I'm in a list-making mood, but I've run dry with my usual subjects. I'm still several films short of being able to write up my Top Ten list for 2015 - it's not happening before I see "Son of Saul," dammit. I spent a good chunk of yesterday trying to remember specific episodes of "News Radio" and "That '70s Show" for a TV Top Ten to no avail. The timing's not right for other recurring features I've done before either. I strongly considered writing a fake "Great Directors" post for Michael Bay for April Fools, but he doesn't actually fit my criteria for one of those posts, and I decided I really didn't want to spend the time and effort writing nice things about Michael Bay, even for a joke.
So, I've decided to create a new feature. I've been spending a lot of time watching classic films lately for other "Great Directors" posts, and there's been a nice little lull in the current media schedule. So I'm going to take the time to start looking backwards. I started this blog in 2010 and have written Top Ten lists every year, starting with the films of 2009. So taking a page from Filmspotting and other movie discussion outlets, I'm going to start making lists for the previous years that I never got to talk about, starting with 2008 and moving backwards. These retro Top Ten posts will follow the same format as the current ones, except with no "plus one" spot. I expect I may also reduce the number or simply remove the "Honorable Mention" section for certain years.
Now I want to do this right, so I'm imposing some restrictions on myself in the name of quality control. The first and most important rule will be that I can't write a list for a year where I haven't seen at least fifty films. That will ensure that the Top Ten will reflect the top 20% of titles I've viewed at a minimum, and that I've seen a decently wide range of movies instead of just the mainstream hits. I don't expect that this will be an issue until I hit the '80s. For instance, I couldn't write a list for 1978 right now, because I've only seen about twenty-five 1978 films. However, if I post these lists every month or two, I should have plenty of time to close the gap. This will also act as an incentive for me to keep watching older films.
Non-binding rules are that I'll also need to have seen all the Best Picture nominees for that year, and the top five films from that year's box office. I know that these are not good indicators of quality, but what I'm after is seeing a good representative sample of movies from every year. I will definitely bend the rules where I feel it is appropriate due to the availability of some titles, and the fact that obvious dreck like "Karate Kid Part II" and "Lethal Weapon 3" made ridiculous amounts of money. Also, there's the whole "Behind the Green Door" situation I'd rather avoid.
With these limitations in place, I know it will become very difficult to keep this series going after a certain point, especially if I'm committed to writing the lists in order. The earlier the year, the fewer films I've seen. However, I'm very curious to see how far back I can go and feasibly write these lists, and what films I'll discover by doing this. I didn't think that my "Great Directors" posts would be sustainable over the long run either, and now I'm up to nearly fifty entries. You never know.
I'll be using this post to catalogue all my yearly Top Ten lists, including the ones that I've already written. My Top Ten of 2008 will be on its way soon.