I once spent a lot of time trying to figure out what were my 100 favorite movies. I gathered a list of hundreds of candidates and created this game-like ranking system to weight how much each movie had impacted me, how long it had been an influence on me, how widely acclaimed it was, and so on. And it yielded a pretty decent list. The idea was then to write about why each of these movies mattered to me. I never made it all the way through the list, mainly because I approached it as a #100 to #1 countdown, which has an amazing way of taking the fun out of writing about movies. In the back of my head, I knew somebody out there would take issue with the order of the list, and several times along the way, I took issue with it myself.
What I learned was that it didn’t matter why I felt one movie was better than another. What mattered was why I liked any of these movies at all. And as I thought about that, I realized that in all of the movies I hold dear, there was always at least one signature scene—a moment of truth—that really spoke to me. Sometimes, it exemplified the qualities I found elsewhere throughout a truly excellent movie. Sometimes, it was a standout instant in an otherwise forgettable feature that made a huge impression anyway. But all of them continue to inform me as a writer, and remind me of why I love storytelling in all its forms, but especially upon the screen of a darkened theatre.
So, what will follow here is a second crack at my big movie writing project. I have once again assembled a pretty big list of my favorite movies, in no particular order. I’ll be selecting from it at random, and writing up each entry with an eye to that special moment that immortalizes the movie to me. Some of these are widely recognized classics. Others are guilty pleasures. All are examples of why the movies are such a wondrous thing to me.
The curtain rises New Year’s Day. See you then!