The Best vs. Your Favorite

by George Watches Things

Roger Ebert once wrote about the “official” greatest movie of all-time, claiming there is no doubt it is Citizen Kane. But he then brings up the question of the “favorite” film… a question he answers with the same answer. He then goes on to discuss the idea that they’re the same thing, unless your definition of favorite has a different meaning.

I am not unsure what my favorite movie is (it’s Some Like it Hot, of course), but I am unsure about what the best movie ever made is. What does “best” even mean? Best in what way? For awhile, I maintained a Top 100 films list, but I considered those movies to be neither the “best” nor my “favorites.” I put some 3 1/2 star films before 4 star films, some very funny satires before some very heavy dramas. The list was a representation and reflection of me, and nothing else.

But coming to this conclusion really didn’t help me. If I made that list again, Some Like it Hot would top it. If I could only recommend one film to each person I know, Some Like it Hot would be that film more than half the time (some people have different tastes, other films would suit them better). I can watch it over and over and over again, and I’ll never tire of it. Does that make it the best? Is best even subjective?

You’ve wasted your time reading this, because there is no answer (at least not for me). I can pick the top films of each year or decade, but doing so for all of time seems not only impossible but wrong. For now, when someone asks me what the best film of all-time is, I’ll give them 4 to 12 films, instead of just one. Or maybe I’ll just say “I Am Legend.”

  • Do you have an answer? Do you understand the question? (I sure don’t.)
  • What’s your favorite film?
  • Up next: my review of either The Help, The Artist, City Island, Howl, or Margin Call.