Anyway, I posted everywhere and after a couple days, I got a grand total of... zero requests. Nobody had an idea for a unique Top Ten List.
Actually, that's really my fault I think. I admittedly haven't been hanging around or commenting on the FB groups the way I used to recently. I should be I guess, but it hasn't exactly been rewarding lately. I don't know, I get sick of tired of answering the same, "What movie do you love, that everyone else hates question," and then getting yelled at for hating "Se7en" or whatever film it is everybody else is wrong on. Or talking about superhero movies. (Sigh) I'm not complaining about the groups or the people in this case, (Although I sorta am actually) but it's just the monotony that annoys me. I'm usually looking around for things that are more interesting or different and someitmes I just don't find them.
So, yeah that's my fault, I should be more engaging across as many social media and outlets as possible and frankly I just haven't been. I need to be and I'll try to be, and well, not that it'll guarantee me that the next time I do this I'll get some/more/a request but, instead of taking the best requests I get and then doing a poll; I asked a couple trusted FB friends for idea and take the one that I actually thought was halfway decent and decided to do that. That's Dennis Avant.
So, Top Ten Dinner Scenes. What does that entail? It's-, well, it's a scene in which, the characters are eating dinner? How do you determine the best of those? Ummmmmmmm- I don't know exactly to be honest.
Well, I'll do my best!
Okay, I did set up a few guidelines. One, the characters had to be sitting down to eat dinner. Not breakfast, not lunch, not brunch, not a snack, dinner. And frankly the "sitting down" part was somewhat subjective. After that, it kinda was a judgment call. Normally, when I come up with these lists, I usually easily find some kind of idea or guidelines on what constitutes the "best" of the subject matter, but this was kinda tricky. I thought about the iconic nature of the scenes, sure; I thought about how important is the dinner, or the fact that they're having dinner to the scenes, I thought about what having a dinner ultimately meant. I thought what was served. I thought about how important the fact that they were having dinner meant to the piece of work. I thought about what constitutes a scene. I thought about it's importance to the piece of work, to the medium.
I don't know, this I feel is a much more subjective list then I usually make. I mean, sure all lists like these are "subjective", but-eh, there's eh, usually there's a way to parse this out logically. Trying to figure out a logically and reasonably way to explain why I consider some dinner scenes to be greater or more important then others, well,... well, I'm gonna try and see what I come up with.
(A few days later)
(Deep nasal breath)
Okay, I think my Top Ten. This was not easy, but I think I got this, right! Ish. There's a lot of different kinds of Dinner scenes, and I actually like a lot of movies that have food as a focus, so I had to make some painful cuts here. But, let's all sit down for a rare, ten-course list of some delectable scenes through history. Let's count down...
TOP TEN DINNER SCENES!
The thing about dinner, at least traditionally, is that somehow, it's become the go-to de facto, time of day where the family comes together every night. It's the cliche sign of a loving familial unit, the parents and kids coming together every night, for the loving, preferably homemade meal. Sometimes they're prayer I'm told. Honestly, I do relate to that and a I do respect that, but I love it when that moment completely annihilator and destroyed!
10. "American Beauty"-Thrown Dinner Plate
I think "American Beauty" gets a lot of shit it doesn't deserve. Now that said, I did have a lot of options for scenes that seem to take the traditional signal of traditional family love and togetherness and dropping it on it's head, but this was the movie that in the mainstream really pulled back the true curtain on the ideals of suburbia. Sure there'd been other media like Todd Solondz's "Happiness" and several TV shows that perhaps satirized or undercut these purported values, but this was the first time that a media really undercut just how perverted and unnatural the construct is. And it was this scene in particular that symboled the destruction of it. If I had to pick one scene to represent the decimation of the dinner being the home base of the family unit, this is it.
Now, what I described with "American Beauty", is of course, an American perspective on dinner and food. Other countries perhaps, have other ideas on what sitting down for dinner is, and other ways of polluting that tradition.
