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Odds Against Tomorrow (rewatch)

Posted by martinteller on June 15, 2012

I usually approach these revisits as an opportunity to spruce up an old review, since up until recently I didn’t put much effort into them.  But I’m actually pretty satisfied with my first review of Odds… it could maybe be fleshed out a little more and broken into cohesive paragraphs, but I don’t have anything of great substance to add.  If you want to know more about my thoughts on the movie, go look up my previous post.  The only difference is this time I questioned the need for the Gloria Grahame scenes.  They illustrate Ryan’s lack of character, which we’re already aware of.  But they do provide a little bit of good dialogue, and hey, it’s Gloria Grahame.

What I’m really going to talk about (or ramble about), however, is listmaking.  When I put together my top 100 last summer, this film squeaked in at #97.  I rewatched it tonight with an eye towards rebuilding the list.  Such lists should be malleable, they shouldn’t be writ on sacred scrolls or carved into stone.  If I’d made that list a day later or a day earlier, there’d probably be some differences, especially down near the bottom.  But isn’t it odd to talk about “the bottom” of a list that represents roughly the top 2% of all movies I’ve ever seen?  Is there such a difference between #53 and #97?  Or even #1 and #97?

Theoretically there shouldn’t be.  But there is.  100 is a good number to define who you are as a film lover.  Any less is too limiting, any more and no one’s gonna bother to read it.  But I feel like maybe 75 is more appropriate.  After that, you start getting away from “movies that are precious to me” and moving towards “movies that I think are really awesome”.  Which means there are a lot of films — maybe hundreds — competing for those bottom 25-ish spots.  How to decide?  Do I like Odds Against Tomorrow more or less than other stellar noirs like The Asphalt Jungle or When Strangers Marry or Murder by Contract?  How do you begin to define those kinds of minute gradations in your level of appreciation?

For me, I believe the answer is: don’t overthink it.  Go with your gut.  If you make a “mistake” you can always revise your list next year.  Or next month.  Or tomorrow.  Obsessive listmaking is the onus of any pop culture fanatic, but it’s also a pleasure and should be treated like one.  You’re not going to “offend” a movie by leaving it off, nor are you seriously in danger of misrepresenting the flavor of your fandom (although there may be a few people who will want to question your choices).  “The list is life”?  No, the list is a game, a lark, an exercise.  MOVIES are life.

As for OAT, will it appear on my revised top 100?  What is my gut telling me?  “Undecided.”  But I still love it.  Rating: Masterpiece

IMDb
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