THE LIST ON THE SIDEBAR

So, I hop onto Blogger on Sunday morning, and I get this invite to jump my blog over to Blogger Beta, a new test version of the software that comes fortified with all manner of bells and whistles and 7 essential vitamins and minerals. Since I haven't had any cereal yet that morning, I flung myself at the opportunity, mainly out of sheer ennui and the promising prospect of being able to easier maintain the sidebar lists and fonts and colors.

Of course, I could easily do all this in HTML, but that would mean "work", i.e. tediousness and mucho copying and pasting of code. As a result, I had put off anything along the lines of a list of favorite movies, and had settled lazily for the minute amount of space that the Blogger profile allows you for maintaining such a list. My profile list tended to cut off after about movie #18, no matter how much I cut out articles and punctuation... infuriating it was, indeed.

But, no longer! At last, I can easily put up a list of my favorite or most influential movies in my lounge-filling life as an industrious time-waster. The problem? Where to begin, and where to end? What do I place on the sidebar list? What merits the most attention? Certainly, I start with what I pretty much have insisted is the truth: that King Kong is my favorite film of all time. Not the best film of all time; just my favorite: the one that has had the most impact in my existence, pro or con. The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, Kane and Duck Soup closely follow, but where now?

I can't just put up every classic film that I have seen or appreciated. No, for the most part, these have to be films that I keep returning to, whether I intend to or not. The ones that I pop in when I need a pick-me-up or when I need some soothing relief from the world outside. This return can also be exhibited in how much some of these films inhabit my head; there are few films that I can go through without a visual cue or snatch of dialogue from one of these films superceding the images that I am watching freshly on the scene.

Most importantly, this is my canon. Not the canon of film; though a great many of these films may fall onto that "list", just as many of them don't. My intent here is not to say "These are the greatest films of all time!" and then pass the tablets on to Moses (though if I had, there would have at least been a commandment about "Thou shall not wing cigarette butts from moving cars"; "he's" "God", "he" should have been able to foresee the whole cars-and-smoking scenario... reprehensible habit brought about by selfish and willfully self-destructive ignorance meets environmental shoulder-shrugging and aesthetic torture.) No, these are simply, for lack of a better term, "My favorite films". Of course, I don't call the list that; such an act would limit the list, and the list needs to have a little more life to it than that tag. I found it can best be summed up by the title "Leave Me Alone! I Have to Watch These Again... and Again... and Again... and Again..." It's probably the closest to the truth.

I was originally going to declare a 5-year moratorium on recent films, for the simple fact that often one gets caught up in cycles or viewing trends and obsess on certain themes or current directors and stars. Sometimes, one gets too anxious to flaunt their "latest discovery" and jam it down the world's throat. I have done this on many occasions myself (Damien or Bubba, I am sure, will bring up, ad nauseum, the Motorama debacle). I remember particularly an incident back in the early 80's, which took place after my first purchase of a certain video, and my rampant desire to have everyone in my clique see this great movie which had taken over my world. There is still a group of about ten people who have never forgiven me for placing Eraserhead before their eyes. That this movie is on my list will tell you what I think of their shortsightedness, but they are all still my friends, and I respect their right to be blazingly incorrect. Dopes...

I eventually tossed out the idea of a moratorium and forged ahead with a decree that I may place films of recent vintage, but only when their influence on me has begun to shape the way that I approach films as a whole. Thus, Brick, which is probably the film that is both my favorite film within the last 12 months and also the film that I most regret not seeing in a theater, ends up on the list; likewise, Sin City gets on there, too, and the list is able to reflect some of my current tastes, but with immense restrictions on placement.

The other battle that I have encountered with myself is the level of influence. Certainly, a schlock film like The Monster That Challenged the World doesn't pop up on most people's favorite movie lists, but it's on mine; not for quality or brilliance, mind you -- it's merely OK -- but for the fact that the film was seen as a teenager in a group of films on a certain afternoon movie block, and helped engender a profound shift in my viewing habits. That I can still watch the film today (I do own it on DVD) and enjoy it is the key factor to its inclusion. Other films that I saw early in life that I once felt held huge influence over me did not make the list, however: Doctor Dolittle, which was one of the first films I saw as a toddler, may have held sway over me for a handful of years (even to the point where I wanted to become a veterinarian), but its power disappeared as I matured, and watching the film today is nearly impossible for me, especially after I read the real Dolittle books in elementary school and realized the filmmakers had it all wrong. (The Eddie Murphy versions? Don't even get me started on that crap. Hopefully, someone will come along some day and do the books justice. They will have to cut down on the time-period minor racisms, though...)

So, the list is fluid and ever-changing. At some point, I may grow disenchanted with a film and remove it; I also reserve the right to promote films if I perceive within myself a shift towards enlightenment towards it. And the most important factor is that I have put this list together over the last week, and it is still growing. If you read it and are shocked -- SHOCKED! -- that I left off a certain flick when you know full well that I love that film, then send me a comment or email, and I will either add it or post my reasons for not including it. Perhaps I will add it, perhaps not. The list grows as I think it up. As I stated before, I have never really had a list like this, so I am winging it. Much like a smoker in a Versa with a spent cigarette on I-5: I reserve the right to fling my garbage wherever I like...

Comments

Lindsay Lamar said…
I like the sidebar additions Rik! I'm looking forward to moving myself over to beta when they give me the chance--I don't know what I'll do with it, but it's exciting nonetheless!
EggOfTheDead said…
It's great to see some of my less-talked-about faves on your list e.g., "Ball of Fire." Got me thinking about what would be on my own - albeit much shorter - sidebar, coming soon. Your passion is contagious!

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