9. "Daisies"-Devouring Indulgence
Trying to conceptualize and explain "Daisies" is difficult, I did try once; you can read that Canon of Film post at the link below:
But this scene is definitely a parody of dinner and indulgence, but mostly, it's a satire of the opulence of Communist controlled Russia. Basically, those two women have decided to just, indulge in excess of everything, love, lust, sex, and food. If "American Beauty" was a indignation of the traditional, the two girls in "Daisies, engorging, and stripping and dancing all over a banquet of the most expensive and extravangent of foods that, frankly would be too much for dozens of people is giving a sardonic middle finger to the establishment. At least that's my interpretation of the scene, Czech New Wave was weird to begin with and "Daisies" might be the strangest, most nonsensical and insane of the bunch. But it's gluttonous excess taken down to ir's most absurd level. In hindsight, I kinda think of these two the same way I think of the Michelle Williams and Kirsten Dunst characters in "Dick", that movie from the '90s that hypothesized that Deep Throat were Checkers' teenage dogwalkers.
I did think about putting this scene on the list. What? I was requested "Top Ten Dinner Scenes" not "Dinner Scenes in Movies"? Everything, is on the table. Ultimately though, is this dinner? I mean, it's an exchange of chilis, I'm not sure it's dinner. Although once a few people knew I was doing this list, I wasrecommended numerous memorable scenes where, well, the characters were having people for dinner. (Shrugs) I thought about a couple of them. I decided on, well, the most classic one.
8. "Titus Andronicus"-Act V, Scene III
I couldn't really find a great clip for this one, and there's only one really notable film adaptation of "Titus Andronicus" and that's Julie Taymor's "Titus", which I have not seen yet, but this is usually the play that somewhat inspired all those scenes. And of course, it's not originally Shakespeare either, he probably stole that idea from,-, well, take your pick. This isn't as new and daring and idea as it seems. I usually associate it with the Medea myth, but I don't actually think it's even in that myth, that story more about a mother killing her children in order for their father to not get them. There's several folklore and mythology tales, many of which might've been lost to time and reimagined and morphed into something else by this point; I'm just gonna include this one as an altogether inspiration. Besides, I have to have a Shakespeare dinner scene on here, and I guess there's a couple others I could've picked, but this is the one most seems to matter that it's a dinner. Or a banquet as it's described in the text. Oh, also in this scene, everybody kills everybody else after this revelation; "Titus Andronicus" is just a fucked up macabre play, even for Shakespeare, it's like, what the fuck?!
So much death. Dead bodies all around, dead bodies in the meatpies. Can't we just have a nice, romantic date? Maybe at a nice little place; with perfect romantic atmosphere, just you know-, the perfect place to take a date and fall in love?
7. "The Lady and the Tramp"-Bella Notte
Oh, like it doesn't belong here!? C'mon, you name a more famous romantic dinner date scene?! I know it's the best and most famous one, 'cause it's the most parodied one of all. I don't even think you're allowed ot eat spaghetti on dates anymore because of how, well, admittedly kinda warped and gross this scene is. (They're dogs, they can get away with it; everybody else, use utensils, and also, don't share a plate of food at restaurant, get your girl her own meal!) But you know, this is one of my favorite movies, and it's still a great scene. It's a little idyllic and parodied to death now, but you know, secretly, any romantic dinner date scene you can imagine, really wants to be this perfect. And most dinner dates for that matter. Although, is it just me, but do I think the breadsticks look more appetizing then the pasta? Maybe that's just me.
You see, Tramp and Lady are lucky. They're able to actually enjoy their romantic meal together, without you, any other complications getting in the way. They can eat their spaghetti and fall in love naturally. Sometimes, in order to truly express that love at the dinner table, you need a little, push, if you get my drift... Especially if there's people in the way. It's a good thing that the right food can trickle our taste buds and directly into the errogenous nerves of our brains.
6. "Like Water for Chocolate"-Quail with Rose Pedal Sauce
"Like Water for Chocolate" or "Como Agua Para Chocolate" has a few scenes that could've easily made this list, since whatever Tita makes effects everybody who eats it, and she puts whatever she's feeling emotionally into her food..., well, if she's feeling aroused, and in particular, for another who she's feeding. Well, it's cliche, but they do say that the best way to a Man's heart is through his stomach? (Shrugs) Anyway, I like this scene because of that. Food is something that, in fairy tales and fantasy can have significant powers to effect us, and I guess in real, although if you know what happens to Gertrudis, the poor girl who gets caught between Tita and Pedro's feeling for each other, um, well, perhaps maybe don't have so many rose pedals in the sauce next time. Those who've seen the movie know what I'm talking about. And I guess there are other scenes I could list that exemplify the errogenuous powers of food, but you know, it's not like that scene from "9 1/2 Weeks" was dinner; that was more like a-eh, midnight snack, I guess? Yeah, I'm picking this one instead.
