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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The 100 best romantic movies ? (according to @TimeOutFilm)

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(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

24 April

It all started with Catherine Bray (whom The Agent Follows on Pratter)... :

Catherine Tweeted :

Stupid Apsley looked at her 1 to 10 (as previously Tweeted), since she had been one of Time Out's 101 'experts, including the folks who make their living from giving movies a critical mauling', and Tweeted Catherine :

Skipping a few more of Apsley's irritating questions, we move on to :

So, if it were all democratic - with a lot of great strictness thrown in - what did the 100 list really mean ? :

And what about those 'romantic' films. For what it's worth, Apsley has this to comment :

So Apsley got thinking... :

Ten free choices for each of 101 voters, so 1010 selections to be whittled down to a ranked list of 100 by, where possible, weighting the choices according to preference.

Obviously not a scientific experiment to which a test of significance need necessarily be applied, but assume, for argument's sake, that one in every two or three list of ten choices would be a duplicate : 505 discrete selections, but how skewed might the voting get if, say, 1st place carried 15 points, 2nd place 13 points, 3rd place 11 points, and then allocating a range of 10 points to the remaining 7 positions?

Could it possibly be that a relatively very small number of the overall 101 voters, choosing the same film in 1st place, might out-vote a larger number ranking it, but putting it lower down their list ? If so, democracy would mean that those with 'a passion for' a film within their choice of 10 would vote down (or, even, out) a greater number putting it, say, 8th...

No doubt more than one way to analyse these data-sets and arrive at a 1 to 100, then...

For example, Annie Hall :

* Richard Gere (who didn't choose it) only voted for 2 films

* Sally Hawkins put it 7th

* Frances O'Connor put it 4th

* Sara Pascoe put it in an unranked list

* Christopher Walken - as Gere

Summary : 3 out of 18 Actors voted for it

* Dave Calhoun (Time Out) had it 1st

* Kate Muir (The Times) put it 5th

Summary : 2 out of 18 Critics voted for it

* Judd Apatow only voted for 3 - this was the 3rd

* Richard Curtis put it 1st

* Aside - Gideon Koppel's choice for 1st was Carry on Camping...

* Jamie Travis says 4th [and, for my money, wisely names Hannah and her Sisters as 9th, which I didn't notice in anyone else's list]

* Penny Woolcock goes for 2nd

Summary : 4 out of 21 Film-makers voted for it


Overall, out of 57 people in these three lists who could have voted for Annie Hall, only 9 did, with 2 x 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 2 x 4th, 5th, 7th and an unranked.

To me, though Annie Hall is a great film (if not, in my view, really a romance), it suggests that the voting must (if 57 / 101 is a representative sample - I can analyse the other three categories...) be too diffuse for the votes of many to count for anything and / or that the weighting gives an unrepresentative result.

Taking this on :

Of the Film industry insiders Of whom there were 20), Shira MacLeod rated it 3rd, and Louisa Dent 2nd, but no one else named it. 2 out of 20

There were 13 Cultural heroes* : Lauren Cuthbertson put it 6th, Robyn Hitchcock 3rd**, Tim Key voted (but didn't rank it), Tom Odell said 5th, and Isy Suttie 4th. 5 out of 13

Finally, 11 Writers, of whom Moira Buffini listed it, chronologically, penultimate, Joe Dunthorne put it 6th, and Jack Thorne 1st. 3 out of 11

Those new categories make, all in all, 10 out of 44, with a further 1st, 2nd, 2 x 3rd, 4th, 5th, 2 x 6th, plus 2 x unranked.

Added to the categories above, 19 out of 101 (more respectable) :

1st x 3 (Critic, Film-maker, Writer)

2nd x 2 (Film-maker, Film industry insider)

3rd x 3 (Film-maker, Film industry insider, Cultural hero)

4th x 3 (Actor, Film-maker, Cultural hero)

5th x 2 (Critic, Cultural hero)

6th x 2 (Cultural hero, Writer)

7th x 1 (Actor)

Unranked x 3 (Actor, Cultural hero, Writer)

With the new categories, around one in five named Annie Hall, and that got it 4th in the 100 list. How much that is down to the weighting, with 8 out of 19 in the 1st to 3rd positions, is anyone's guess...

And, of course, if the three voters who declined to rank their choices had not done so, that might have made things different again !


And what about Dr Zhivago (1965), ranked only no. 96 - to the digust of someone who commented on Time Out's pages ?

Well, I guess that there couldn't have been many votes, and, out of their 10 choices, this is what I find:

* No Actors voted for it

* No Critics voted for it

* In Film-makers, Gillies MacKinnon put it 7th, and Shirin Neshat 8th

Just over the halfway point (57 from the 101 who made some sort of selection), only two picked it - how many more secured Dr Zhivago its position at 96 ?

No Film industry insiders or Writers, and just Bella Freud from Cultural heroes (5th), so 3 votes out of 101, nothing higher than 5th place, gets 96th place.

Fourth place overall secured by 19 votes, 96th by 9, so where anything came in that list of 100 could be depend on the weighting given by - or lack of weighting - one person who chose the film...

Highly scientific (or democratic) ? Maybe a much-higher place was won for a film with, again, just three votes, because it had all its votes in positions 1st to 3rd

Comments, especially from @TimeOutFilm, welcome !


* Bella Freud is to be valued for listing Subway (1985).

** Hitchcock came up with The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985).


Anonymous said...

They have these amazing things now called lives. You should seriously, SERIOUSLY think about getting one.

The Agent Apsley said...

Even if that weren't so boringly unoriginal as an insult - IKEA stock no. 38B, which you probably post all over the place - I'd not be bothered to take offence at its vacuity :

Probably, if you heckle at gigs, they just have a retort ready on a card to hold up...