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Why We Don’t Need Worst of the Year Lists

One of my pet peeves is Worst of the Year lists. They’ve long been something I found to be completely unnecessary. If you’ve noticed, there isn’t one from me here at Awards Radar. I had planned on posting this article late last year. Then, when last week saw the siege on the Capitol, it felt like something that still needed to be said. If that doesn’t make sense to you, just go with me for a moment. At a time where some people are indulging their worst impulses and engaging in the extremes of negativity, it’s simply something that’s out of place.

Negativity craves attention. It suffocates in silence and solitude, if you’ll allow me to mix my metaphors. Positivity, on the other hand, brings about good in the world. As the saying goes: “Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” That’s not to say that you don’t give bad movies negative reviews. You’ll see plenty of them here on the site. The thing is, that’s almost always the extent of it. After that, the biggest comment I give them is to never speak of them again. Instead, I focus on the positives, with Best of the Year lists (here, here, and here), lighting candles, as it were. It’s far more satisfying, and frankly, it’s better for the world.

Why do I think this? Well, it’s just not fun for me to needlessly bash a film. If something is bad, I get it out in my review, and then that’s it. However, going to bat for things I love? That I’ll never get tired of. At the end of the day, I want Awards Radar to be a home for positivity, not negativity. Obviously, critical thinking and intelligent critiques of cinema are a must, but the angle I always want to take when possible is one of celebration, not degradation.

What benefit does a list like these Worst of the Year ones have? Honestly, there really isn’t any. All personal lists are masturbatory, but Worst of Lists just call attention to a writer needing to take an artist to task. After a negative review, why bother? It’s just bile that really doesn’t need to exist. That’s obviously my take, and I’m not necessarily in the majority, but it’s just how I roll.

For me, last week’s horrific events just crystalized why we all need to try and do good in the world, not evil. Misguided anger and hatred can lead to some awful places. Of course, an attempted coup is not the same thing as repeatedly telling an audience that Movie X is garbage, but it’s just not something that the world needs more of. We always need more love, whether it’s film based, or not. So, that’s where I want the focus to be, whenever possible.

If you disagree, that’s fine. Such is life. All this is just to say that you won’t find my Worst of the Year list here at Awards Radar. Instead, we’ll be advocating for the best of 2020, and beyond. Series like On Our Radar serves that purpose. For better or worse, that’s just how this site is going to function. Hopefully, at least most of you agree with me…

Do you like or dislike Worst of the Year lists? Let us know!


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2 years ago

Worst of the Year lists are absolutely miserable and no good can possibly come from them.

Best case scenario: A movie I hated and prefer to forget about makes someone else’s list, and I get the bare minimum of satisfaction in agreeing with them. I won’t feel particularly good or vindicated about it. It’s more like an “Oh boy, that sure did suck, didn’t it”. I’m not going to shoot my arms up into the air with excitement just because some guy was equally as unhappy watching a movie as I was. There’s very little to feel good about here.

Worst case scenario?: A movie that moved me in a profound way and that I love with all my heart ends up getting a brand new space for any author to tear into it even more than they likely already have. Which, you know, people disagree on movies sometimes. If he or she doesn’t like a movie I love, it sucks, but it happens. But to CELEBRATE it? As if being the #1 worst movie in their opinion is some sort of honor that deserves ‘further’ recognition? At that point, you’re just stretching the negativity out way farther than it really needed to be, and you’re going to make people feel really bad for no good reason whatsoever.

2 years ago

Yeah, screw those Better Than lists! Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to come up with some more Filmaholic Face-offs so I can ask you guys which films are Better Than others….. (But in all seriousness, I agree, context is everything.)


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