I said before that I'm not limiting this list to movies, and I stand by that. There's gotta be dozens of great dinner scenes all through other media. Hell, if I really wanted to be cheeky; I could've put Da Vinci's "The Last Supper" on here. Yeah, one of the most famous paintings in the world depicts arguably the world's most infamous dinner scene. That said, I was thinking more about television dinner scenes. The problem is that historically they are so common in that medium that it's kinda difficult to distinguish and rank them. There's a few that stand out though. "All in the Family" has quite a few good ones, but there's so many, they basically blend together. "The Sopranos", almost ends on a dinner scene, but they only really got to the appetizer though. They had others too though that were really good. "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" was notorious for Mary's terrible parties and a couple of those were sit-down dinners. Oh, and of course, the greatest holiday for sit-down dinners in television history, at least American television, is Thanksgiving. It's kinda hard to not do a holiday submission into these lists as well, since so many center around a dinner, and especially with television, most series eventually push their way to a holiday episode or too, even the ones that you'd think wouldn't need to.
5. "Cheers"-"Thanksgiving Orphans"-Sam Malone, Kiss Your Butt Goodbye!
Often regarded as not only the best episode of the series, but among the greatest TV episodes of all-time, "Thanksgiving Orphans" takes all the tension and frustration that comes with the holiday get-togethers, especially the makeshift ones, where all the loneliest of characters that don't have a place full of their family to be at, and it quickly devolves into tension, frustration, and of course, arguably the most famous food fight in television history. Nobody has a place to be for Thanksgiving, and everybody's gathered at a pot luck at Carla's and the turkey just isn't ready yet, and that's all the time they need to sit down, not eat, and get frustrated waiting. Dinner scenes doesn't always mean you're getting fed, even if that's the intent. Also, trying to keep rituals in a scenario where obviously no rituals are being accepted, oh, Diane deserves to have Thanksgiving dissolve into madness sometimes. Anyway, I feel like I had to put one TV dinner scene on here, and this one immediately stands out and I think you can still argue that it is indeed the best one of the medium; it's certainly one of the most influential.
4. "Eat Drink Man Woman"-I have an announcement scenes
Okay, I'm cheating a bit with this selection. I feel like I had to put at least a couple food movies on this list; and when it comes to the dinner scenes being more valuable in movies, well, it's hard to top Ang Lee's "Eat Drink Man Woman". It's also hard to find the best dinner scene in the movie, but basically all the best ones go the same way. Chu, a great chef who's lost his sense of taste, makes these elaborate and delectable means for his three troubled daughters and every time they seem to meet at dinner, somebody says, "I have an announcement," and they make their announcement and we learn something more and more amazing and shocking each time. I love it, it's like, every audience is so enthranced by the food, and the Chef's daughter are both nitpicky about it, and meanwhile are all off living their own lives and making their own mistakes and this is when they decide to drop all the family bombshells. I can think of a lot of media that uses the family dinner table as the epicenter for family drama, but I always think of this as being the best use of it, especially since we have so much focus on the food that having that undercut all the time by some, in many cases shocking announcements...; I can't help but smile when I think of this film. I've written on this film before it you want to check out that Canon of Film post as well, it's at the link below:
So, there's a really famous movie that's not on this list called "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie". I've written on it before at the link below:
It's by the great surrealist director Luis Bunuel and basically the entire movie is a group of dinner guest who keep trying to sit down for dinner, except they never actually do. Their plans to sit down are constantly getting foiled by numerous circumstances. Sometimes they chef's dies. Sometimes, they get distracted by a story a waiter is telling, sometimes the food they're trying to eat isn't real and it turns out they're on a stage part of a play..., it's really surreal, and it's one of his best films. But again, they don't actually succeed at sitting down to eat dinner. The thing is, he kinda made another movie that was basically the opposite of this.
