"Concerning the issue of best films vs. favorites. I certainly see what you mean, although I think my lists would overlap each other more than yours do."
Actually, you're probably right. The fact is that once you get past the top 3 choices on both of my lists (KANE, RULES OF THE GAME & THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP), my list DO NOT look anything alike.
I think...no...I KNOW why this is the case. I decided a long time ago (and I'm ONLY 36) that people don't take film "seriously". I don't mean that they don't seriously LOVE film, but they do not hold it in the same high regard as other art forms. I made the suggestion on another site that, in a way, I think a lot of film lovers don't even RESPECT the artform. I gave the example of of the two buddha statues that the Taliban government in Afghanistan blew up. For weeks we watched as they chipped away at, and, then, finally blew them up. Most people in the so called "civilised" world looked on in horror. It didn't matter what religion you were...you just knew it was WRONG! I suggested to the posters on the message board of that site that I doubt anyone would "bat an eye" if the negative for PORKY'S was blown up. Some might say that it was sad. Others might say GOOD, it's a piece of cr_p! But I doubt that the vast majority of people would really care. I'D CARE! I do not like the film, but I think the destruction of any work of art (regardless of its quality) is sad.
One of my favourite line in Renoir's GRAND ILLUSION is one of the simplest. It happens just after the Russian soldiers find out that the Czarina hasn't sent them a "care package" of vodka. The Czarina's dead (they don't know this) and the new Bolshevik government has sent them BOOKS. The Russian are so upset they light the books on fire. The French scholar who is imprisoned with them says, very quietly because he is horrified, "You don't burn books."
I guess what I'm getting at is that it is time we (those who love film), get away from questions about whether or not we "like" or "dislike" a film. perhaps, we should move onto the question of how we are going to elevate the artform so that it is held in the same regard as literature, painting, sculpture, music and architecture. Most of us can make distinctions in other artforms. I'll give an example:
If you set in front of a person a painting of "Dogs playing poker", a 25000 year old cave painting and the MONA LISA, most could evaluate their "worth". The "Dogs playing poker" painting can fill us with happiness (Homer Simpson: "They're dogs...And...They're playing poker...Ah Hah Hah Hah Hah!"), but very few would consider it "great art". The cave painting can fill us with happiness too, but I think it is a happiness that comes from the thought, "This is who we are...this is what we were able to do, even, 'back then'!". Most people, I would hope, would also be able to realise that the painting, while no masterpiece, is more worthy and, perhaps,"better" than the dog painting. But when you get to the MONA LISA, I think, you are entering a different sphere. It is the type of painting that actually elevates the human race. We can look at it and say, "Yes...This is what WE are capable of!"
I could give hundreds of examples where we make these types of distinctions all the time, in ALL the arts except...film. Film, because it was the first artform designed and aimed at a "mass market" has always been an artform that people feel should be evaluated based solely on whether they liked it or not. I don't think that that is "good enough" any more. Unless we all (those that love film) start taking film "more seriously", I'm afraid that the artform won't survive. It will be pushed aside, to make way for the next artform that JUST appeals to a person's need for entertainment or pleasure.
If I make the distinctions I do in my BESTS and FAVOURITES lists, it is because I feel that this is my small way of elevating the "art of film". I manage a specialty video store that deals only in the type of product that this site has been designed to showcase and I make my decisions on what to add to our rental collection based on what I think is worthy of inclusion. I would much rather add a DVD of Lumiere Brother shorts from 1896 to my collection than the latest monstrosity from Hollywood. Why? Because, although I know I can make more money from something like THE SUM OF ALL FEARS, I know that it is the Lumiere Brothers short that people WILL be watching ten years from now...the jury is still out over whether THE SUM OF ALL FEARS will have that sort of staying power.