A ‘Favourite’ Question.

Screen150 asks… 

Hi Clare. Hi Ben. (ladies first)

Is it really possible to have a favourite film? Is it really possible to choose one film out of every film ever seen and made, and declare it the best? Why do we pick favourites if it’s not? Your thoughts, please. 

That should give you something to ponder on.

 Your mysterious film-based blogfriend, Screen150

 Clare answers…

Hmmmmmmm. (I am pondering.)

 I assume it must be possible to have a favourite film as I am, right here right now, using the powers bestowed upon me by the magic of screen-switching, in the process of writing a review of my favourite film for a website called Screen150. Oh, that’s you. Imagine that.

 I did, however, have a different favourite film once or twice in the past. Maybe three times. I don’t recall. These old favourite films are still on my top-however-many-favourite-films-plural list. Perhaps influenced by a different mood or maybe had I seen one of these other favourite films more recently, I would have picked one of them to be my ultimate favourite film. Happen if someone had already picked to write about this film as their favourite, I might have made a different selection. A further problem is encountered when one takes into account that, unless we find ourselves in some dystopian future in which movies are no longer made, new offerings may well appear in years to come that are even better and loveable than the favourite film I currently cite.It’s a tricky one, but I do know that we pick a favourite (or indeed favourites) of films, books, songs, colours, trees and birds because we need a point of reference with which to compare ourselves to others. And because Blogspot and Facebook make us do it.

Ben Answers…

We are genetically disposed to make comparissons. Imagine a time before time, when cavemen and dinosaurs skipped hand in hand to the watering hole, inventing fire, and wheels and the like. In those times if a caveman saw two mammoths, or two bushes full of berries, or two coelacanths, he had to pick which of them was the best to hunt and/or gather. If he picked the stronger mammoth, or the more poisonous berries, or more elusive coelacanth, then he would die.

Nowadays we don’t need to make choices about what to hunt and/or gather because we can just pop to Waitrose. Things only start to get tricky when we get to the cheese aisle. The ubiquity of things like hummous, and foccacia, and manuka honey means that we, as a species, can spend time comparing other things, things like films.

And compare we do. Person A will say “I think The Next Karate Kid is the finest piece of cinema ever made,” while Person B will say “Uh-uh, Space Jam is the bestest,” and then Person C will say “Have you dicks never even seen Spies Like Us? Chevy Chase and Dan Ackroyd in one movie. Come on. Come on! That is the best thing that ever happened in the history of history.” 

You and I both know that Persons A, B, and C are all wrong. They are wrong because they are still alive. As Clare points out a better film might be about to be released on Friday. There is an old Greek saying: Call no man happy until he is dead. The thinking behind it is simple; you may be happy today but tomorrow your legs might fall off. Will you be happy then? No. So are you really happy now? Well, yes? … Hold on… Call no man happy until he is dead? Is that right? What? That makes no sense at all? Wait… Is it happy? Happy? Dead? What?

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One Response to A ‘Favourite’ Question.

  1. wordsandfixtures says:

    In case any of you are remotely interested, Ben and Clare have written reviews of their favourite films for Screen150 (no, I don’t know why I’m talking in the third person, either).

    Ben’s is Once Upon A Time In The West. You can read it here: http://screen150.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/once-upon-a-time-in-the-west-1968-a-screen150-favourite/

    Clare’s is Black Narcissus. You can read it here: http://screen150.wordpress.com/2011/02/23/black-narcissus-1947-a-screen150-favourite/

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