On Choosing the Top 10 Films

For about 20 years I’ve been writing a Top 10 Film list for Visual Parables and Presbyterians Today–and when the latter ceased being a family magazine, for the Presbyterian News Service. It has never been an easy task with so many good films released each year. (I’ve never understood those who grumble that there aren’t any films worth seeing.) This year I narrowed down the list of candidates to about 30.

The ones making the list are: First Reformed; Come Sunday; Won’t You Be My Neighbor?; The Hate U Give; Roma; If Beale Street Could Talk; At Eternity’s Gates; Boy Erased; Unbroken: Path to Redemption; and On the Basis of Sex.  (This will be in the Feb. VP–or you can go on line and see it on the website of the Presbyterian News Service.)

Here are the other films, several of which almost made the cut:

 Ben is Back: BlacKKlansman: Blindspotting; Change in the Air;  Cold War; Don’t Worry,  He Won’t Get Far;  Green Book; I Can Only Imagine ; The Miseducation of Cameron Post;  Monsters & Men; Operation Finale; Paul, an Apostle of Christ; RGB;  A Star is Born; 3100: Run & Become; and Shock and Awe. Some pretty good films, don’t you agree? 

The Miseducation of Cameron Post  and Boy Erased deal with the attempt of a family to change the gender preference of their child by so-called conversion therapy. Both are excellent with outstanding performances by their casts, but the first film takes a lighter approach and does not go into the religious issues as much, so the latter is added to the list.

This has been a rich year for films dealing with racism–note the excellent Green Book;  BlacKKlansman; and Monsters & Men; in addition to the two that I did select–The Hate U Give and If  Beale Street Could Talk.  I am a long-time fan of the films of Spike Lee, and loved his policeman’s fooling KKK leader David Duke.’ Green Book filled us in  on the perils of black artists touring the South; and Monsters and Men gives us marvelous insight into the lives of a back cop and a witness to police racist treatment of black suspects, but I thought the Baldwin-based film surpassed them in emotional impact.

The other films are well worth watching, especially the new version of A Star is Born and the documentary RBG, but I won’t delve into them now. You can find my reviews by going to the VP list of reviews.

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