About

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What are movies?
   Movies are a series of images that are projected on a flat surface for people to watch. Lately, these movies have included synchronized sound to enhance the connectivity of the images for the audience. Short ones only a few seconds long, others a few hours, some in color, some first shown on TV, some dramas, some comedies, some abstract splashes of color and shapes, some cartoons, some from all lands and times, I have included many kinds of movies on this list. But there are some kinds of movies not included here, mostly educational, historical, and ones where the message may be important, but the method it was recorded with is not exceedingly inspired. The movies in the Canon are movies that question the medium that challenge its limits, that seek to get across complex ideas and feelings, and they are movies that make us feel good because of how amazing they are. They tend to be movies where everyone involved was in the right frame of mind and gave the best of their abilities to the job.
   In other words, there aren't many children's movies here.

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Why should I care about this list?
   You might care about this list because it's a complete thought. There are scores of movie-lists that compile the favorite picks of numerous people, giving us the most popular picks of a set group, so no matter how well-versed some of the group might be, their individual lists get diluted, and we miss out on rare picks, picks that they might have chosen for the very fact that no one else would pick them! Then there are scores of favorite-lists by movie-makers, which sounds more promising, but these only show how they came up with their individual styles and don't really speak of cinema as a whole. Lastly, there are thousands, or millions of movie-lists by movie-lovers and critics but these seem plagued either by picks that are already popular or that are of one or a few particular genres.
   My list attempts to compile the best movies period, any genre, any length, any language, any subject matter. I am looking at movies that propel the development of cinema, in terms of emotion, invention, the spirit of expression, and the philosophy of cinema itself.

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How did this list come about?
   For part of my life, I had lost pretty much everything but my access to movies. Being so without material and social interactions, I watched tons of movies, movies that I had long wanted to see, movies I loved, and movies that were hailed by others as being great. One realization that happened during this time was when I came to understand that hype has been a major factor in people's study of cinema. A famous movie-director has only to drop a little snippet of praise about some old movie and it instantaneously becomes the number one choice on thousands of lists, it influences movie-makers, and becomes an icon in our thought-processes. I also realized how dominated movies are by loud sensations, such as shock, and how dominated movies are by celebrity, by advertising budgets, by our access to watching them or even to knowing that they exist, how dominated movies are by literature, and by the theatrical stage. My list came about when I discovered that the best movies were not the ones that did the job of literature or the stage, but the ones that offered things no other art-form could, and that they communicated something new and essential to humanity. So, I guess, if you want to pigeon-hole my list, you could say it's a positive, humanist, and globalist list of innovative cinematic expression.

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Is this a complete list?
   After I listed all the movies I could think of, I realized that the order kept changing, some movies fell off after not seeming as worthwhile as they first had, and some movies that I couldn't seem to shake from my consciousness jumped back on. Sometimes, you think you're free of a movie but it comes back to haunt you in thrilling ways, sometimes you think it's the greatest masterpiece since Mozart's 25th symphony, but a couple weeks or months later, it feels like it was only great for that one night, and any moment of greatness in it is impossible to point out. This is a list of movies that have kept me warm at night, and that have done so for years. I believe they speak not just to the years in which they were made, but to all times. It's true that new ideas are constantly being born, and that sometimes old ideas become outdated, but there are also instances when an idea that someone thinks is perfectly expressed in a brand-new movie has been expressed much better decades ago. So, in short, this list is not bound by new releases, or by a bias towards the classics. It will by its very nature never be complete.
 
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Are you saying that movies not included here are "bad movies"?
   Of course every movie that you've seen, like every experience you've had, has helped shape your outlook. Many movies have helped form our ideas of what we admire in movies and what repulses us. In this way, every movie we've seen is important. 

   However, the only movies I have included in this list are those I believe are the cream of the crop, those that are the most perfect example of what a movie can be. Of course, I have not seen all the movies worth seeing, nor have I fully appreciated all the ones I have seen, but I am trying, and I believe I am further along than most of the movie-watching public. On the other hand, I have not included all the movies I have seen and understood, or even enjoyed. Some movies have sentimental value, such as one you saw with an ex or a deceased loved one. Such situations do not qualify movies to be listed here. Many movies are important for the instructions they give us. These include social commentary, political documentaries, and medical and scientific instructionals.
   This list is focused mostly on movies for their own merit, the ones that specialize in human expression, a rejuvenation of our emotional spectrum, movies as "art", or as songs of the human spirit, movies that stand as a landmark of human creativity,  and open the medium up to new possibilities.


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Need help?
   This list is compiled solely by me, so I have seen every single one of the picks, and, naturally, there are many worthy movies I have not yet seen, some in other languages, some not very widely distributed or discussed, and some so greatly advertised that I have assumed them to be a mediocre pop-rehashing of true greatness. So, I rely on your comments or suggestions to steer me towards worthy movies that I would have missed on my own. Each suggestion will be carefully weighed and if the movie-pick is included, I can mention the suggestor's name. So, please include your name and city.
   If I don't happen to agree with your views and tastes, I will certainly explain why, and will be open to a reasonable rebuttal. 

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Dreams for this list?
   The project began as a plan for a book, for which I had hopes that some entries would be elaborated with comments by the likes of: Agnes Varda, Jacques Rivette, Shirley MacLaine, David O. Russell, Abbas Kiarostami, Woody Allen, Terrence Malick, Bernardo Bertolucci, Richard Linklater, Mike Leigh, Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach, Sissy Spacek, Bill Murray, Helena Bonham Carter, Audrey Tautou, Javier Bardem, Jennifer Lawrence, Zhang Yimou, Juliette Binoche, Diane Keaton, John Waters, Gena Rowlands, Jim Jarmusch, Noam Chomsky, and Joyce Carol Oates. I still harbor this dream.

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Why "movies" and not "films"?
   On this page and every other page on this blog, I refer to the art-form in question as "cinema". When I'm discussing a particular work or a selection of works, I refer to them as "a movie" or "movies". This is for multiple reasons. The first and most important is my effort to combat the tendency many people have of trying to separate the medium into two groups, art and entertainment. I don't see such a distinction. If a particular movie is art, then that should be all we need for entertainment. I think we would gain a lot if we appreciate the fun in what we consider "art movies" and the art in what we consider "fun entertaining flicks". If a movie is boring and can't keep your interest, then why would you consider it art? If it's so unintelligible that no one wants to watch it, it hasn't served the purpose of art. It hasn't done its job of rejuvenating your spirit or causing you to reflect. It has only wasted your time. On the other hand, if a movie is a big hit and tons of fun, it is art, because it strikes a chord with us. My goal is to find the most valuable gems among the movies that have been hyped to be art, and to find the most valuable gems in the movies that people have been dismissing as silly pop.

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Where should I email?
   Please direct your comments, suggestions, and/or questions to: 1blue.january@gmail.com or just comment at the bottom of any page.

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