Thursday, December 31, 2009

Critical Consensus, 2000-2008: Draft One

Too many lists at this time of year, I know. Some folks react the way I do to the Oscars - "I thought this was art! We have to make it into a competition?" Yech.

But for me, list-making isn't that sort of thing at all. It's oblation. Taking up the elements, the stones on the beach, "lifting them into our history" one at a time, considering them, "Behold - it is good!", offering them up.

It's in that spirit I offer this list. A compilation of the films that were most celebrated by critics at the end of each of the past nine years. (I'll add 2009 when it comes out of the oven - think of it as dessert! But it's not quite done yet...)

For 2003 to the present, I'm using the Movie City News tabulation of critics' year-end Top Ten lists. For 2000, the list that Alex Fung compiled. I'm afraid the data for 2001 is pretty shaky, my own tabulation of only 11 lists. 2002 is better, incorporating 36 lists. But neither of those compares to the MCN or Fung tallies: for example, the 2008 list compiled the top ten selections of 286 different critics. Perhaps by the time I'm ready to add 2009 to this feast, I can come up with more complete data for 2001-2002, especially the former. (Alex Fung, where are you?...) We'll see.

Though in a way it doesn't matter all that much. If this were a contest, consistent methodology and impeccably fair "scoring" would be essential. But all I'm looking to do is remember some terrific movies, and add a few forgotten titles to my Videomatica queue. In that spirit...

Here they are, sorted by how large a share of mentions each film grabbed in its respective year. In a few instances films showed up two successive years - always non-American films, with peculiar release patterns - so I added their percentages for the two years: those ones I'll asterisk. (I won't bore you with the way I derived the percentages, but if anybody's interested, post a note and I'll fill you in.)

Critics' Top Films, 2000-2008
tentative first draft

1. No Country For Old Men (2007, #1) 10.92%
2. Sideways (2004, #1) 10.55%
3. Lost In Translation (2003, #1) 9.84%
4. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000, #1) 9.49%
5. Brokeback Mountain (2005, #1) 9.33%
6. Lord Of The Rings: Return of the King (2003, #2) 8.94%
7. Wall-E (2008, #1) 8.76%
8. Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001, #1) 8.58%
9. Far From Heaven (2002, #1) 8.41%
10. United 93 (2006, #1) 8.22%

11. Mulholland Drive (2001, #2) 8.16%
12. Queen, The (2006, #2) 7.94%
13. Departed, The (2006, #3) 7.76%
14. History of Violence (2005, #2) 7.70%
15. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004, #2) 7.67%
16. Dark Knight (2008, #2) 7.56%
17. Y Tu Mama Tambien (2002, #2) 7.31%
18. Slumdog Millionaire (2008, #3) 7.22%
19. Mystic River (2003, #3) 7.09%
20. Million Dollar Baby (2004, #3) 6.97%

21. American Splendor (2003, #4) 6.75%
22. Talk To Her (2002, #3) 6.70%
23. Adaptation (2002, #4) 6.52%
24. Moulin Rouge (2001, #3) 6.47%
25. There Will Be Blood (2007, #2) 6.43%
26. Milk (2008, #4) 6.35%
27. Capote (2005, #3) 6.34%
28. You Can Count On Me (2000, #2) 6.28%
29. Finding Nemo (2003, #5) 6.22%
30. In The Bedroom (2001, #4) 6.19%

31. Aviator, The (2004, #4) 6.11%
32. About Schmidt (2002, #5) 6.00%
33. Black Hawk Down (2001, #5) 5.63%
34. Royal Tenenbaums (2001, #6) 5.49%
35. Traffic (2000, #3) 5.39%
36. Zodiac (2007, #3) 5.31%
37. Before Sunset (2004, #5) 5.26%
38. Almost Famous (2000, #4) 5.18%
39. Letters From Iwo Jima (2006, #4) 5.11%
40. Pan's Labyrinth (2006, #5) 5.10%

