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misswonderly3
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People love lists. It's part of human nature, I think. Everyone makes lists about everything - grocery shopping lists, "to do" lists, lists of all the sports we've ever played or places we've ever been, and on and on.

 

A big favourite is lists about movies or music. These forums are rife with lists, most pertaining to movies one way or another. That's great, it's fun to share lists about movies with other movie-lovers.

 

Thing is, though, it usually stops at that. The list. Someone will start a thread here titled, say "Actresses with the Frizziest Hair", and away we'll go, with lists of ladies in movies with flyaway tresses. But all you'll see is a list. Literally. Nothing about the frizzy-haired actresses, or the films they were in, or if there's some reason why the make-up/hair people wanted them to look that way, or whatever.

 

Ok, that's a dumb example. I was just being silly.

A better example would be a list about people's favourite - or least-favourite - comedies (just for instance.) Again, everyone will take the time to think about some of their most beloved (or most disliked) comedy movies, and that's it.

 

It's not interesting. What's interesting is why a person loves or hates a particular comedy (or actor, or song or whatever the list is about.) We can all type up a bunch of movie titles. I can read someone's list about "Best films of 1936" (picked that at random), but it doesn't tell me anything unless the person goes into a little detail as to why they chose the 1936 films they did.

 

I say, when we do "list" threads, let's take a minute and add at least a phrase or two to our picks to talk about the reasons we chose whatever we've put on the list.

Otherwise, it's not much more fun than reading someone's shopping list.

(hey, by the way, what's a "laundry list"? Everybody does their own laundry these days, and why would you need a "list" anyway?

eg, 3 pairs underpants, 6 pairs socks, (3 grey, 3 white), 4 T-shirts...not very exciting, and not really necessary. But I digress.)

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misswonderly,

 

EXACTLY my sentiments,.and why I usually dont particiate in those threads, unless I have the time to give my reasons, which I usually dont. A list of titles and niothng more tells me next.to nothing. If I see that is the thrust of a thread, I stop going into it to read the posts, much less participate in it.

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I have to plead guilty as charged in many cases. In those "underrated" decades listings, I gave summaries and reasoning for my top 10 of each decade, but for individual years I just went with the list. I think for many of us it's a matter of simply not having the time, plus there's the fact that often I find that there's little response to lists supported by reasoning, especially if the movie is one that relatively few people have seen. I'd love to have people discuss the merits (or lack of them) of movies like Angi Vera or Scars of Womanhood or The Blue Kite, but I talk to myself too much as it is. ;)

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I am a very analytical person and have a degree in television and film critical studies-- so it is easy for me to go on about why a film works or doesn't work for me. In the past, I created a thread where I posted my own reviews of classic films (nearly 200 of them). And usually when there is a thread about a film, like we saw recently with A LETTER TO THREE WIVES, I often go into detail with my posting about the film up for discussion.

 

When it comes to the lists, I think I am entitled to be more sparse with my commentary. I cannot speak for others, but I do not intend the lists to be accompanied by excessive wordiness. And actually, the goal of this thread, suggesting that lists should have more substantial wordiness and explanation, is like in reverse, if I were to make a new thread and call it 'About These Overly Philosophical Musings' which seem nutty in my humble opinion.

 

Again, my lists are meant to be brief and to the point. However, and I think most people will know who follow my posting style, this is probably just a foundation that I am laying for future discussion. When EVE'S BAYOU gets its eventual premiere on TCM (even if it's five years from now), you can bet I will pull that old thread out of the archives and discuss why it made the number 3 spot on my list for 1997. So I reserve the right to add more commentary later when the opportunity presents itself. But to ask me or expect me to provide the commentary now, when I have provided countless commentaries in other threads in the past, is really getting a little too mother hen-ish and controlling.

 

If you do not like the lists, stay out of those threads. It is as simple as that. Or set an example about how you think a list should be presented. But whining and complaining and starting a thread that is going to probably be divisive is the wrong tactic in my view.

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C'mon now, MissW! Don't you know that it's deep in the human soul (and seemingly particularly strong in the American mindset) AND apparently becoming more and MORE accepted social practice to now simply state that one either loves OR hates something in the world and without presenting into the evidence WHY they hold such of an opinion. And then when questioned about it, they can simply state something such as, "Well, that JUST the way I 'feel' about it, and I have the 'right' to my opinion and I DON'T have to 'prove' to you why I feel this way!

