches is less common in music lists (although the Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums of 2003 was rather magnificent in its canonical conservatism). I don’t know if anybody’s going to ponder why this may be over the next few days, as Everett peppers Drowned In Sound with his and others’ thoughts on the future of music criticism. Again, I’ve been given a small corner of the proceedings, although the only real value of my piece is that it resuscitates David Lee Roth’s most resonant contribution to cultural discourse; I’ll link to it when/if it goes up. Far better is Neil Kulkarni’s guide to being a record reviewer. Although he doesn’t talk about David Lee Roth. Or even Sammy Hagar. But do check it out anyway.
PS: Here’s my contribution.
PPS: More importantly, the Poly Styrene of the Blogosphere seems to have knocked it on the head. Again. But this time, I sense she means it. Poo.