The big ‘top ten’ chart

toptensEvery year Movie City News puts up a chart aggregating hundreds of critics’ top ten lists, and it’s usually pretty illuminating to see what stands out.

It’s still early (only 63 lists have been posted and the final number usually comes in around 300) but the current data is already displaying some interesting trends.

In the first and second spots are two “non-traditional” genres — the animated Wall-E and superhero flick The Dark Knight. In terms of the Oscar race, Wall-E will no doubt be ghettoized in the Best Animated Film category, but The Dark Knight is increasingly looking like a future Best Picture nominee.

Filling in the top six are three other films I expect to make the Oscar cut: Milk, Slumdog Millionaire and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

If those titles hold, what will fill out the fifth slot? Perhaps The Wrestler (#5 on this list), Frost/Nixon (#15) or Doubt (#30). I’d love to see Rachel Getting Married (#7) or Iron Man (#33) make the cut but I don’t think either has much of a chance. It would be a nice surprise to see something as bizarre and “artsy” as Synecdoche, New York (#9) slide into that final slot, but that seems like the longest shot of all.

I’ll revisit this list when another batch of critics is added. I’m most interested to see if Wall-E will hold onto that top spot, or if The Dark Knight (or something unexpected) will overtake it.

5 thoughts on “The big ‘top ten’ chart

  1. Amy says:

    While I found Wall-E deserving of much praise, it always strikes me as being much easier for certain types of films (animated ones among them) to receive close to unanimous critical praise, while more daring ones are likely to receive mixed reviews by virtue of having taken chances that can’t possibly please everyone. I mean, honestly, what sort of heartless critic is going to see Wall-E and give it a thumbs down? It’s well-executed, beautifully made, etc. As is Frost/Nixon, Milk, Rachel Getting Married. But each of those films is more likely to lose a few critics along the way. The Dark Knight’s spot at the top continues to elude me. I assume Heath Ledger’s tragic death caused all sorts of moviegoers – fans and critics, alike – to have a strong desire to want to adore his last film, and his last performance. Otherwise, I can’t begin to understand why it is earning the top spots on lists that didn’t feature its predecessor, or any of the SpiderMan films, or Iron Man, or any of a dozen other equally well-executed superhero films.

    I look forward to seeing what the final tally looks like; I’m rooting for the appearance of films like Slumdog Millionaire, The Wrestler, Rachel Getting Married, and the like, as I’d much rather see those films get a boost. Hardly as if The Dark Knight needs any more money, or the studios any more incentive to make such films.

  2. Clay says:

    Your Dark Knight disdain has clouded your mind, woman! When the wildly overrated Mystic River showed up high on this chart, I didn’t chalk it up to critics wanting to like Clint Eastwood’s latest because he’s old.

    You’re outside of the predominant position on this one, that’s all. That doesn’t mean a lot of people, fans and critics alike, don’t find it to be an extremely effective work of art for perfectly legitimate reasons.

  3. Clay says:

    As for the animation thing, I agree that those films get a leg up in the Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes rankings, which count all thumbs-up equally. But this chart looks only at films that made year-end top ten lists, so I don’t think the same skew exists. Kung Fu Panda has an extremely high Tomato ranking but doesn’t show up here at all.

    In recent years, only Ratatouille and The Incredibles cracked the top ten of this chart, and neither reached the top five.

    That said, I disagree that Wall-E is the best film of the year, or even close to it. I’d like to see it again, but my first impression was that it had a wonderful first half and some beautiful moments but overall fell short of greatness.

  4. pegclifton says:

    I know I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but what about The Visitor? Maybe it came out too early, but I’m very disappointed that it’s not a contender.

  5. Clay says:

    I think it did come out too early. I bet if it had been released in December it would be a serious contender. It would be nice if Richard Jenkins could slip into the Best Actor race.

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