 

C'mon, you DO know this, don't ya?!

 

(...why, I thought this was all "common knowledge", and even for you Canucks up there!!!) ;)

 

LOL

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In a music forum I belong to, we deal with lists all the time. Mostly though, it's the lists compiled from another source, such as, "Rolling Stone's list of the 10 greatest guitar solos", which is usually the kind of list you don't like. Each member of the forum will chime in with what they agree or disagree with about the list, so there's that. But whenever we decide to compile our own list, it usually comes with short, concise explanations of WHY we like a particular solo, song or piece of music.

 

But the thing we in THAT forum try to avoid is opening the doors for people to "bloviate" on and on in an air of "psuedo-expertise" and turn a simple reply to a question in a thread into an hour's read. A lot of that happens here. This is one factor that turns most threads of that nature into a barroom brawl of sorts, and detracts from the intended topic. A lot of THAT happens here, too.

 

But perhaps what might help is the next time someone starts a "frizziest hair" thread, they title it, "Frizziest hair, and why?"

 

Sepiatone

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Heavens to Murgatroyd ! How you could in any way construe this thread topic as negative or divisive is beyond my comprehension. I do believe you were taking it personally, as some kind of covert "dig" at all your threads listing movies.

Absolutely not so, TB. I was not thinking specifically of you, or what you do here, or in fact any one person in particular. I was thinking in terms of a trend I've noticed here. There are a myriad of threads here, past and present, with some kind of list as their topic. You are far from unique in this regard. I assure you I was not "targeting" you in any way.

 

Your gentle, subtle insult - the suggestion that I indulge, or want others to indulge in "Overly Philosophical Musings" - does not in fact insult me at all, because I enjoy "philosophical musings" about movies and music, and thought such musings were one of the reasons we come to these boards.

 

>to ask me or expect me to provide the commentary now, when I have provided countless commentaries in other threads in the past, is really getting a little too mother hen-ish and controlling.

 

But I am not asking you to do anything. The thread is not about you. You're right, if I'm bored by a thread that does nothing but list things, I can stay away from it.

But I am not trying to "control" such threads. I'm just suggesting that it's more fun to talk about the reasons why one likes or dislikes something (movie, music, film director, whatever) than simply to put it on a list without further comment.

It does not have to be "wordy". But using words judiciously to praise or criticize something we all love and have an interest in here is hardly being overly prolix ( hey,anyone remember the recurring use of the word "prolix" in Catch 22 ?)

 

And at the risk of over-explaining myself right here, I will repeat, I did not have you or any other particular poster in mind when I started this thread.

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>the thing we in THAT forum try to avoid is opening the doors for people to "bloviate" on and on in an air of "psuedo-expertise" and turn a simple reply to a question in a thread into an hour's read. A lot of that happens here.

 

EXACTLY, and I think that is a bit of a problem around here quite frankly. I've been guilty of it, and that is why I think the lists are a refreshing change from some of that.

 

Also, sometimes it is fun to read another person's list and try to guess or figure out why they rated something so high or so low. It gives you a window into the people you post with on a daily basis.

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Dargo, as you often do, you said what I was about to say but in your own unique style.

 

I do believe many people just don't wish to 'get into the details' because they are either unskilled at explaining themselves or feel that by doing so, they are exposing themselves to attack (and the latter is often true to some degree depending on how thick one's skin is).

 

But I would rather have an interesting exchange, even if it gets a little heated, then a boring one.

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Also, sometimes it is fun to read another person's list and try to guess or figure out why they rated something so high or so low. It gives you a window into the people you post with on a daily basis.

 

I think that this works best on "list threads" like the ones you started about the various decades, since over the course of time on threads like those it's not hard to tell where a person's taste is centered. It's not too difficult, for instance, to look at my noir / foreign / "realistic" dominated lists, and figure out that I look for much different things in a movie than someone whose top 10 lists include lots of musicals, westerns, "adventure", and fantasy films. The more years a person includes his or her lists, the easier it is to make these sorts of inferences, and also to get an appreciation for the wide variety of tastes that bring themselves onto these forums.

