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David Poland

By David Poland

A Look At The Top Tens…

Only three films this year – United 93, The Queen, The Departed – got votes on more than half the Top Ten lists.
Only three films have an average vote – among films with at least 100 points – of over 7 points or an average vote between 3 and 4. They are Army of Shadows (7.722), The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (7.189), Three Times (7.05).
Seven of the Top Eleven average over 6 points per vote, led by United 93’s 6.649 average, then Dreamgirls’ 6.422, The Departed’s 6.328, Letters From Iwo Jima’s 6.275, Pan Lanyrinth’s 6.258, Children of Men’s 6.134, and Babel’s 6.056.
The low average title of the films with 100 points was Brick, with 3.147 points from each of its 34 votes.
The top documentary was An Inconvenient Truth, though the film had a surprisingly narrow lead of just 3 votes and 6.5 points over Deliver Us From Evil. The next two docs are well off the pace – Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, Neil Young: Heart of Gold – but at least they got more than 10 votes each. After that it thinned out a lot, as When The Levees Broke, followed by Iraq In Fragments, Dixie Chicks: Shut Up & Sing, 49 Up, and Heart of the Game hit the charts with fewer than 10 of 250 votes apiece.
The top 10 foreign language films are Pan’s Labyrinth, Letters From Iwo Jima, Volver, Army of Shadows, Death of Mr. Lazarescu, L’Enfant, Three Times, Apocalypto, Climates, and Battle in Heaven. All of them got at least 10 votes. So much for the ascension of the doc.
The English-language True Indies couldn’t crack the Top Ten, though ThinkFilm’s Half Nelson is in at #12. The next is First Look’s The Proposition at #20. Remarkably, David Lynch’s self-distributed Inland Empire is at #21. Kino International’s Old Joy is at #22.

The Rest…

27 Responses to “A Look At The Top Tens…”

  1. Wrecktum says:

    I always consider this the most indispensible thing you do every year, Poland. Congratulations on a job well done. Awesome, awesome work.

  2. Direwolf says:

    Does any one else find it interesting that Chidren of Men and Casino Royale, two action pictures, are generating a strong degree of grassroots support?
    Why you ask do I classify those two films together? Because both are low tech action films. Could it be that we as moviegoers like the more traditional action rather than the suped up special effects action that has become so common? For that matter, maybe it is digital effects that are beginning to bore us (unless they are truly different as in say, Pan’s Labyrinth).

  3. Drew says:

    I think CHILDREN OF MEN is a lot more high tech and dependent on digital trickery than you think it is.

  4. Direwolf says:

    Drew, every movie has high tech and digital trickery but Children of Men is nothing compared to recent fare such as Eragon or Night At The Museum, for example. Additionally, it ain’t X-Men or Superman either. ANd I’ve left all the CG Animation.
    I don’t doubt there are lots of tricks in CoM an average viewer like me knows nothing about but I wouldn’t exactly call it “whiz-bang” relative to lots of stuff that is out there these days.

  5. jeffmcm says:

    What’s ‘whiz-bang’ about Children of Men (and also Casino Royale) is that the CGI in them is meant to be invisible and unobtrusive, which is harder in many ways than making something obvious like Night at the Museum.

  6. iowabeef says:

    I think I am the only person who visits this site who wasn’t blown away by Children of Men. The only thing that was interesting to me was Cuaron’s use of random animals in almost every scene — deer, cats, dogs, a herd of sheep, a flying pig, etc — animals are everywhere. But overall, I’d only give the movie a B-

  7. Melquiades says:

    I agree that the most powerful digital effects are often the ones you’re absolutely unaware of.
    I remember reading that the bus crashing through the ice in The Sweet Hereafter was accomplished digitally. One of the most painful and moving moments in an extremely low-tech human drama was CGI.
    Children of Men uses visual effects in a similar way.

  8. Direwolf says:

    As long as we are talking about digital effects, you might find this article about Avatar interesting:

  9. Lota says:

    funny that Little Miss Sunshine gets such a low avg vote…I couldn;t dislike it, but I almost feel a slight resentment of all the trumpeting it’s getting. Maybe other voters are resentful too. I liked 93 better after I saw it a 2nd time.
    my favorite of the group is Army of Shadows, but I guess for awards in many arenas that movie won;t count; for the “moderns” I have been dithering which isn’t like me. Not blown enough by anything, even though Casino Royale and Borat were welcome surprises.
    it’s a useful enterprise to look at votes & values, thanks Dave

  10. David Poland says:

    Well, the funny thing about a “low” vote here is that it is still a Top 10 vote… and it is not neccessarily penalizing one title, so much as preferring another.

  11. If Letters from Iwo Jima was still being released this year I wonder what would have happened to Flags of our Fathers. Hmmm.
    Iowabeef, you and Dave!

