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Monday, January 15, 2007


Listing stuff is one of internet culture's most preeminent pursuits, and I am no stranger to this pastime, certainly. Specifically I'm talking about pop culture ranking , in the realms of movies and music.

There seems to be two ways to do it: exhaustively, and exclusively.

The first can be time consuming (as one must catalog an entire collection, which might exist on shelves, in drawers, on book cases, in backpacks, etc., and might include upwards of hundreds or thousands of titles, to be bar-code-scanned or keyed in one-by-one), and subject to change whenever a new item is added to the library. But this method is objective, not requiring judgment by the list-maker, so for me at least, this can be done without much mental heavy-hitting.

Here's an example. I finished (just about I think) my DVD Aficionado collection, viewable here: http://www.dvdaficionado.com/dvds.html?cat=1&id=swiley

(Very cool website, by the way, and free too.)

The second type of list-creation, which usually happens at the end of the calendar, after certain anniversaries, or just whenever magazine editors feel like a "Special Issue" is due, is generally based on some arbitrary "round" number, making limiting one's selections an arduous process. You might see "Top 25 Nicaraguan Short Films Involving Jackalopes OF ALL TIME" as a film mag headline, for example.

Over the past few years I've done these just for fun, but as noted above, I find it hard to definitively choose a small set of anything and declare that these, above all others, represent my choice (heck, represent ME) in the annals of greatness.

This is an example to chew on. Way back in 2002 I signed up on a little site called YMDB, which polls users as to their top 20 movies. My blog post is still right here: http://swiley.blogspot.com/2002/12/as-promised-heres-link-to-my-top-20.html . Unfortunately, YMDB.com has gone belly-up (now the site redirects to IMDB.COM), however, there is an archive! Huzzah: http://www.shompy.com/steve-wiley/l1889_ukuk.html

Just in case, that site also bites the big one, here I will copy the list, so that it will be available forever and ever, amen (at least until Google, owner of Blogspot, is bankrupted by multi-trillion $ lawsuits from the MPAA/RIAA(/MAFIAA) for copyright infringements on Youtube):

1 Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
2 Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
3 Citizen Kane (1941)
4 Vertigo (1958)
5 The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
6 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
7 2001 : A Space Odyssey (1968)
8 Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
9 Schindler's List (1993)
10 Goodfellas (1990)
11 Intolerance (1916)
12 Rear window (1954)
13 Meeting People Is Easy (1999)
14 Office Space (1999)
15 Se7en (1995)
16 Duck Soup (1933)
17 The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
18 Out of Sight (1998)
19 Jaws (1975)
20 Patton (1970)

I think 1 through 5 are more-or-less permanent, but the rest is subject to change. I'll revise it someday.



Nice list! We should do some DVD swappage.


By Anonymous bedman, at January 15, 2007 7:58 PM  

Sounds good - I'm intrigued by Yellow Matter Custard - The Official Bootleg on your Owned list.

Let me know if you want to do the ol' swaparoo. The only caveat is that my owned list includes tons of stuff I haven't watched yet (I keep a spreadsheet of unwatched/partially watched discs - up to just over 50 titles 8-D )

By Blogger Steve, at January 16, 2007 5:18 PM  

Same here. I have lots of unwatched goods (some still in shrinkwrap). The YMC dvd is great. I was at the show but right behind the cameras so you never see me.

By Anonymous Brooks, at January 16, 2007 5:49 PM  

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