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How to Make a Ten Best List in Five Easy Steps

How to Make a Ten Best List in Five Easy Steps

So far we have top tens from Vulture, TIME, Vanity Fair, Sight & Sound, Artforum, Cahiers du Cinema and many more, rounded up here. Ours will drop on Friday, and in this week’s episode of Screen Talk.

Most film critics who make a ten best list use the following simple rules:

1. Include a selection of brainy consensus critical faves of the sort that are likely to be Oscar contenders.

2. Add a few popular hits as well to show that you click with the mainstream.

3. Add at least one wild blue yonder arcane title, either foreign or up-and-coming indie, that will leave readers scratching their heads, impressed with your erudition. This proves that you saw way more movies than they did.

4. Explain yourself in readable short blurbs (that many traffic-chasing editors will stick into a click-by-click photo gallery), but please have the courtesy to list the films somewhere on a single page.

5. If you want to write about the honorable mentions that almost made your list, fine, but the list itself should be pure (alphabetical is less macho than numbering your preferences). You should never have a tie, or do the chicken move of listing more than one title as number 10.

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