3. "The Exterminating Angel"-The Dinner Party That No One Can Leave
Actually, "The Discreet Charm..." came afterwards so technically that film is sorta the opposite of this one, Bunuel's "The Exterminating Angel". In this movie, a group of upper class guests sit down and have a dinner party, and then, they can't leave. I don't know why they can't, or aren't allowed to leave, but they just can't and they don't. You might remember this movie being reference in Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris", when the Owen Wilson character suggests the idea to a young Bunuel who doesn't get the idea at all, but yeah, this is a thing. It too is a great surreal film, and I love how at first, it seems like a normal party, and then one person tries to leave and it seems like more food comes across the line in the mansion and things begin to degenerate from there.. Eventually, the national guard and army are called as the guests don't leave for weeks. Basically, it's the same symbolic absurdism of "The Discreet Charm...", just with the story reversed. I don't know which is better; I'm more familiar with "The Discreet Charm..." but they're both pretty much insane, but this one definitely has the singular, better dinner scene.
2. "Babette's Feast"-The Feast
Another food movie and another dinner scene that takes up a huge chunk of the movie. "Babette's Feast" is again another movie in my Canon of Film, the link below:
The reason though this one ranks higher then "The Extraordinary Angel" is context. "The Exterminating Angel" is a satire and mockery of the extravagent dinners that the rich embrace as signifiers of the wealth and oppulescence, here, the dinner scene is actually a showcase of the artistic nature of cooking and expressing oneself through the food that they make for others. Babette, has worked as a cook for two old sisters on a small Danish island ultra conservative Danish town who's father a religious zealot pastor, founded, in kind of a similar religious commune as the Shakers or Amish or something of that nature, and she wins a $10,000 prize and the town believes that since she came from the outside world and all the strange ingredients and food she's bringing in to make a meal on the anniversary of the Pastor's birthday, that A. she's leaving them for to go back, and B. she's leaving with what is a very controversial and somewhat grotesque meal as an embarassment to them, and while they decide to let her go on with the meal, they decide not to react to the food they're eating. Only an out-of-town military officer recognizes the artistic opulescence and amazement of the food they're eating, at least admittingly, but the sequence is astonishing, craveable, deluctable, touching and hilarious. It's also about using food, or indeed any art as a powerful statement of graciousness and thanks, and of affection. Food is indeed life, and "Babette's Feast" shows the life in that who makes it, and the effect of that life when it's made with care and affection for others. "Babette's Feast" is not only one of the best food movies, but it's also one of the best movies about the power of art, and the fact that this can be shown so wonderfully, just through a dinner, is quite spectacular.
Before I get to number one, I'm gonna go over some honorable mentions. No particular order, just some of the other dinner scenes I considered.
"The Gold Rush"-The Dance of the Dinner Rolls-There aren't too many silent movie dinner scenes that I thought deserved consideration, but this was clearly at the top of those lists. Reportedly, when the movie was first released, audiences often insisted that they rewind the tape to replay this scene multiple times because of how much they enjoyed Chaplin's little sketch. Ironically btw, it was actually first shown in an old short film of his called "The Count", but "The Gold Rush" is the famous one.
"Rope"-Dead body in the table-It pains me to leave off my favorite Hitchcock movie, but- I mean, this is a dinner party, but the emphasis ironically isn't as much on the actual dinner-eating scene as others are.
"Big Night"-Timpano dinner-This might've made a list of the top "Dinner Montages", but sadly the whole scene is undercut by the narrative, but this is a great dinner scene and a great movie, even if the more touching scene is actually the omelet breakfast scene the next morning.
"The Godfather Part II"-Michael's flashback-I'm surprised this didn't make the list. Logically I just thought that the fact that it was a dinner scene was just inconsequential enough to miss. Which is true enough, it happens to be a dinner scene, but it hypothetically could've been any family scene.
"American History X" Father's Racist Lessons-I actually considered two different scenes from this movie, both of which are powerful, but I actually think this one was more important ultimately, yeah sure the other one is, frightentingly violent, and I could've included that, but I chose the "American Beauty" scene instead to encaptulate all scenes of distress at the dinner table.
"The Sopranos"-"Made in America"-Onion rings blackout-I like the ending, but I do wish they got to the food. Dammit Meadow, learn to parallel park.
"The Sopranos"-"I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano"-Celebratory Dinner-Oh there was also this one. This dinner actually gets referenced in that ending dinner scene of the series.
