One of the things that struck me as making Kyle's list particularly interesting is that it's not simply a list of what he thinks are the best movies, but rather the movies which he enjoys watching most. However, thinking about this, it occurred to me that my list of favorite movies, in this sense, has changed a lot over the last 5-8 years. This is not generally because I've changed my mind about whether or not movies are good, but rather that what movies I feel like watching (and certainly which movies I feel like watching again) has undergone a shift.Darwin attributes this shift to his presently feeling less venturesome to experience the “artistic brutality” and excesses of fear and pity that some of his former favorites displayed and elicited. I know what he means: there are some excellent films such as Babel that I have no desire to see again. On the other hand, I seem to have a particular craving for stories of misery and suffering. I can watch Paul Thomas Anderson movies repeatedly, for example. I sometimes find downers strangely uplifting, scenes of sadness strangely a cause for hopeful smiles. There are times that I actually like staring into the abyss, plunging heart-first into dark waters of despondency. I come out refreshed, hopeful, and ready for another round. Maybe there’s something to my favorites of these sorts that isn’t present in Babel or other emotionally-exhausting narratives that I appreciated but never thought to place among my favorites. I’ve changed my mind about what movies are among my favorites, but this has generally been a result of my not finding them as good as I once thought.
Anyhow, Darwin lists some quality films, some of which could easily have made my list had I written it on a different day.