The “Ten Best” lists are a tradition that you can’t get past. I do my share of them, trying out different incarnation for various sites and occasions. The first of my lists has just gone live on the annual MSN round-up, which offers one of the most interesting compendiums. Ten critics are polled and an compilation list derived from the collection, and with a sampling of this size some interesting results are bound to arise.
The compilation list (and the collection of supporting essays, one from each contributor) can be found here. The individual lists are collected here (I lead the collection – sure, it’s alphabetical, but still…) and my essay is here (sorry, you have to click on it to find out what I was assigned. But I encourage you to explore the entire gallery; this is a terrific collection of critics (Richard T. Jameson, Kathleen Murphy, Dave McCoy, Kim Morgan, James Rocchi, Glenn Whipp, Mary Pols, Don Kaye, Jim Emerson and me) and a collection of essays that should prime you to explore each and every one of the picks. Even those that didn’t make my list.
For what it’s worth, my top pick is The Hurt Locker (which, to no one’s surprise, is the top film on the compilation list by a significant margin), but my essay is on a film a little farther down the list.
My list will shift as time goes on as I catch up on films I missed, rewatch films I’ve seen already and consider and reconsider the criteria I use from day to day, but I promise that at some point in early January that only seems arbitrary (and, despite my protestation, probably is), I will come up with my final list and stop with the revisions. Until then, enjoy the permutations.