They Shoot Pictures, Don't They have released a spreadsheet with the votes for all 5,945 films that received votes, so I can now check to see how my stragglers did. As I noted earlier, 8 of my 25 choices did not make the list of the top 1005. Here is how they fared:
I hadn't seen any films directed by Lynn Shelton, although I've enjoyed her work on TV series like Mad Men, Master of None, Shameless, Casual, and GLOW. She has a solid connection with her actors, which is very useful in a film that is apparently largely improvised (the listed writers are Shelton and Michael Patrick O'Brien). It's not entirely surprising that this cast works well with improvisation, as most of them have roots in that style. In fact, the cast is so good that it's not easy to guess that the dialogue is improvised.
Beyond that, actors like Marc Maron and Michaela Watkins are excellent, and I'm always happy to see Toby Huss. Others, like Jon Bass and Jillian Bell, are also good, although I wasn't sure I had seen any of their work (turns out I have, but apparently they didn't make a big impression on me).
I wanted to like Sword of Trust ... it's Shelton's last film, as she died in 2020, and I'm a fan of Maron, who was in a relationship with Shelton at the end and who has spoken movingly of her. But the best I can say is that I didn't dislike it. There's a shaggy-dog feel to the plot, and the film relies a lot on the individual scenes, which I didn't always connect with. There is something timely about the way Sword of Trust shows us conspiracy theorists (did you know the South won the Civil War?). I never quit rooting for the movie, and its short running time meant it was over before I lost interest. Everyone does good work, but overall, I wanted a little more.
About a month ago, I took part in a poll at the They Shoot Pictures, Don't They website where users listed their 25 favorite films. They received 1,983 replies, with a total of 5,945 films chosen. The final results of that poll have been posted. I find things like this endlessly fascinating. If you are like me, you'll want to check out the site, where you can see lists like "Ten Highest Ranked Films in the 1,000 Greatest Films List That Are Not in the 1,005 Film Favourites List", "Ten Lowest Ranked 21st Century Films in the 21st Century’s Most Acclaimed Films List That Are in the 1,005 Film Favourites List", and "Leading 25 Directors (Total Votes)". I may delve into this further in a later post, but for now, here again are the 25 films I chose, listed by their ranking on the final list. First, films that did not make the Top 1005: