by Patrick Bromley
I've just finished watching RoboCop for 20th or 30th time and have come to terms with the fact that it's one of my favorite movies. This came as something of a surprise to me, because while I have always known that I love RoboCop, I don't think I've carried it on my list of "favorites." But I also know myself well enough to know that my list is indefinite and open-ended, with new movies joining and other movies falling off the older I get, the more I see. I didn't used to consider RoboCop one of my favorite movies. Now I do. Maybe I won't 10 years from now. I secretly think I will.
But what does that mean, "favorite movies?" Obviously we know what it means -- the movies we like more than the other movies -- but how does a movie cross over from being a movie we love to one we call a favorite? Is there only a certain number we're allowed to include on that list? Less than a year ago, Rob DiCristino grappled with this very question: must we have a finite number of favorite movies? I'm a born list maker, as are many of us who love the stuff we love; obsessive behavior lends itself to the desire to catalog, I guess. But does the need to turn things into lists close us off to new possibilities?
Pure Cinema, hosted by friends of the site Brian Saur and Elric Kane. Their show is all about making lists, but they never pretend these lists are definitive -- they're not the "Top 5" anything, just five examples of a specific category that the guys want to talk about. Both hosts have sometimes been teased by guests or on social media for referring to too many movies as "favorites." As I've said before, this is one of the things I love best about their show. Passion and enthusiasm are my two favorite qualities in a movie fan, and both hosts exemplify those qualities on every episode. I'm not interested in exclusivity or snobbery, and loving more movies is preferable to loving only a select few. (Do not confuse this sentiment with me endorsing the idea that everyone should love everything; I still believe in discernment and in having reasons for loving stuff.) Every time they talk about something being a favorite, it makes me happy. I love when people form such strong connections with the art form that I love. That's the whole reason this site is here in the first place.
I guess the thinking is that describing too many things as "favorite" dilutes the meaning of the word. I get it and I don't. Yes, the word has a literal definition. And while I'm a big believer in the meanings of words -- I literally die when someone misuses them -- I must come to terms with the fact that I'm much looser when it comes to the word "favorite." To me, it's describing a movie you love so much that you can't imagine living without it. I have a lot of those, and I'm guessing most of you do, too. I think it's a good thing. If someone loves to read, it brings me joy to hear them talk about all the different authors and books they love. If someone loves food, it brings me joy to hear them talk about all of their favorite dishes. Why wouldn't it bring me joy to hear someone get excited about a whole bunch of movies instead of just a few?
So, sure, I have the movie I name as being my favorite above all others, but that doesn't mean I don't have more favorite movies. Maybe it's a problem that my list is too big. I can't imagine that it is, because ultimately none of this even matters to anyone but myself. I separate these extra special movies out in my own mind, but it's not as though I'm keeping a physical list that requires constant maintenance or even being asked what my favorites are. It's my own personal inventory of my own personal relationship to these movies. When I realize that RoboCop is one of my favorite movies ever, it's not as though it's something I have to announce...except in this case, of course, when it inspired me to think my way through it out loud. Sorry about that, everyone.
Thank you for your cooperation.