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The Reeler Blog

Like a Wonky, Pasty Phoenix, Voice Critics' Poll Rises at indieWIRE

Back in the early, dark-ish November days when it was evident the Village Voice's year-end film critics' poll would be discontinued, the only consolation its devotees had was its possible revival in 2007. But then came word that former Voice film kingpin Dennis Lim was cooking something up with indieWIRE, and almost before we knew it -- wham-o -- like a safe dropped from a helicopter, the inaugural iW Critics' Poll has landed online.

I'll leave most of the news to Lim and Co., though you have likely already heard the biggest deets: The Death of Mr. Lazarescu rests at the top of the pile, with L'Enfant, The Departed, Inland Empire and Army of Shadows trailing respectively in the top five. To the extent that I care about this kind of clubby shit to begin with, the last film's inclusion troubles me a bit; made in 1969 yet not having been released in the United States before this year, I still can't quite get my head around how it can "compete" against, say, Half Nelson or Borat (it won the NY Film Critics Circle's Best Foreign Film award by accident). At best, I'm stuck relying on the ostensibly foolproof objectivity device Lim smuggled out of Voice HQ with the rest of his possessions.

Or, as Lim explains:

Naturally, [Army of Shadows] also did well on the trusty Passiondex, a superbly geeky measure of partisan intensity devised by J. Hoberman (and derived by multiplying a film's average score with the proportion of its voters who ranked it first). Considering only the Top 60 [!] films, and thus excluding the outliers that only received one or two votes, Army of Shadows tops the Passiondex rankings with a whopping 5.24. (Dave Chappelle's Block Party followed with 3.17.) Since the nomination of a 37-year-old film as the best of 2006 could be construed as vote of no confidence in the state of contemporary film, a more appropriate term here may be "Dispassiondex."

Maybe so, but as far as I can tell, there aren't even any hyperbolic defenses of Shadows' selection in the poll's always-fun-to-read-until-the-ejaculate-
streaks-your-hair comments sections
. Alas. Anyhow, Lim has all the gregarious film wonkery you can stand in his introduction; throw on the safety goggles and read the rest at your own risk.

Posted at December 21, 2006 3:42 PM

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