As I was watching Roman Polanski's Frantic (1987) the other day, something happened which has always been the aim of all my film watching. I connected with the vision on screen, I had the feeling that I understood what the filmmaker was trying to communicate. This happens regularly of course, but it's not always the case that I can associate myself completely with an artists vision, sometimes even rejecting it.
My personal rating system has evolved over the years, and while I am an unapologetic adherer of personal and subjective views, interpretations and evaluations, I also firmly believe that there have to be a personal set of "objective" rules by which one judges all films, be it a feeling from the guts, an analytical, aesthetical or political standpoint, or what ever else - personally I always try to consider all my feelings and responses to a film, the encompassing and unique (!) experience of it, which means to accept the fact that our opinions on film change as much as we do. What I mean by objective in this context, is some kind of unifying whole that in your opinion relates your inner world to the outer you perceive with your senses (e.g. film). I don't know if I can communicate here what I'm trying to say properly (what in a foreign language), but maybe we can call it some kind of reflexive identity (with all the hazy interpretations and definitions this term conjures).
Until now, I had always thought that the films I rate the highest, meaning the ones I consider the best, are the best in all possible ways. A personal favorite was indistunguishable from a cinematic masterpiece. I haven't abandoned this approach entirely, as I still think that you cannot think a film great without admiring it, but I have given in somewhat to affective responses to film. What i want to say is that i discovered that I actually admire many films as a whole which I don't consider entirely successful and which are in my opinion sometimes far from a masterpiece (Frantic is such an example), but which speak to me in a way that makes them favorites nevertheless.
I have thus decided to re-do my best lists on our board to include movies which I don't necessarily consider to be some of the greatest in film history as a whole, but which speak to my soul in a way that makes them highly anjoyable and valuable to myself.
If I try to explain this process in regards to my experience with Polanski's Frantic, my rewatch of the film made me aware that I love the film very much even though I don't consider it to be one of Polanski's best. Meaning that my "objective" evaluation of the film marks it as nothing special, while I have an outstanding personal affection for it. Thus I have to admit that my favorite films no longer correspond with the best.
Maybe I have struck a note with some of you and we can discuss this matter at greater lengths
If you're curious to know some of my other favorite films you can look up the revised best of lists