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Records and such
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Danny Baldwin
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 1354
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: 10.31.2003 1:48 am    Post subject: Records and such Reply with quote

Do you guys keep records of all the movies you see in a year, and how one ranks above the other (other than a screening log)...I dunno if I'm nutty, but I just kept this chart for this year for list making purposes...

www.bucketreviews.com/topetetop.doc

I'd like to know your thoughts on ranking before lists and such. Is it almost as crazy as the 100 point scale or is it a good idea?
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beltmann
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 10.31.2003 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I keep a simple database of all films viewed, which also triples as a screening log and a record of my personal film library. By filtering the various fields, I can see all kinds of lists--favorite Westerns, silent films owned (350!), etc.--which means that at the end of the year I can quickly list all the films I've seen, according to grade or whatever.

What I don't do is keep running lists of Top Ten or Five Worst, etc. Frankly, the grades awarded don't mean much in my final ranking. Grades aren't given in a vacuum, and cannot be compared across the board. For example, a "B" for Holes hardly means the same thing as a "B" for Thirteen. Another example: Even though I gave them both a "C," clearly Irreversible is a far more significant and skillful achievement than Cabin Fever. Genre, ambition, and bias all play determining roles in a grade, and those factors make it impossible to use grades as a ranking tool.

When I draw up my final list, I completely disregard grades. I just pick the ones that meant the most to me, and the ones I still feel like writing about. It's all arbitrary anyway, isn't it? (My Five Worst are never a true worst list--who wants to mention the obvious? In other words, why bother with From Justin to Kelly, Wrong Turn and Kangaroo Jack when you can write about ABC Africa or The King Is Alive?)

My list last year reveals my skepticism of a "true" Top Ten. I placed 19 films on my list, pairing titles not according to numerical rank, but according to the connections that existed in my mind. Other than Number One, the rankings on my list were, at best, rough estimates. Who wants to pick between Bloody Sunday and Atanarjuat? Why can't we love them equally? Why must we claim one artwork superior to the other? Besides, who can make such minute judgments, and on what basis? Why must our recommendations be qualified, sorted, classified, and arranged? Art resists such packaging, I think, and I guess I finally grew tired of pretending I could compose an accurate ranking of a year spent watching flickering lights in the dark.

Eric
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the night watchman
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Joined: 27 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 11.08.2003 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't normally use a rating or ranking system for movies, except when I'm responding to a thread that asks me to. My weekly reviews for the newspaper are without grades, but for the reviews I'm writing for an upcoming Web site I'm obliged to score movies on a 1 - 5 scale. Generally, I apply the score based on how much or little I the movie warrants recommendation. A score of 3 is a solid recommendation, and refers to solid, unchallenging entertainment, that most people would probably enjoy. Higher ratings are expressions of greater entertainment value or technical prowess, or of challenging themes or significance. For instance, I awarded Crash a 4. Movies with a 5 are ones that pretty much define what I am looking for in any movie, like Eraserhead. On the other end, a 2.5 score is a movie I enjoy, with caveats. For instance, I gave The Beast Within a 2.5 because, while I like the movie, I think it's fairly flawed, especially during the final thirty minutes. It's like saying, "Hey, I dug it, and you might too, but go in with moderate expectations." A movie with a 2 or lower is one I wouldn't recommend, and the lower the score, the more my disdain, and more I would urge potential viewers to stay away. Terror Train would probably get a 2, but I wouldn't exert any energy to keep folks away. Friday the 13th Part 3 would probably get something like a 1 or a 0.5, and I would be fairly strenuous about my objections.
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Last edited by the night watchman on 11.08.2003 9:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 11.08.2003 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We need a univeral system for rankings, since so many people have so many different interpratations--they are so hard to live with. But, in my ranking thing, I did rank all the 3s differently, and I rarely come to believe that a 3 is better than a 3.5, though it does happen.

Here's a hundred point scale questions, specifically directed at Ray. How is a "45" supposed to equal ***. Where does that conversion come in? How does a 44 somehow equal good when it's out of a hundred? Or is your definition of *** different?
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Michael Scrutchin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 11.16.2003 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just keep a simple Microsoft Excel file with rows for the 1) movie title, 2) year released, 3) director, 4) date viewed, 5) viewing format, and 6) my grade. I can instantly sort my lists by any of those criteria. I've been thinking of starting a personal screening log, just to force myself to write at least a sentence or two about every film I see.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 11.16.2003 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use Microsoft Access: Title, Grade, Director, Co-Dir, Country, Year, Language, Minutes, Format, Genre, Venue Where Viewed, Silent/Short/Animated, Brief Comments, and finally info about its inclusion in my personal library. Sorting and filtering the fields is very simple, as is the visual design. I first started maintaining the database in 1991, primarily as a tool to help me keep things straight when I was a regular newspaper critic. I just never stopped. As of this morning, there are 4,867 entries, and it's too late to stop now...

