Screening rats and bootleg-swappers always have a holy grail. It sits at the top of a list of titles, on a folded sheet of notebook paper or in a Word document, bolded, underlined, or marked with a little squiggly star. The list can start as a practical, to-do-type aid, but, after a few years, it becomes a formality, because the kind of person who maintains a list for that long already has the titles memorized. The list is a totem, and the satisfaction of crossing out an item or making a new list rubs some spot and soothes. These lists never get smaller; they only grow more obscure until they are filled with titles the list-maker has only a slim chance of ever seeing.
People who self-identify as snobs do not keep these kinds of lists, because people who self-identify as snobs are generally undiscerning and uncurious—they are, in short, the kind of people you don’t want to hang around if you’re interested in movies in a serious and possibly unhealthy way. Aching, list-making movie-madness tends to attract two types of people: connoisseurs and goofs. (Note: This is a non-standard taxonomy.) Connoisseurs are organized viewers who need to try everything one by one; they’re the kind of people who attend full retrospectives for directors they don’t like, just to figure out why they don’t like them. Goofs have unpredictable viewing habits; at festivals, they’ll skip the hyped stuff in favor of something that is totally unpromising, but which will probably never screen again.