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I Could Never Pick a Favorite Film: And Here It Is

Saturday July 31, 2021

For years I have toiled under the illusion that I have no favorite film. People would ask me what was my favorite film, and I’d hem and haw, and it was frustrating to never have a good answer.

Recently, I was sorting my favorite foods and thought, “I should do this with film.”

The Good News

I found out I have a favorite film! That’s a really neat feeling.

The Bad News

I wasted a LOT of time thinking I did not have a single favorite film.

Turns out, all I had to do was this:

  • List my favorites
  • Compare them with their neighbors in the list
  • Move them up or down

So, what I thought I was looking for was “a single favorite”.

But what I should have been looking for was “a list of favorites, ordered and sorted over time.”

My Favorite Film

My favorite film is All the President’s Men from 1976.

My Top Favorite Films

My top three favorite films, ordered:

  • All the President’s Men – 1976
  • High and Low (Tengoku to Jigoku) – 1963
  • North by Northwest – 1959

You can say I really like procedural films with a strong sense of momentum, a dark tone, some way-too-innocent protagonists who wise up quickly, frequent changes in setting, and a winding plot.

Some Less-popular Films that Made My List of Favorites

Here are some favorites that aren’t super-mega popular with film geeks:

  • The Quiet Earth – 1985
  • Rat Race – 2001
  • The Changeling – 1980
  • The Hudsucker Proxy – 1994
  • Russian Roulette – 1975 (Canadian film)
  • Bandits – 2001
  • Moving Target – 1988 TV Movie
  • Sleuth – 1972
  • What About Bob – 1991
  • Meteor – 1979
  • Bad Day at Black Rock – 1955
  • The Eagle Has Landed – 1976

Lessons Learned

I ended up with a list of over 100 favorite films, which I didn’t expect. I might publish it after I think about it for a while. Some lessons picked up along the way:

  • Ranking things is a really easy way for me to find a single “top favorite” item.
  • It feels really nice to learn just how many things I like. It’s fun to scan the list.
  • When you like a hobby a lot (watching movies), it will probably be hard to just pick one, unless you do some listing and comparison.

And finally:

  • Pick one, but also,
    • pick a lot.
      • Do both.

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