i like lists and i like debating them. is the godfather part two really better than the first, or is it the other way around? everyone lists "sgt. pepper" as the greatest beatles album, but how do you compare it to "abbey road"?
on my gray post-it board on my room in high school, i would pin up my top ten list of cds for the benefit of all who came into my room. "whatever and ever amen" by ben folds five was number one, followed by the "lost highway" soundtrack (perfect for night driving in those days) and the soundtrack to "the nightmare before Christmas." i really don't remember what was on the rest of that list, although i think i put green day's very first album at number ten.
similarly, as my interests dovetailed into movies, i had a firm list of my top ten movies as well. in the summer after high school, my top three movies of all time were "pulp fiction", "the nightmare before Christmas", and "breakfast at tiffany's." in the ensuing years, when i would try to stand a little taller and decided that even the tv version of "pulp fiction" was a little too rough for me, i wondered when i would find another movie that would so completely knock me off my socks in brilliance, ingenuity, and sheer awesomeness. and while i don't list it on my top ten, i still recognize it for what it is. but i have new favorites.
so, what would be my five desert island movies today? "fanny and alexander", "bill and ted's excellent adventure", "2001", "seven samurai", and "singin' in the rain." who knows? those first three kind of make up my trinity of favorites, and i'm looking forward to making some time to watch "fanny and alexander" this week.
cds? "marvin's marvelous mechanical museum" (that's tally hall's cd, fyi), "the orb's adventures in the ultraworld" by the orb, and, um... hmmm. shoot. i love "london calling" by the clash and "pet sounds" by the beach boys (even listing that as my #1 fave for a while), as well as "abbey road" and some favorites by they might be giants, r.e.m., the eels ("electroshock blues" would be a contender...) but that list is much more fluid and dynamic.
however, what if you could only take one? only one cd to listen to, only one movie on the island? is there one that you can enjoy when you're happy and when you're sad? during loneliness hours and in times of ecstatic dancing?
fanny and alexander? ...maybe. my first viewing left me thinking of it as cinematic perfection and i don't back down from that, but is it too heavy to be the only movie i'd ever watch? 2001? it transcends the walls of filmmaking and makes my most selective list of "movies that are so good i want to scream" (and i did during the intermission of the last time i saw it), but again, pretty serious, and for as serious as i am, i think i want something lighter and more fun.
bill and ted? quite possibly. i love it so dearly not because it is Cinematic Art, but because it is what it is--a story about two dudes who save the world in a time-traveling phone booth--and it is completely unashamed of itself. no, i don't get the high culture of film that i enjoy with it, but i love it.
maybe the seven samurai, since it has action, drama, and humor all wrapped up in the greatest filmmaking ever. but it doesn't really feel like it's my movie.
bill and ted is mine.
music is much easier.
if i could to only one cd for the test of my life, i would choose without hesitation or regret: tally hall's marvin's marvelous mechanical museum.
it first seemed like a fun psuedo-novelty cd from some offbeat band, yet as i've listened to it over one hundred times (and probably two hundred, in all honesty), it has never gotten tired or trite. rather, i've found new depths, brilliance, insight, and lyricism in songs that first bored me (actually, i find myself skipping "banana man" sometimes, but goofiness is cool, too). the more i listen to it in more facets of my life, the more i love it. i loved it when i first heard it and i love it today.