"Goodfellas"-Mama Scorsese's Dinner. Entering Through the Back One Take, Prison Dinner-I'm gonna shove all three of these together; I never realized it 'til now, but food is very important in "Goodfellas". I couldn't a find for either on the list, but they're all so different as well.
"Rent"-"La Vie Boheme"-I was trying to figure out a way to get a musical scene into this list, this came the closest. Also, yes, I'm a "Rent"-apologist, I don't care. It gets way too much shit, especially considering that the play is essentially unfinished; so I think the parts about it that are a little sketchy, should get more of a break 'cause of that.
"The Godfather"-Drop The Gun-It's a great scene, but it just missed the list.
"Gosford Park"-Class Dinners-Again, I could argue this is more montage, and several different dinner scenes, but they're all good. It probably doesn't help that we've got dozens of other examples of the multiple levels of the rich British household and the levels and castes of those who live there that this one probably isn't as memorable, outside of Maggie Smith, just Maggie Smith-ing all over the scene. And even then.....
The Kids Are All Right-Reveal of Relationship-This is a memorable scene, but I'm actually not sure I actually like it that much. Love the movie though.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show- Eddie's Death Revealed-Another one with a Dead Body for dinner, and yet, this is probably the least memorable scene in the movie.
Dinner Rush-Two On the Balcony-This is my favorite food movie of all-time, and nobody seems to know this one. I thought about putting it here, but is that one dinner, or is this many dinners? "Champagne for the cops, dinner for the crooks; something is not right here." (Shrugs)
Chocolat-Armande's Last Meal-Great scene, great sequence, just didn't make the list. Also, I know chocolate is in some savory sauces, especially moles, but it's rarely the main ingredient in those sauces. I can't imagine some of this food is as good as they make it out, even with Juliette Binoche being a chocolate witching it to be good. Yeah, she is totally a witch btw.
"Beauty and the Beast"-Manners-I guess I could've had "Be Our Guest" being the dinner scene from this one, but I always think of this scene first, where The Beast is trying to impress Belle and not be so, beastly with his table manners. Besides, I didn't want Dinner-for-One scenes on the list.
"Monty Python and the Meaning of Life"-Wafer Thin Mint-Memorable, but gross.
"The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"-Crazed Family Dinner-You know, strangely I don't think of this scene when I think of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," I usually remember the lead-up scenes, and the sliding butcher door, or that weird, high hat following shot of the girl walking.
"A Christmas Story"-Chinese Christmas-This is the closest a Christmas dinner scene came to making the list, but honestly, I didn't seriously consider it.
"Meet the Parents"-I Have Nipples Greg...-I guess I do like this movie, but I just don't have too many actual thoughts on it.
"Hannah and Her Sisters"-Thanksgivings-Multiple scenes, Thanksgiving used as a passing of time motif, but I like its used here and this is one of my favorite Woody Allen movies.
"Interiors"-Uncomfortable Dinner-I actually think is probably Woody's best dinner scene; yeah the most Bergmanesque one. Come to think of it, does Bergman have a good dinner scene?
"Smiles of a Summer Night"-Wine at dinner.- Oh yeah he does. I know most would probably pick one of the dinner scenes from "Fanny & Alexander", but I'm sticking with this one; this is his best dinner scene.
"Hook"-Imaginary Foodfight-The older I get, the weirder "Hook" seems to me. I'm not sure why; I did love it as a kid.
"Sideways"-Double Date/Drink & Dial-Another movie with a few different scenes I considered, this one was the closest to making it.
"Master-of-None"-"Thanksgiving"-Thanksgiving-This is the rare TV episode with a bunch of great dinners scenes.
"Get Out"-Family Dinner-Good scene; I gotta admit that traditional horror movies just didn't find room on this list, but there are several good ones in that genre, and many different kinds as well.
"Phantom Thread"-Mushrooms-I used to think that it was never a good idea to date an artist, 'cause you break up with her and suddenly you're no longer Uncle Joey, you're the guy "You Oughta Know" is about, but probably not a decent idea to date a waitress/cook either.
"Under the Skin"-First Meal-Okay, I take it back, this is the best "Dinner-for-One" scene.
