Why Five?

As you may have undoubtedly noticed, I do a lot of lists on my blog.  Well, I post a lot of quotes, too, but I have done a decent about of lists as well.  It makes sense.  A lot of people make lists.  There are lists for things to do, lists for what’s popular, and, let’s face it, even writers make lists.  What exactly do you think an outline is but a list of events in a story?

In checking out the lists on my blog, you may have happened to notice a propensity for lists of five.  Sure, I have lists of ten, but they mostly for movies.  Lists of five are more common and more varied.

But why?

Five Requires Thought

Anyone can make a list of ten.  Ask anyone what their top ten favorite movies, and they will usually come up with eight before they have to start thinking about the rest.  If you ask anyone what their top five favorite movies are, then they really have to think.

Five Is Concise

Like I said, anyone can list their top ten movies, but you may be left with a bloated list that will change the next time you ask someone what their top ten movies are.  Being half that, five is smaller, less bloated, and right to the point.

It’s From A Movie… And A Book

High Fidelity (film)

High Fidelity (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If anyone has ever seen High Fidelity, you will have noticed that the main character, Rob Gordon, is constantly thinking of top five lists.  Top Five Side 1 track 1’s, top high break ups, and so on.  These lists also occur in the original Nick Hornby book, though with a bit more of a British slant.  When I saw this movie in theaters (over the course of 2 days, but that’s another story entirely), the concept of the top five stuck with me.  It was shortly after that I came up with my first top five list.

Sometimes Five Is Just Right

There are times when it just makes sense to have a list of five.  Maybe you don’t really have more than that.  That was the case when I wrote my list of favorite character races in World of Warcraft.  Maybe the list really does not need more than that.  That certainly was the case when I made my list of teams I would be on other than #teamjacob or #teamedward.

People Can Accept Five

If you really think about it, most lists happen in multiples of five.  Top Five Hamburgers, Top Ten Box Office Receipts, Top Twenty Countdown, and so on.  Sure, there is the occasional top 3, but it seems like five is the accepted minimum for lists.  At least people are comfortable with five.  You rarely see a top 4 list.  Go on, do a search for top 4 lists on Google.  You’ll end up having to search “Top 4” to make it clear.  Search Top 5 and you get tons of results.  There are even related searches for top 5.  It’s just a heck of a lot more acceptable.


And, if you really are curious as to what my top 5 movies are:

  1. Phantom of the Opera (1925 silent classic)
  2. Captain Blood (Errol Flynn pirate epic)
  3. Goldfinger (the best of all Bond movies)
  4. Evil Dead 2
  5. Henry V (the Branagh version, NOT the Olivier version)

About chyrondave

Avid comic reader, amateur writer, music fan, and someone with opinions, lots of opinions.

Posted on October 3, 2012, in Lists, Personal, The Fives and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Five is good. Five is enough to make you think without causing your brain to go into overdrive.

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