A bit of context

Posted by · 11:52 am · November 8th, 2009

Christine Baranski and Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia!

From the moment it was commissioned, this was intended STRICTLY as a “defined the decade” list, regardless of qualitative considerations. Go back and re-read it in that light, recover from the horror of “Saw” and “Mamma Mia!”’s inclusion (Guy’s right to single these out, but they aren’t the only ones: I personally loathe “Slumdog”, for instance) and I hope it then makes a little more sense.

Though I’d much rather have been allowed to submit a list of personal favourites (and will probably follow up with one, on my blog, which will include all of about ten films from the current list), this Telegraph one was put together purely with an emphasis on importance/cultural impact, not critical preference.

Regular reader and Telegraph critic Tim Robey clarifies the intent of that surprising ‘Top 100 films of the decade’ list that got some of you fired up earlier this week.

→ 8 Comments Tags: , , , | Filed in: Daily

8 responses so far

  • 1 11-08-2009 at 1:33 pm

    Al said...

    Still though, no one has ever seen Avatar…ever.

  • 2 11-08-2009 at 1:48 pm

    head_wizard said...

    Any top 100 list that has Mamma Mia and Saw I don’t care what the context is. Also yes Avatar hasn’t even been seen! Yet Precious and Up in the Air have been seen and already praised, why don’t people wait till 2010?

  • 3 11-08-2009 at 1:53 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    May I remind you that “Mamma Mia!” is the highest-grossing film of all time in the UK? The list is about the films that defined the decade. How can a British publication NOT include it?

    Yes, the film is awful. But it’s also a phenomenon.

  • 4 11-08-2009 at 2:57 pm

    Maxim said...

    Robey, this additional “context” only makes the list even more lame than it originally was.

    Any list that tries to define the zeitgeist, in addition to being useless by default, is also doomed to fail in the long term.

    In other words, don’t try to tell us what we should already know, especially that there is a huge risk of personal bias. Give us your actual preferences or GTFO.

    Also, enough with unwarranted negativity, already. Both “Mamma Mia” and “Saw” are nowhere close to being the greatest or the most important movies of the decade but they are hardly terrible either. The original “Saw” was a very decent horror flick and I found “Mamma Mia” to be more enjoyable than I ever would have expected.

  • 5 11-08-2009 at 8:50 pm

    Colin said...

    @Maxim: So historians are worthless compared to formal critics? I don’t see that. It’s just as important to pin down what moved people in a particular time and place as it is to usher them towards what they might also enjoy.

  • 6 11-08-2009 at 9:19 pm

    Maxim said...

    Colin, I would be inclined to agree if the list actually had a true historical value or was compiled by a historian. However, looking through the list there are far two many instances of films whose inclusion and relative placement cannot be explained by anything other than very subjective views.

    I have already mentioned a danger of that above when I talked about a personal bias. And this fails a criteria of a pinned down illusration of people’s tastes due precisely to its unexplainable and not easily defendable subjectivity.

  • 7 11-09-2009 at 1:31 am

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    No. Mama Mia! is awful. Simply horrible filmmaking in the purest sense of the word. Like I said before it’s the beyond brilliant Abba songs that make the film.

  • 8 11-10-2009 at 5:09 am

    Milan said...

    Erm, the fact that Avatar is making a splash even before its release might warrent its place in the chart if it includes Mamma Mia and Saw like this. But I am inclined to agree with the general opinion.

    @Wizard: Up in the Air and Precious will be released in the UK in 2010. This is a UK-based publication. Do your research.