Building a Better Cannon

I've long been a fool for a list or countdown. Perhaps it's growing up listening to Casey Kasem or the fact that I can't bring myself to get rid of a book reminiscent of my book-buying circa 1980, "The Teenage Book of Lists" (#1 Band Named for a Food, btw? Hot Tuna). The older I get, however, the more likely I am to be equally irritated as I am drawn in. Part of it is a becoming aware of the inherent bias of such thing, which is necessary to one's maturity, but a bummer. The harder thing to admit is my own bias, and reality of the thing I truly love and deep worthy of consideration on lists are seeming to, little bit by little bit, vanish from consideration. 

I know that the only way to begin to change things is to contribute to the conversation, to make my own damn list. And I've been simultaneously consumed by the notion and dragging my feet. I was gently nudged last week, when NPR published its own list of 150 albums by women. In reading about its creation, there was a phrase that lingered: "a list forces authority." This can be read as a positive and negative at the same time. My general problem with lists is they become too lasy. Rolling Stone publishes some variation of the 500 Greatest Albums seemingly every season. The top ten is nothing more than a reshuffling of five Beatles albums, three Dylan albums, Pet Sounds and some "wild card" from the past 25 years (usually Nirvana's Nevermind or, more recently, Radiohead's OK Computer). Which is not to say that any of those albums don't deserve continued accolades. But it's boring. And horribly patriarchal. The nice thing about the latest NPR list is that they acknowledge that people are going to be pissed about who was omitted (Aimee Mann and Sarah McLaughlin, hello!) but that would mean a continuation of the conversation, which is always good.

List of "favorites" is far more interesting to me. This takes into account things like the deciders age, gender, temperament, location, education, and experience.

While I've been consistently influenced by music, it is film where my I am more critical (and by far more defensive when my favorites are excluded).  In an effort to verve the conversation in a slightly different direction, here is a list of films from my lifetime (chronological) that I feel have been underrepresented as great films.

Coal Miners Daughter
9 to 5
The World According to Garp
An Officer and a Gentleman
Terms of Endearment
Fatal Attraction
Broadcast News
Working GIrl
War of the Roses
Postcards From the Edge
Reversal of Fortune
Thelma & Louise
The Fisher King
Ruby in Paradise
Remains of the Day
The Piano
Quiz Show
Lone Star
Flirting With Disaster
The Ice Storm
One True Thing
Cider House Rules
You Can Count on Me
Life as a House
Hedwig & the Angry Inch
Ghost World
Dogtown & Z Boys
The Hours
25th Hour
In the Cut
Cold Mountain
Casa de Los Babys
In Her Shoes
Michael Clayton
I'm Not There
Gone Baby Gone
The Reader
Rachel Getting Married
Cadillac Records
Where the Wild Things Are
Up in the Air
Julie & Julia
Blue Valentine
Our Idiot Brother
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Descendents
The Debt
Zero Dark Thirty
The Spectacular Now
20 Feet From Stardom
Get On Up
The Dressmaker
Steve Jobs