  12. Crow T Robot says:

    Agreed with Wreck. Great work. The List is The Life.
    (But making a Top Eleven to fit in DreamGirls was classic Poland)

  13. jeffmcm says:

    A ‘low average’ vote is illustrative of a low-passion movie, and vice versa. So a lot of people wanted to put Brick and Little Miss Sunshine on their lists, but not a lot wanted to place them up top.

  14. anghus says:

    Is it me, or was the Iwo Jima buzz the fastest burnout ever?
    They scramble to release it, for about a week it was the movie to beat, now it’s practically an afterthought.

  15. Lota says:

    Mr Crow I’d say a Top Eleven is more reminiscent of SPinal Tap than Dave Poland, but whatever works to keep Dave happy & functioning is good.

  16. Joe Leydon says:

    Maybe When the Levees Broke would have scored higher on the charts if more critics hadn’t felt reluctant to list a doc that premiered on HBO.

  17. David Poland says:

    The Top Eleven had nothing to do with Dreamgirls… it had to do with which films had an average over 6.
    If you look at the numbers, the line on that part if logically drawn at Dreamgirls. The only movies with an average of over six points are either above it or has a lot fewer votes, starting with Lazerezcu. Was I supposed to leave Dreamgirls in the DMZ to make you less suspicious that there was some nefarious issue?
    If Half Nelson, at #12, had more than 6 points per vote, it would have been The Top 12.
    And again, J Mc, being anywhere on someone’s top ten is really not a show of low passion. I think as you get to movies like The Last King of Scotland, with 21 votes averaging 4.6, you can start to imagine that a bunch of people really liked the film, but it wasn’t their big favorite. Even if it had more voters picking it, there was little chance for it to make the Top 15. Inversely, Joe is right… When The Levees Broke has a huge per vote average and had more people considered it, it could have leapt much higher.
    Of course, what seems possible versus what is… always interesting discussion.

  18. Joe Leydon says:

    When the Levees Broke AND Inside Man in the same year. Wow. When was the last time a director had a year like that?

  19. Cadavra says:

    How about Eastwood this year? No? Soderbergh in 2000 with TRAFFIC and BROCKOVICH? Spielberg in 1993 with JURASSIC and SCHINDLER? Fleming in 1939 with GONE WITH THE WIND and WIZARD OF OZ? Okay, now I’m just grasping at straws… :-)

  20. jeffmcm says:

    How about Spielberg last year with War of the Worlds and Munich? Or ’02 with Catch Me and Minority Report?
    DP, if one movie is at the bottom of five lists, and one movie is at the top of five lists…which one are people more passionate about? In comparison to each other, of course. Obviously, people are more passionate about both of those titles than something off the chart…but we’re not talking about those titles.

  21. David Poland says:

    Well, the movies on top of the chart are often voted for and high on lists.
    It just seems to me that discounting passion is unfair. The guy who have a film a #1 slot is more passionate than Mr #10. But I don’t think any of the films with 100 points don’t have at least one #1 or #2 vote on their list. So someone is passionate.
    My personal sense of it is that movies rise on this chart in part by mainstream concensus and partially by passion. If as many people saw 51 Birch St as saw An Inconvenient Truth, who knows where the former – with just 2 votes – would be?
    But I certainly would hate to be arguing passion when professional critics, seeing more than 150 movies a year, picked 10 and somehow, being in that 10 had to be parsed in some way that diminishes any of the films the bothered to embrace out of so many options.

  22. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t understand what we’re discussing – you mentioned the statistics about high and low average votes above a certain threshold – don’t you agree that more since Brick was voted for by more people than A Scanner Darkly, but they’re right next to each other on the list, that therefore more people were more passionate about Scanner?

  23. Joe Leydon says:

    Cadavra: Well, if you’re going to go that far back, how about John Ford with Stagecoach, Young Mr. Lincoln and Drums Along the Mohawk in 1939?

  24. Cadavra says:

    Right on, Joe. And the following year he did GRAPES OF WRATH and LONG VOYAGE HOME, followed in ’41 by HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY and TOBACCO ROAD. Talk about a hot streak!

  25. Lota says:

    most people don;t realize that John Ford at times didn;t have much to work with and often had to make 5 movies in a 12 month period. Most modern directors couldn;t and wouldn’t do what he did.
    I think I’ll take Fritz Lang in 1944, and Julien Duvivier in 1937 and Roger Corman in ’63!
    forget Spielberg in 2002 Jeff. He f*cked up Minority report but good at the ending.

  26. jeffmcm says:

    No he didn’t.
    Of course we’re all forgetting Coppola in 1974, and on a somewhat lower level, Zemeckis in 2000.

  27. The following directors had two films this year:
    Steven Soderbergh
    Zhang Yimou
    Spike Lee
    Richard Linklater
    Clint Eastwood
    Michel Gondry
    Michael Winterbottom
    Unless I’m forgetting some…

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