Please pick a favorite movie

Please stop and reread the title. 

Ok good.

I just need you to have an answer locked-and-loaded. A fav movie just might save you from another mundane convo.

I’m not the world’s most bestest conversationalist. Let’s be real: we all default to mindless mechanics.

“Hey — what’s your name?”

“Oh cool, nice to meet ya, where you from?”

“Oh cool, where are you living right now?”

“Oh that’s cool, I used to live in Kilgo, right nearby — what are you studying?”

“Oh nice, that’s cool.”

Maybe we survive that parrot banter and the sudden and random oscillations of life and social gatherings. Maybe the conversation evolves to the standard, safe, and relatable — pop culture:

“Oh you’ve seen White Lotus?”

"That’s sick, yeah yeah, it’s really good.”

“Yeah, you’re right. Not so much transpires…”

“Yeah exactly, within the nothing is everything.”

Then, I like to launch a little fireball.

“What’s your favorite movie?”

Usually, their pupils dilate. They kinda stir, a little two-step shuffle, side-to-side. “Ummmmm,” they say, “there’s so many good ones.”

“Yes,” I respond, “there are.”

“Ummmm — oh I don’t know — so many genres — ‘The Departed’ is probably in my top five.”

Although, highkey, a respectable choice. I’m not interested in a top five. I’m interested in the one.

Time to pick a favorite movie.

Your Concerns

I understand your distress: staking your soul, identity, and social station to a favorite movie, well, scares you. You worry about the movie’s reflection on you. Does XYZ capture the infinite essence of me? You fear ridicule and pushback from your comrades for this personal reveal. You quickly scroll through your letterboxd to find a title festooned with the gravitas and grandeur to garner you some clout.

Folks. It’s not that deep. 

Yes, there’s safety in equivocating, especially for the cinematic virtuoso, who could never appoint a single feature film atop their hierarchy. Cmon now, there’s no judgment in the favorite film realm, the spicier take the better.

But my favorite movie constantly changes, you rebut. Experiences differ with time, mood, genre, age. My favorite movies at eight years old (“Hercules”) and nine (“Journey to the Center of the Earth”) no longer hold the title.  Why then must we fix ourselves to such a personal declaration, locked in spacetime, when sentiment burns bright and fast and nostalgia lingers omnipresent?

Yes, favorite movies, like all things, ebb and flow. I promise — after I ask you in Krafthouse for your fav flick, no one will engrave “Ten Things I Hate About You” on your tombstone. I consider picking a favorite movie a subtle self reflection. Check-in with yourself, here and now. What’s the go-to 4 am insomnia watch? Maybe your favorite movie changes. No worries. Most shit does.

Your Arguments

You question, intellectually — why do we need to rank things? Why can’t we, like, just exist?

Both valid. But sorry y’all — we’re human. In the entropy, we seek order. When we avoid ranking movies, we avoid critical thinking and internal monologue. For movies, equal parts superfluous and deeply meaningful, a little internal deliberation seems healthy.

Plus, it’s fun. It’s still entropic — there's hundreds of thousands of movies. So many choices, so many people, so many different tastes and values.

I’ll offer you a clever little escape. My wise brother once ranked his favorite movies. Twenty to two.

“What’s number one,” I asked.

“I don’t know if I’ve seen it yet,” as he suavely maneuvered away.

The definition of favorite can be whatever you want. Seriously. From my vantage, there’s two camps arguing their antipodes.

The first chants: Rewatchability! The movie you return to over-and-over-and-over-again.

The other responds: Elation! Grandiloquence! Nuance! The artistic breadth of the work!

Either works. I lean towards the former but let me blow your mind with a third option:

Definition: Favorite equals Rewatchability times Elation. What’s your favorite rewatch in which you get the most out of the experience, every time?

As Kate Hudson expounds (no, a different Kate Hudson), “If you have a favorite pizza, you order it the most; a favorite sweater, you wear it out until it gets dangerously threadbare.” When ruminating over your favorite movie, don’t seek to curate a persona, just pick the movie you return to again-and-again, whether for the stupid thrill, hysterical melancholy, quotable lines or ensnaring characters.

No one will judge you. If they do, that’s on them. When someone admits their favorite movie, it’s usually a freakin good one, cause there’s so many freakin good ones, and 99.9% of the time their selections reveals something dope about them.

Well, to avoid any accusations of hypocrisy, and to add a sprinkle of ethos to this overcooked polemic, my favorite movie is “Good Will Hunting” (which just celebrated the big 2-5). No, it doesn’t have the cultural god-status of “The Godfather” or “Parasite”, but I love the dialogue, the jokes, Robin Williams is the goat, and that’s my take.

When I got my friends to fess up, the results, unsurprisingly, were fun, intriguing, diverse, funny: “Interstellar”, “Inglorious Bastards”, “Shutter Island”, “The Holiday” (fire), “Truman Show”, “Iron Man”, “Fight Club” (someone say sigma…).

Anywho, with “Cocaine Bear” dropping soon, we’re probably all gonna have to reconsider our favorite.

Alright, there’s my (extended) take — what’s yours?


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