Well. I suppose that I could always say, "How about one-hundred-and-twenty-five, then?" or some such thing, but at a certain point the list-making has got to stop. And so now to answer the commenters asking "But what about...?"
Terrence Malick's The New World. I ought to have known it would come up. It was not omitted out of forgetfulness, and on the other hand I could have made life easy for myself and listed it and made my case based on what I admire about it. But I don't want to be evasive, or coy, or cute about it; I am very ambivalent about the picture. I am not ambivalent about it because I'm overly bothered by the non-linear editing. Nor am I bugged by the shot durations. I don't feel it often devolves into an unrelated series of pretty pictures. And I think the use of Wagner in the picture is not merely apt but moving. In fact, I think the way the Rheingold music helps complete the circle the film's ending makes with its beginning is sheer bloody genius, and that the way the film's ending links to its beginning would be sheer bloody genius even without the music.
No, my objection to The New World is that it introduces a heretofore unknown quantity into the Malickean universe: that of sentimentality. Too often what is strange and striking and, yes, new about this vision is undercut by a seepage of pious treacle. As in, to name one for-instance, the bit in the section titled "A Proposal" in which Q'orianka Kilcher's Pocahontas communes with a tree. "Other people direct movie. Terrence Malick builds cathedrals," pronounced one of this film's most passionate champions, Matt Zoller Seitz. Too often in this film Malick seems to be announcing that he's building a cathedral, and there's a concomitant sogginess of thought in that which skews the detachment that makes the beauty of his prior films so bracing and unusual. I prefer cinematic poetry with a somewhat stiffer spine, finally.
As for other pictures that it would seem should have been naturals for my list, given my past praise of them or how their various makers would seem to jibe with the sensibility suggested by said list, well...I feel kind of sad that I was not compelled to list such past fave raves as Crowe's Almost Famous, Zweigof' Zwigoff's Ghost World, and Carax's Pola X. But if I'm being 100% honest with myself...well, it's not a matter of those films necessarily dropping in my personal estimation but of them no longer resonating so deeply in my consciousness. I recall them admiringly and yet never say "I want/need to see that again." This ought not be taken as a dismissal, because it isn't; merely an acknowledgement of the quirks of subjectivity.
The complete ignoring of the Maddin work is something more troubling and inexcusable. The only thing I can offer in my defense is that I tend to see Maddin as constituting a medium of his own. I rarely, if ever, perceive his work through a consciously cinematic prism, despite the pervasive elements of pastiche in that work. Everything he produced in the 'oughts, with the exceptions of the minor Dracula ballet film and the outright misfire The Saddest Music In The World, is thoroughly fantastic.
And documentaries? Another subjectivity-synapse glitch. There are many, many, many I admire, have been engaged by, and that have influenced my thinking. And yet there's a very real sense in which this old Mario Bava fan just doesn't care so much about them that he will be able to conjure them up in his consciousness without some prodding. If I had been putting such a list together in some professional capacity, and I had an editor who said to me, "Dude, you've got to put some documentaries on here," well, they would have turned up. But I wasn't, and I didn't. (Does Tom Roston wants to chime in for old time's sake? It's probably too late.)
Responding to a few individual queries:
I didn't think Lust, Caution quite got to where it waned/needed to go. As much goodness as there is in Wendy and Lucy, putting a cross so prominently around the neck of the weasely grocery-store teen was a near-unforgivable bit of deck-stacking that almost entirely spoiled the remainder of the film for me. Humpday? I thought the premise could have been disposed of neatly in a 25-minute short. I also thought it looked like ass. (This is perhaps an overly brusque assessment, but it also represents my puzzlement—I just don't see what others see in it.) Mysterious Skin SHOULD have been on my list, damn it, but what can I take off to make room?
I expect disagreement and dissent, so have at it. Unless you're N.P. Thompson, that is.