Besides the instant info, what I like about the database is that it forces me to consider films in multiple contexts--in terms of a director, a national cinema, a year, a genre, a language, etc.--and also think about the work rather than quickly dismiss it. My enduring thoughts about a work are often formed or refined during the database stage, perhaps more so than during the picture itself.

Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 11.16.2003 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, good ideas, indeed. Maybe I'll do something like that today, if time permits.
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beltmann
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 11.18.2003 3:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any luck, Danny?

Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 11.18.2003 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, but I had to start with February, since I hadn't kept track of all the 2002-theatre releases I saw this year. All I know is that the only one that I saw, theatrically, in February was Talk to Her.
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beltmann
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 2341
Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 11.18.2003 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Year of release is tricky. Generally, I designate year by the month the film received commercial release in its home country, not US distribution. I don't worry about that when it comes to a Ten Best list, though. For my list, I consider anything that first became available in Milwaukee--theatrically or on video--between January and December of that year. I usually bend a bit for the few that get released in the first couple weeks of January, just to stay somewhat on the same page as the national writers. Living where I do, though, makes complete synchronicity impossible. Dem's the breaks--better to just make it work for me.

Did I just make up synchronicity?

Eric
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the night watchman
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Location: Dark, run-down shack by the graveyard.

PostPosted: 11.18.2003 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beltmann wrote:


Did I just make up synchronicity?



Laughing No, The Police did.
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"If you're talking about censorship, and what things should be shown and what things shouldn't be shown, I've said that as an artist you have no social responsibility whatsoever."

-David Cronenberg
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 11.21.2003 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ive decided to make 6 best lists this year:

Best Ten Overall, Most Affluently Entertaining, Most Monumental, Most Breathtaking, Hollywood-ilicious, and Screw Intelligence--I Want My Popcorn.

This way, I can appeal to everyone. Smile
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beltmann
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Location: West Bend, WI

PostPosted: 11.21.2003 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
Best Ten Overall, Most Affluently Entertaining, Most Monumental, Most Breathtaking, Hollywood-ilicious, and Screw Intelligence--I Want My Popcorn.


What's the difference between the last three?

Eric
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 11.21.2003 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hehe...well...take a look and you'll notice a difference...

Best Ten Overall

1) The Magdalene Sisters

2) Lost In Translation

3) The Quiet American

4) Nowhere in Africa

5) Whale Rider

6) The Hulk

7) Seabiscuit

8 ) Mystic River

9) Intolerable Cruelty

10) The Shape of Things

Most Consistently Entertaining

1) Lost In Translation

2) American Splendor

3) Finding Nemo

4) The Hulk

5) Bend it like Beckham

6) Kill Bill: Volume One

7) Intolerable Cruelty

8 ) Anything Else

9) Freaky Friday

10) A Mighty Wind

Most Monumental

1) The Magdalene Sisters

2) Better Luck Tomorrow

3) The Quiet American

4) Lost In Translation

5) Nowhere in Africa

6) Mystic River

7) Blue Car

8 ) Sweet Sixteen

9) Veronica Guerin

10) All The Real Girls

Most Breathtaking

1) The Magdalene Sisters

2) Whale Rider

3) Mystic River

4) Winged Migration

5) Kill Bill: Volume One

6) Blue Car

7) Nowhere in Africa

8 ) Levity

9) He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

10) The Shape of Things

Hollywood-ilicious

1) The Hulk

2) Seabiscuit

3) Intolerable Cruelty

4) Open Range

5) Terminator 3

6) How to Deal

7) Love Actually

8 ) Life of David Gale

9) Down With Love

10) The Italian Job

Screw Intelligence, I Want My Popcorn!

1) Bend it like Beckham

2) Terminator 3

3) The Matrix Reloaded

4) Freddy Vs. Jason

5) Pirates of the Caribbean

6) Old School

7) The School of Rock

8 ) Charlie?s Angels 2: Full Throttle

9) Shanghai Knights

10) The In-Laws
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matt header
Studio Exec


Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Posts: 623
Location: Milwaukee, WI

PostPosted: 11.21.2003 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Each year I enjoy choosing what I call the Roald Dahl Award for most creative film of the year. For 2001, it was The Royal Tenenbaums; for 2002, Punch-Drunk Love. (I only initiated my personal awards, which really mean nothing at all, two years ago.)

I also enjoy having the George Cukor award for most old-fashioned, uplifting, cheerful romance: for 2001, Amelie; for 2002, About a Boy. And then there's the Hitchcock award for, of course, scariest fun: for 2001, The Others; 2002, Signs.

Finally, whenever a distinctive slew of movies of a certain style/genre comes out in one year, I like to award the best. 2001 had a run of "heist" movies including Sexy Beast, Heist, The Score, Ocean's Eleven, and Nine Queens (which I haven't seen) - I gave Sexy Beast "the Jules Dassin Award." For 2002 it was more difficult to detect a distinct trend; ultimately, Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner won the "Nanook of the North Award" for best film taking place and made in a culture we know virtually nothing about (it was between that, Japon and Kandahar).

These awards are basically for my personal enjoyment - they're not very ceremonious or anything - but I enjoy choosing them anyway.
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