Sunday, November 21, 2010

Top 20 after B

In a continuing project that means a lot more to me than to my readership at large, I thought I'd update you on where I stand with reloading my movies into Flickchart. It's a fun rabbit hole to lose myself in, for me if not for you. But since you probably don't enjoy gazing at my navel as much as I do, I'll try to keep this post short.

To recap where we stand, I'm doing a test to see which version of my Flickchart self is going to become the primary one -- the one with over 94,000 duels that was built off of random dueling, or the one with just over 3,000 duels that's the result of systematically re-adding all my films, according to the new precision-ranking system that's the centerpiece of the site's recent upgrade. I've been going alphabetically, adding my movies one by one, and watching them duel until they land in the exact spot between a movie that's better and a movie that's worse. This should theoretically produce the most accurate possible rankings a person can have, after which only minor tweaking will be needed.

Why should minor tweaking be needed at all? Well, I've decided that even this supposedly perfect system isn't perfect. Why? Because the transitive property on which it is built might not always be 100% reliable. For example, if you like Movie A better than Movie B, and Movie B better than Movie C, you should always like Movie A better than Movie C, right? Oddly enough, no. And that's because the differences between certain films is so minor, so arbitrary, that you might easily prefer one at 3 o'clock on a Friday afternoon, but another at 4 o'clock. And that's the delicious variable about the whole thing -- how can you quantify the difference between the 1352nd film on your list and the 1353rd? They could easily flip-flop -- and not only could #1353 be #1352, but it might also be capable of being #1252, based purely on your mood at the time. This is a happy realization, because it means that once I have reloaded all 3,100+ movies on my list, I'll still have the need for the random dueling that was the bread and butter of my previous Flickchart existence.

Okay, enough Flickchart theory for now. Let's show you my new top 20 after the Bs have all been loaded -- it was 256 when I started, but 258 now that I've watched Ben-Hur and Blackboard Jungle this week. Note: Until I've made the determination which Flickchart profile will become the dominant one, which is many weeks if not months off, I will continue listing the old profile's top 20 in the column to the right.

Here we go:

1) Back to the Future
2) The Bicycle Thief
3) Bound
4) Big
5) Almost Famous
6) Adaptation
7) Airplane!
8) All About Eve
9) Blade Runner
10) Apocalypse Now
11) Before Sunrise
12) Bonnie and Clyde
13) All the President's Men
14) Agora
15) Apollo 13
16) Beauty and the Beast
17) Bram Stoker's Dracula
18) Annie Hall
19) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
20) Boyz 'N the Hood

So four movies among the Bs beat the best A movie, which makes a certain sense given that I've seen 258 movies starting with the letter B and nearly a hundred fewer (160) starting with A. Back to the Future could be a strong contender for #1 overall even after I've gone through the rest of the letters -- probably not, but it's that good. So it may successfully fight off all the Cs, though there will be some interesting duels with the likes of Children of Men and Citizen Kane.

Other notes:

- The Bicycle Thief is of course wonderful, but it could be one of those films that I am supporting more intellectually because I know how great it is, than passionately based on my own cinematic history. Still, this reminds me that I've only seen it once and need to see it again.

- Bound is the Wachowski brothers' best movie, which I wrote about here. Yes, I know they directed The Matrix.

- Bram Stoker's Dracula could be getting too much love here, but it's still one of my favorite pieces of art direction in any film I've ever seen.

Okay, I'll let you go. I will probably not do this after every new letter, especially because some have very few titles (Q = 11, X = 5).

Then again, I may not be able to help myself. Navel-gazing is fun.


Mike Lippert said...

I spent an afternoon on this site because of your first post about it and knew after a couple hours I could never return. You certainly must see the Bicycle Theif again though, it is a masterpiece. Good call on Bound as well.

Vancetastic said...

So Mike, there are two possible reasons you knew you could never return to Flickchart:

1) You aren't much into ranking -- it's a too absolute way to measure the worth of a thing so wonderfully inexact as your affection for movies.

2) You knew it would be way too addictive and would suck up all your time.

Which is it?

I love Love LOVE Bound. That's one I need to own.