Saturday, February 18, 2017

2017 List Update

It's that time of year again - the new TSPDT list has been posted! As usual, some films that I've seen have moved onto the list and some have dropped off (although apparently more of the former, as my count has increased slightly, from 591 to 596, with the new update). The big change this year is that Bill (the man responsible for calculating this master list each year from thousands of lists and polls) has decided to drop a formerly crucial component of his calculation process - the so-called "stood-the-test-of-time" formula, which effectively penalized films released within a 10-year span of the list or poll which listed them. Since this formula served to ensure that the list was perennially skewed towards older films which had "stood the test of time", its removal has allowed some more recent films, such as There Will Be Blood and The Tree of Life, to attain a higher place on the list. I've already seen both of the aforementioned films, but maybe these changes to the list will also result in allowing more films from the past few decades into my future writings.

In other administrative news, I would like to announce ahead of time that I am in the beginning stages of finding a new home for the blog. This move will be fairly far off for the time being, but I hope to ultimately make some substantial changes to the overall appearance and functionality of the blog as a result. If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions on this, feel free to let me know.

And as always, if you are interested in exploring the 1,000 Greatest Films further, I highly recommend going straight to the source:
All thanks are due to Bill Georgaris for his tireless work on this incredible website and list. The list has truly become the gold standard for many die-hard film buffs over the years, and without it, this blog would obviously not exist. So once again, thanks to Bill, and thanks to everyone who reads this blog. I greatly appreciate your interest and support.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

#591: Roma

1972, TSPDT Rank #566

Roma is usually cast as a minor entry in Federico Fellini's filmography, but it is a highly original film nevertheless, and one which can be seen as a cross-section of the elements which Fellini would return to repeatedly throughout the second half of his career. It sits comfortably between Satyricon and Amarcord, arguably the twin pillars of Fellini's latter-day filmography, combining the vivid surrealism and fascination with the distant past seen in Satyricon with the nostalgic and semi-autobiographic evocations of WWII-era Italy which would be explored further in Amarcord. Fellini alternates between these two points of focus throughout the film, while also experimenting with a forward-looking, semi-documentary approach which combines elements of classic city-symphony films like Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera with the cinema-verite style popular at the time of the film's production. However, some sections of the film fail to fit into either of these three categories - such as the famous "ecclesiastical fashion show" sequence, which evades easy description or categorization, while also providing one of the most vivid examples of the term "Fellini-esque" imaginable. This combination of diverse styles and approaches serves to make Roma a truly one-of-a-kind film - one which, out of all Fellini's films, might provide the most wide-ranging view into his singular philosophy and approach to filmmaking.

#590: Thelma & Louise

Directed by: RIDLEY SCOTT
1991, TSPDT Rank #623

When I think of Ridley Scott, I usually associate him with sci-fi thrillers (Alien) and big action films (Gladiator). In Thelma & Louise, however, Scott showcased his ability to make an iconic road movie infused with reckless abandon and desperate passion. The film follows the travels of the two titular friends, on the run after a rebellious weekend in the wilderness takes an unexpected detour into murder - turning the two women into outlaws. The murder victim is a man who seduces Thelma in a bar and attempts to rape her in the parking lot, before being stopped by Louise - who shoots him in cold blood after he fails to show the faintest sign of remorse for his actions. In murdering this man, who would likely be considered innocent under the circumstances by the law, Louise (a woman with an implied rape history herself) effectively avenges herself, Thelma, and all other rape victims who have been blamed for a crime which was perpetrated on them while the real perpetrators were allowed to go free. This aspect alone would explain the film's status as a feminist classic, although the characters of Thelma and Louise help to cement this reputation. Both are extremely well-drawn and complex characters (unusual for female characters in a mainstream Hollywood film, especially of the time period) who act on their own volition and are thoroughly unapologetic about their actions - staging them as a revolt against the society that has oppressed them since birth. These potent themes, along with the wildly shifting power dynamic between the two women as the film progresses, make the film a thrilling and multi-layered experience. While there might be better road movies out there, it is still hard to think of another mainstream Hollywood film of this era that explored such groundbreaking themes while still retaining an undeniable atmosphere of exhilaration.