A clarification of terms

The question "what's your favourite film" often tends to translate as "what's the best film ever made?", arguably more so in comparison to other media, and one's answer often tends to be judged accordingly. For example, someone saying their favourite film was one of the Harry Potter series would produce, intangibly, a more negative reaction than someone giving the same answer for their favourite book. This is in part the culmination of a certain sense of snobbishness displayed by film lovers online, forced to take increasingly obtuse positions in order to appear intellectually superior. It's also not a road worth going down.

There are, broadly speaking, three different lenses through which anyone can attempt to rank or rate films: "best", "favourite", and "most enjoyable". For the purposes of this blog, I feel it's important to define what I (at the very least) mean by those terms, just so we're all on the same page. Good? Good.


This is, I suppose, me trying to speak at my most objective, even if trying to write objectively about film is really a fool's errand. This'll be when I'm trying to sound like I know what I'm talking about, discussing technical aspects and using terminology (probably incorrectly) that no normal person would ever use. But honestly, this won't be that often - try to talk about films without bias all you like, but the ultimate measure of a film is how it makes you feel, and that can only possibly be subjective.


This one's more likely to come up - it's the acknowledgement that a film can be flawed, hell, a film can even have serious issues with it, but still grab you on some level more than some other, less flawed film. Which is, again, how I rate films; a technically brilliant film which leaves me cold will likely get a similar rating to a film with, say, on-the-nose but properly emotionally affecting performances.

"Most enjoyable"

Finally, a similar but subtly different distinction between objective and subjective qualities in a film. I can watch, and appreciate, and even fall in love with a film like Son Of Saul, László Nemes' devastating Holocaust drama from 2015, but if you ask me whether I enjoyed that or Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 more, I can't tell you it's the one set in Auschwitz. And it's this which makes trying to rank films in some kind of order difficult. Son Of Saul is obiously (entirely in my own opinion) a better film than GOTG vol. 2, but damnit if I didn't leave the cinema in a worse mood. So that's a dilemma I'm always working through, which will inevitaby come up here some time.

So, with all that in mind, here's what I think this blog is going to (/trying to) be: it's going to be a place for me to talk about things around cinema, propped up by films I've seen recently (i.e. not strictly reviews of films, more used as supporting points in an argument). It's only very occasionally going to be me trying to write either an utterly devastating negative review or a gushing positive review. It's never going to be me telling you what the best films are - god knows I'm not the one to do that. But hopefully there'll be some great films to talk about along the way.