In sportscasting and sports betting terminology the word “chalk” denotes a team or program with a long history of success and that is thus a prohibitive favorite to emerge victorious over underdogs or dark horses. Betting on chalk means predicting that all your number one seeds will advance in a tournament or all your heavily favored teams will win.
The 2009 Toronto International Film Festival was chock full of chalk, and while that’s not a bad thing—it’s actually a good thing for those who like quality films—no pretentious film critic ever made himself look smarter than everyone else (or ahead of the curve) by walking out of a major film festival shouting, “Campion! Hornby! Kore-eda!” or “me too!”
Then again, maybe the point is not to make myself look clever or to say what I liked so much as to try to highlight what different readers might like. So for my festival wrap at Christianity Today Movies, I tried to highlight some films that might appeal to different tastes. To play with the sports metaphor, call it a final four of quality films representing best bets for different viewing temperaments.
One caveat–I probably would have picked Bright Star as my commercial, narrative “best bet,” but as that film is already out in select cities, I tried to adhere to the spirit of the piece, which was to highlight good films to look for down the road.