Archive for October 15th, 2015


Screen cap from Elem Klimov’s 1985 Russian masterpiece “Come and See” which was examined in a stunning 4,600 word essay by Jamie Uhler, which was the longest review of the entire countdown

The Last Picture Show

Screen cap from Peter Bogdonich’s 1971 gem “The Last Picture Show.” My own review of it attracted 79 comments, the most in the countdown.

by Sam Juliano

The latest countdown is complete and everyone involved in this long running venture can breathe easy and take a bow.  While I must cope with a behind-the-scenes position that to wind up this poll with some brief happy commentary is trite and flagrantly self-congratulatory, I am ever cognizant of how such a project could occupy one body and soul.  So if I sound a bit self-congratulatory so be it.  Heaven help all of us for feeling proud of our accomplishment.  To be sure, like practically all previous genre countdowns chaired by Yours Truly (Greatest Film Musicals, Greatest Film Comedies, Greatest Film Westerns, Greatest Film Romances) there was initial controversy as to what constitutes a proper voting entry in each respective polling.  I may be old-fashioned and free-spirited but I always thought that each voter was intelligent enough to make their own minds up as to which films conform to various genre interpretations.  The e mail chain that always precedes the site announcements was and is the place for sparring over such matters, and it was there where the film lovers voiced their own majority opinion on this recent poll.  The title Greatest Childhood/Adolescent Films Countdown speaks for itself, and pointedly asserts eligibility from ages 0 to 18.  But the main concern of this poll and the others that came before it isn’t the numerical placements nor the issue of a specific film doesn’t work for other voters who are fashioning their own ballots, but rather the reviews of the films and the comment sections under them.  A week from now nobody will remember where films ended up numerically, but there is more than a fair chance that the writing and discussion will survive well into the future.  That after all is the purpose of this and prior countdowns.  The use of “subject” is an excuse to group films together and get people to strut their stuff on the rhetorical front.  In Shakespearean lingo  “The reviews’s the thing……”

I originally intended to have a little fun and offer up a list of the ten “longest” essays, the ten essays with the most comments, and the ten with the most page views, but I have refined that after I was questioned about the worth of it all.  There is no worth whatsoever – the exercise is just to do a little re-visitation.  Some of the best reviews in this countdown were not long in the conventional sense -some in fact was rather short- but the longest ones were certainly works of splendid scholarship.  There is no greatest review or accomplishment, such a position is the domain of individual taste and judgement.  I loved many reviews in this countdown myself, and I have discussed them on e mail chains.  In any case I have refined my statistical intentions to brief mentions.  The longest review of the countdown was Jamie Uhler’s masterful piece on Klimov’s 1985 Russian work Come and See at around 4,600 words.  The runner up was the fabulous appreciation of Ingmar Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander, penned by Dean Treadway, which ran around 3,800 words.  The review that attracted the most comments was my own essay on The Last Picture Show with 79, and the runner-up was also my own essay on Anne of Green Gables/Anne of Avonlea with 63.  Comment totals are all relative and have much to do with timing, a domino effect and the willingness of the author to mix it up.  Kudos to Jon Warner for successfully placing a comment under every single one of the 83 reviews, but to all who found the times to engage. The quality of the writing was consistently excellent, so many of the comments were thoughtful. (more…)

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