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Thanks, James.

 

I guess what particularly grates on me is whenever someone makes a hard-line and definitive statement about their "loves" and "hates" on a subject, but THEN, as you suggested, don't have the...well...BALLS(let alone the idea of them possibly being "unskilled") to even ATTEMPT to back-up their most cherished and heartfelt "opinions".

 

(...yep, doesn't that sort of thing kind'a "grate" on you TOO?!) ;)

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In one of my recent lists, I am ranking MONSTERS INC. right up there with GOSFORD PARK. What does that say about me?!

 

I did create a separate thread which others have added to, called 'Is It Really a Classic?' which was meant to be what misswonderly wants-- a more detailed look at the criteria that shape lists. What makes us like or dislike what we do, etc.?

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> Poor old Phil. Totally bonkers by this time. Guess he wigged out.

 

 

HaHa! Must've hit his HEAD against his "wall of sound" too many times!

 

OK, back to business. Here's another consideration.

 

Some people may not even KNOW why they like or dislike a particular thing or person, movie or whatever.

 

My wife doesn't like DEBBY REYNOLDS. Why? I don't know. Ask her, and she just says, "I just don't LIKE her!"

 

Or, they simply don't have a SENSIBLE reason. My wife again, didn't like JANIS JOPLIN. Why? Was it her singing voice? The type of songs she sang? Her drinking and doping? Nope.

 

"She was ugly".

 

Yep. If a girl ain't pretty, or a guy ain't handsome, they don't count no matter HOW much talent they have.

 

So, in some cases, people NOT saying why they do or don't like something or somebody might be a GOOD thing!

 

Sepiatone

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Lists are only good as an icebreaker, just to stimulate conversation. So I agree, MissW, if you don't offer up a little something to back up your choices it goes "nowhere mighty fast" (now where did I hear that little phrase?). And of course your reasons are just your opinions, there is no right or wrong here. --- I remember, many years ago, David Letterman tried to stop doing his nightly "top 10" lists and he got hammered by his viewers. And he relented. So people do like lists a lot. I think Letterman will have to have a "top 10" list on his tombstone when that time comes. :D

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Hm, let's go with this for a minute.

 

List of actresses Mrs. Sepiatone doesn't like: For instance:

 

Debbie Reynolds

 

Why dislike:

She can be kind of irritating, sort of self-consciously cute. She was in a couple of wretched movies, both so-called "epics"( a genre of film I generally intensely dislike, but that's for another list...) to wit, *How the West was Won* and *The Unsinkable Molly Brown*. Nobody could be blamed for disliking her if they sat through either of these clunkers.

And oh dear, then there's *Susan Slept Here*. Say no more.

 

Or, why like:

She was often perceived as a likable, down to earth, "girl next door" type, not putting on "airs" (an out-of-date but fun expression.)

She was pretty (that should count for something in your wife's book.)

She was in a lot of great movies, including, of course, *Singin' in the Rain*, where she gave a thoroughly enjoyable comic performance. Plus her singing ain't bad, either.

She also was game to try roles quite different from her "image", such a *The Catered Affair*, where she held her own with the great Bette Davis.

 

There ya go. Relatively succinct, no "bloviating", and a few simple phrases, explaining why one would like Debbie Reynolds. Or not.

 

That's all I'm talking about. It just makes for more engaging reading than just a list of her movies that one liked (or disliked.)

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In one of my recent lists, I am ranking MONSTERS INC. right up there with GOSFORD PARK. What does that say about me?!

 

Well, obviously it makes you a corporate monster! ;)

 

But more seriously, I don't think that we can tell much from a person's like or dislike of one or two particular movies. But I do think that it's not hard to tell from three decades worth of lists (that's 30 lists and 300 movies) that Jake, and you, and I are coming from three fairly distinctive places when it comes to the sort of movies we consistently seem to favor. Nothing judgmental about that, just observational. :)

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One can also learn something about an individual's taste by what they do NOT include in their list. e.g. in a ranking of top 10 movies I wouldn't have Gone With The Wind.

 

Overall a simple listing doesn't tell us much unless we have multiple listing about various subjects. But even this is limited it communicating insight.

