Monday, 7 March 2011

The IMDB Top 250

Its a bit strong to call it a quest, or even a resolution, but over the last 5 or 6 years, when I've been looking for a movie to watch, my first port of call has been the IMDB's Top 250, a list of films ranked by an adjusted average rating of all the users of the IMDB site. It has been a moving target, obviously - there are probably well over fifty films that have entered and departed the list since I started following it, so I've ended up seeing a lot more than what is currently in the list. This has been to my great profit - some of these I had never heard of, but now count among my favourite films.

On Saturday, I went down to Palace Centro and watched True Grit, the Coen Brothers' latest western, a good film with very strong characters and performances, even if the denouement was disappointing (note to self: if I start a film review blog, consider "disappointing denouement" as a name - its an epidemic). At the time I saw it, this was the last remaining film I hadn't seen on the list, so as of March 5, I have completed the list. I expect this will only last a few weeks at the most, but its something that, for no particularly good reason, I'm a little bit proud of.

I've had a wonderful time going through the list. There are so many films, directors and genres that I had never really watched, and would not necessarily have expected to like. I loved the westerns, from Sergio Leone to John Wayne, Butch and Sundance to Unforgiven, and new ones like 3:10 to Yuma (the remake) and the Coen Brothers' latest. I was surprised by how much I liked the silent films I saw, especially Chaplin and Keaton (especially Keaton), but also films like M, Metropolis and The Passion of Joan of Arc. I saw more Asian films because of the 250 list than I had seen previously, and really enjoyed Kurosawa, Old Boy, Infernal Affairs, and In The Mood for Love. Some of the films were "tough" to watch - Bergman and Fellini come to mind - but there was always something to take away from them. The worst film I saw from the list was without question A Christmas Story, which has no place in the list, but its the only one that springs to mind that really disappointed me.

In some ways, its a little sad that I've finished the list, in that I no longer have it as a reference to go to when I want to find a film to watch. On the other hand, I have a much fuller appreciation now of different filmmakers, and I know there are a bunch who I really haven't explored as much as I'd like - Truffaut and Godard, and the French new wave (having really liked Les 400 Coups and Au bout de souffle, and La Salaire de la Peur), and some filmmakers who didn't make the list, like Fassbinder. I also feel a little more comfortable now going back and rewatching some of the films, especially those I haven't seen for a long time now. Also, its only a matter of time before there are new entries to check out :)


Jim said...

For the record, I lasted about a month before some changes in the list (specifically the entry of A Separation) pushed me back down to 249/250.

Craig French said...

This definately is an achievement!! I have recently started makingmy way through the Top 250 list and I think it is a great way to broaden my film viewing habits!

Good on you for completing it!