2007-01-04

IMDB Top 250

I'm a huge fan of IMDB. I use it all the time to look up facts about various movies and actors that I've seen or am going to see. The site is just packed with information which makes it a gold mine for any film lover.

One page that I particularly like and visit every now and then is the Top 250 list. The site allows any visitor to vote on the movies and based on these votes this list shows the 250 most popular ones. It's a very good list if you're looking for a good film to watch.

Every now and then I check the Top 250 list to see which movies from the list I have seen and which I should consider seeing. And today I was happy to cross off one more movie on the list: Casablanca, current ranked as number 6 on the list.

Seeing a classic such as Casablanca can be difficult. When a movie have such a high rating it's hard not to have very high expectations. And in my experience older movies often have a much slower tempo which can make them difficult or even unbearable to see unless you're in the right mood. Because of these problems I often postpone watching classics indefinitely. I'm constantly waiting for the right moment to present itself, to get into the right mood for watching the movie. But somehow that moment never seem to come. We taped Casablanca many years ago but have never watched it.

It's better to do what we (me and my fiancee) did today, watch the movie when it runs on TV. Don't record it, don't rent it, just take the time to watch it when it actually runs.

It's not difficult to see why Casablanca has become such a classic. Despite being recorded in 1942 the movie feels very modern. The dialog is absolutely fantastic and the movie is fast paced, not boring for a single moment. It is also filled with quotes that have gotten a life of their own: "Play it again, Sam", "We'll always have Paris", "Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she had to walk into mine." etc. (More quotes here.) All I can say is, if you haven't seen it yet I can heartily recommend it. It's worth every bit of it's status as a classic.

Despite being a big fan of movies I am a little embarrassed to admit that I haven't seen the top three movies on the list: "The Godfather", "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Godfather: Part II". Watching the Godfather trilogy is one of those projects that I suspect will never happen. The pressure of finding the exact right moment and mood to watch these movies is so big that I'm afraid it will never happen. As for "The Shawshank Redemption", I've bought the DVD so I hope it will lower the threshold for me to get around and watch it.

To make it a little easier to see what movies I have seen on the Top 250 list and what I thought of them I wrote a little greasemonkey script which adds an extra column to the list. This column shows for each movie what vote I have given to it. I've made the the script publicly available in case you would like to try it out yourself. Of course if you install the script it will show your votes, not mine.

7 comments:

hash said...

great script. thanks Josef!
I myself am a movie buff, and imdb
occupies a significant percentage
of my surfing time.

I think I must have watched most of
the 250 list, and have moved on to
foriegn movies and ones that are good
, but fewer votes mean they dont make
it to the top list. Also some of my
fav movies are 7.8, 7.9 pointers:p
i guess movie tastes are pretty
subjective.
/harsh
ps: happy viewing, I remember a
dialogue from 'Libertine' where
the protaganist wants to say that
my life is joyless, and the only
remaining titillation is theatre,
to lose oneself in the drama. hmm
i cudnt put it well, but do see the
movie, it aint bad.
After all isnt all life illusory, a
different kind of fiction. Every movie I watch, if it moves me I get that wonderful feeling that I lived it. Same hold true for dreams. Indians call this illusion 'Maya'.
sorry I shud be writing this in my blog:p. apologies!

Anil Usumezbas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anil Usumezbas said...

Hi Josef,

It has been my campaign for two years, seeing all the movies in the IMDb Top 250 list. A few days ago, I was finally done with it. Looking back, I am amazed to see how much it has contributed to my personal tastes and my intellectual development.

I am planning to write a thorough article on the list itself, probably in a few weeks (since it requires a lot of effort). I'll post it on my blog long-take.blogspot.com so check it out if you are interested. It's relatively new but it also contains other materials related to cinema and movies in general.

As for the script, I think a good substitute for that would be twofifty.org - free, easy-to-use and serves no other purpose. Also good for watching the new entries to the list.

Josef said...

Anil, thanks for the suggesting twofifty.org! It looks really useful.

Anil Usumezbas said...

Unfortunately, the site seems to be not working at the moment, when I log in, I don't see my list. But probably, it will be back up again soon.

Beales said...

There is an alternative for twofifty.org: 250films.net

Josef said...

Beales, thank you for suggesting 250films.net. twofifty.org seems to be indefinately broken so I welcome a good substitute. And it looks quite nice.

As it happens I saw North by Northwest last night so now I have yet another movie to cross off from the list. Unfortunately it didn't meet my high expectations on it. I guess there are some Hitchcock movies I simply don't get.