 

One thing I have found interesting is comparing someone favorite actoractress listing to their favorite movies listing. To me it is odd when there isn't a lot of overlap. But I have found myself doing this also. e.g. Veronica Lake isn't in my top actress listing but the 3 noirs she made with Ladd are some of my favorite movies.

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>One thing I have found interesting is comparing someone favorite actoractress listing to their favorite movies listing. To me it is odd when there isn't a lot of overlap. But I have found myself doing this also. e.g. Veronica Lake isn't in my top actress listing but the 3 noirs she made with Ladd are some of my favorite movies.

 

I think that is interesting. Consistency is important.

 

I remember last year sometime there was a thread about 70s horror films, and I think the 70s had some of the best horror pictures ever. When we reached that decade in the Underrated 60s & 70s thread, I knew I had to go back and look at what I had posted-- I really do love those films and if they did not make my lists, even as honorable mentions, then I would not have been consistent and my recommendations would be essentially worthless. So I think a person does have to be consistent, or else explain why their tastes have changed/evolved.

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>The lists make it easier to recommend certain movies to certain people. If you like X, try Y. I've recorded any number of films from recommendations here.

 

I agree. When we were doing the Underrated lists, originally I was not posting pictures-- but halfway through, I started posting one picture at the top of my list. It had to be an image from one of the films on my list-- and usually it was what I call my 'agenda film.' The film that I want to push or promote, the one where my agenda is to get others to seek it out and watch it. For 1997, I did not post a pic of TITANIC, because everyone has probably seen it-- but I did post a pic of EVE'S BAYOU instead, because I think it is a very enriching film and hopefully it will help create a bit more appreciation of Diahann Carroll who is simply astonishing in her role as a voodoo woman.

 

So for me, a list is a gateway into exploration or rediscovery.

 

imgres5.jpg

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I want to be sure people don't think that I dislike lists, or am "against" them in some way. Quite the opposite.

Lists are fun. As several people here have said, they give others an indication of what a person likes, whatever the list is about. And it seems to be in our nature to enjoy making them and sharing them.

 

So I would be disappointed if people took this as a "negative" thread of some kind.

I was just noting that a list on its own does not tell me a lot about the poster's ideas and opinions about the films (or actors or music etc.) they've put on their list. It tells me a little, but not enough for me to know what they were thinking when they made up their list.

 

Doesn't even have to be a sentence (there, see? ) So endless "showing off" of what they feel they know about the topic of the list is not something I was suggesting. Point form would do fine.

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I was just noting that a list on its own does not tell me a lot about the poster's ideas and opinions about the films (or actors or music etc.) they've put on their list. It tells me a little, but not enough for me to know what they were thinking when they made up their list.

 

Here are five different "top 10" lists from 1964, all taken from the "Underrated Sixties" thread. I'm not sure you can't tell a fair amount about what these five people look for in a movie, even without any commentary. You can also tell quite a bit from the omissions.

 

Goldfinger

A Hard Day's Night

Becket

A Fistful of Dollars

The Three Lives of Thomasina

Viva Las Vegas

Father Goose

From Russia with Love

 

1. Zorba the Greek

2. The Train

3. Dr. Strangelove

4. The Pumpkin Eater

5. The Seventh Dawn

6. Nothing But the Best

7. Seance on a Wet Afternoon

8. Seven Days in May

9. Zulu

10. The Night of the Iguana

 

Mary Poppins

My Fair Lady

The World of Henry Orient

Good Neighbor Sam

The Three Lives of Thomasina

The Yellow Rolls-Royce

Dear Heart

The Americanization of Emily

Marnie

Father Goose

 

1. Nothing But a Man

2. One Potato, Two Potato

3. Band of Outsiders

4. Dead Ringer

5. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

6. My Fair Lady

7. Where Love Has Gone

8. Diary of a Chambermaid

9. The Naked Kiss

10. Fate Is the Hunter

 

1. TOPKAPI

2. MARY POPPINS

3. BECKET

4. THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA

5. THE AMERICANIZATION OF EMILY

6. RIO CONCHOS

7. THE PAWNBROKER

8. THE TRAIN

9. THE BEST MAN

10. THE VISIT

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