"Star Trek: The Next Generation"-"Conspiracy"-Starfleet Generals Dinner-Another gross one, and one I always end up catching in reruns too.
"About Schmidt"-Lazy Susan Dinner-There's a lot to like in this scene, but am I only one who notices how gigantic the lazy susan that holds the dinner is in the middle of the table and finds it hilarious.
"The Aviator"-Peas/Errol Flynn-If you ever want to study a scene shot-by-shot and not want to use the cliche, "North By Northwest" cropduster scene, this would be the one I'd use.
"Crazy Rich Asians"- Newton Food Centre-I don't have anything to say about the scene other then, to quote Liz Lemon, "I want to go to there!"
"This is Us"-"Pilgrim Rick"-Ball of Yarn-"This is Us" also is a show with great Thanksgiving episodes, and this one is really great, 'cause it shows how traditions and are continued, even with the liar reveal ending.
"Moonstruck"-Date night Dilemmas-This is another movie that I don't think is that en vogue anymore, it really is a great film with several good dinner scenes to pick from.
"The Decline of the American Empire"-Dinner Scene-I need to rewatch this one again to remember it more, although I think this one might be more memorable to me because of the men vs. women aspects to it.
"The Little Mermaid"-Dinner Fork-That's not a comb, Ariel!
"Ali: Fear Eats the Soul"-Couscous-I need to watch more Fassbinder.
"A Woman Under the Influence"-C'mon, Let's Dance-This was a really late cut; this is probably my number 11.
"Saturday Night Fever"-Would you watch the hair!-Great scene, but nobody thinks "Saturday Night Fever" and thinks of this scene first.
"Mafioso"-Italian family dinner/Squid Ink Pasta-I have to rewatch "Mafioso" but in hindsight, I don't even remember if this was dinner; this might've just been lunch. At least until the pasta get served. I do think it's hilarious that the girl originally thinks the meal was done at appetizers though; as an Italian, I know people who've fell for that trick too.
"Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!"-The Old Man and the Quiet Sons-This is an underrated dinner scene. I didn't seriously consider it, but there's a lot going on in this scene.
"The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover"-Try The Cock-I know somebody will mention this one, but I haven't seen it. If I did, yeah, maybe it would've made the list, but I still probably would've just put "Titus Andromicus" on here as the representative of Jacobian Five-Act Revenge narratives.
The Nutty Professor-"Hercules, Hercules"!-I know, Eddie Murphy is a genius. I probably should've put this on the list if for no other reason then to show just how truly difficult it is to shoot a good dinner scene. Truly, I haven't mentioned this yet, but dinner scenes are actually really complex and difficult to shoot. Even without having the same actor playing nearly every role, the amount of coverage you need, it's really time-consuming.
Alright, let's get to it.
And the Number One Dinner Scene of-(Drumroll stops!)
It's "My Dinner with Andre".
1. "My Dinner with Andre"-Basically, The Whole Movie
Of course, it's "My Dinner with Andre"! I know, it's the obvious answer; it's the obnoxious, pretentious cinefile answer, but, it's "My Dinner with Andre"! Yeah, I thought about picking something else, but it's one of the best movies of all-time, and it's literally just two old friends having a dinner conversation. Two people, basically playing loose versions of themselves, and just talking, and talking about a lot of things. Conversations and arguments that you get so wrapped up in that the entire world around them seem to disappear until the end of the night. As much as I'd love dinner to be about what's getting served, and yes, they are in a pretty nice restaurant and eating a good meal, dinner is just the reason to get together and talk with each other. It's about breaking bread with one another and conversing. The best is often the simplest. There's no good dinner where there's more then one person at a table, and nobody's saying anything or talking to each other. (Well, maybe in "The Diary of Anne Frank" or something similar to that, and even then, that's because of the tension of trying not to get caught, but that's not what dinner scenes should be about.) Character coming together, eating food, and talking, that's a dinner scene, that's "My Dinner with Andre", that's why it's number one!
I'm sure there's plenty of others I either forgot to think about and consider, or a just from a piece of media I haven't seen, so if I missed something that should've been on the list, or at least considered, please, by all means comment; especially if it's something I haven't seen, I'll know to try to get to it. Hopefully this inspires some fun debate, and I'll try to be more present in FB groups and whatnot in case the next time I ask for Top Ten Lists, or anything else.