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Home > Media

Journojism: Film lists becoming wearisome shocker

8 October 2004

Get Carter is the best British film ever made, according to film critics who compiled a top ten list for a film magazine. So now you know. Are you better off? Happier? Healthier? Wealthier?

No.

You are fucking not.

This might seem a slight overreaction to another harmless film list. Unquestionably, Get Carter is a brilliant film: exciting, gritty and chilling ('Got a thing about birds with no faces, Jack?'). And, of course, endlessly quotable. But we're getting a tad heartily sick and tired of meaningless lists.

All that lists really prove is that a certain number of people share similar tastes. Despite this extremely limited remit, most lists are usually bollocks anyway, and this one was no exception.

The Long Good Friday is probably as good as Get Carter, but didn't even get a mention in the latest top ten. Nor did Withnail and I, which is probably one of the most original and unique films ever made. What *did* scrape in at number ten was Mike Leigh's implausible and pretentious film Naked, in which even the stereotypes look dated, which is quite an anti-achievement.

But what really annoys us about film lists is the overkill. You might recall that just months ago an American 'best film ever' list revealed that Star Wars was the favourite film of millions of Americans. Maybe that's because Star Wars was extremely popular, very good for what it was (ie. a big space adventure) and because the average American doesn't go to the cinema to watch Battleship Potemkin. (If there's anyone out there who's got the time and the inclination to write in and highlight the obvious superiority of The Empire Strikes Back, please don't bother. You only get one life.)

Just for once we'd like to see the editors of magazines do something more interesting than commission dreary lists to get a brief name-check in the nationals. Anything. If you want a bit of flimsy film-related publicity, buy a baby off the Internet and christen it Darth Vader. Get a Russell Crowe lookalike to fight a tiger at London Zoo. Fuck it, it doesn't even have to be a real
tiger - just someone dressed as a tiger. Get Carl Howman to re- enact Stardust with sock puppets. Anything. Just no more lists.

Failing that, list compilers need to come up with more interesting ideas for film lists. TFT suggests:

- The top ten most forgettable British films. Here's a list that really will spark exciting pub debates! What was shitter, Brassed Off or Carry on Emmanuelle? Confessions of a Window Cleaner or that film with the alien ping-pong balls by the Children's FilmFoundation? Love, Actually or Snatch - two films that are both exquisitely forgettable in their own special ways?

- The top ten grimmest British films. Scum or Kes? Made in Britain or Get Carter? Raining Stones or Mona Lisa? What's grimmer? Anal rape in a greenhouse or the death of your favourite bird of prey? Is bleak 1970s racism grimmer than 1970s Doncaster? Is unrequited love for a lesbian prostitute more upsetting than being the victim of a brutal loan shark? These are important questions from the world of grim cinema that need to be addressed.

- The top ten least erotic British films. Threads or The War Game? Come on, let's get the debate started!



Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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