41. The Wrestler (2008, #5) 5.06%
42. The Diving Bell & The Butterfly (2007, #4) 5.04%
43. Incredibles (2004, #6) 4.94%
44. Punch-Drunk Love (2002, #6) 4.94%
45. Spirited Away (2002, #7) 4.56%
46. Lord Of The Rings: Two Towers (2002, #8) 4.54%
47. Once (2007, #5) 4.49%
48. Borat (2006, #6) 4.44%
49. Good Night and Good Luck (2005, #4) 4.28%
50. Juno (2007, #6) 4.26%

51. Squid & The Whale, The (2005, #5) 4.24%
52. Crash (2005, #6) 4.22%
53. King Kong (2005, #7) 4.16%
54. Little Miss Sunshine (2006, #7) 4.12%
55. In America (2003, #6) 4.08%
56. Waking Life (2001, #7) 4.08%
57. 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days (2007/2008, #12/29) 4.04% *
58. Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008, #6) 4.03%
59. Wonder Boys (2000, #5) 3.97%
60. Dancer In The Dark (2000, #6) 3.94%

61. In The Mood For Love (2000/2001, #29/13) 3.92% *
62. Munich (2005, #8) 3.87%
63. Atonement (2007, #7) 3.81%
64. Shrek (2001, #8) 3.80%
65. Capturing the Friedmans (2003, #7) 3.79%
66. Master and Commander (2003, #8) 3.71%
67. Into The Wild (2007, #8) 3.67%
68. Gangs of New York (2002, #9) 3.63%
69. Yi Yi (A One And A Two...) (2000/2001, # 7/40) 3.63% *
70. Kinsey (2004, #7) 3.48%

71. City Of God (2002/2003, # 46/11) 3.46% *
72. Happy-Go-Lucky (2008, #7) 3.44%
73. Rachel Getting Married (2008, #7) 3.44%
74. Grizzly Man (2005, #9) 3.43%
75. Babel (2006, #8) 3.42%
76. Erin Brockovich (2000, #8) 3.40%
77. Ratatouille (2007, #9) 3.38%
78. Little Children (2006, #9) 3.27%
79. Requiem For A Dream (2000, #9) 3.24%
80. Pianist, The (2002, #10) 3.24%

81. A.I. (2001, #9) 3.23%
82. Man On Wire (2008, #9) 3.23%
83. Frost/Nixon (2008, #10) 3.18%
84. Let The Right One In (2008, #11) 3.16%
85. Away From Her (2007, #10) 3.08%
86. Children Of Men (2006, #10) 3.08%
87. Assassination of Jesse James (2007, #11) 3.00%
88. 21 Grams (2003, #9) 2.98%
89. Ghost World (2001, # 10) 2.95%
90. Kill Bill 1 (2003, #10) 2.94%

91. Sweeney Todd (2007, #13) 2.93%
92. Dreamgirls (2006, #11) 2.93%
93. Half Nelson (2006, #12) 2.93%
94. Hotel Rwanda (2004, #8) 2.93%
95. Chicken Run (2000, #10) 2.91%
96. I'm Not There (2007, #14) 2.91%
97. House Of the Flying Daggers (2004, #9) 2.90%
98. Gladiator (2000, #11) 2.85%
99. Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004, # 10) 2.82%
100. 2046 (2005, #10) 2.82%

*

At Dan's request, the photo credits

The Return of the King
Mulholland Drive
You Can Count On Me
Pan's Labyrinth
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Dancer in the Dark
Into the Wild
Little Children
The Assassination of Jesse James
I'm Not There

4 comments:

Dan Amos said...

Some of these screenshots I don't recognize, but are very compelling. Could you label them?

Oh, and really awesome list. This is clearly what Excel was invented for :)

Ron Reed said...

Done. At the bottom of the post.

Yes, Excel is a Fun Machine. Too bad it got co-opted into making budgets and cashflow projections...

kc said...

ah Ron, your sweet obsessions--sweet at least for the rest of us.
Once again would love to have your excel sheet to play with!

Ron Reed said...

You bet, kansas city. I'll email it to you. Though it'll be cooler in about two weeks, once I add 2009 and maybe even beef up 2001/2002. But I'll send you this one for now. And anybody else who'd like a copy, happy to pass it along, as always.