Posts Tagged ‘american film institute’

(17 hours smoke free and counting)

Robert Berry of Retro Crush read my take on his cover songs list yesterday and commented that I have too many rules for list making.

I own up to that. I know I do. It’s the OCD in me.

I’m about to do it again.

I mentioned yesterday the new AFI 100 Greatest Movies of All Time list. Let it be said that I rarely agree with any list the AFI puts out. I think of the American Film Institute people as a bunch of 80 year old men in derby hats and seersucker suits, sitting in smoky room, nursing glasses of warm bourbon and crying about how the film industry just ain’t what it used to be. You know, back in the day when people didn’t have to talk in films! Back in the day when they didn’t have all this fancy schmancy color stuff. Simpler times when there were no gizmos and gadgets to make special effects look real! And then the nurses come in to wheel them back to their rooms, where they watch The Maltese Falcon on an old RCA tv and whisper “Rosebud” in their sleep.

Here’s what irks me most about this list: Calling it the GREATEST films of all time. When you look through the list, you just know why some of these movies are on it. Cinematic achievement. Setting standards. Technical breakthroughs. This is the same problem I have with any music list titled GREATEST songs/albums of all time. “This album changed the direction of rock and roll” does not make it great. It makes it important. Influential. But not necessarily great.

Greatest movies should be ones that you would watch over and over again. Films that bring you joy, make you cry, give you your money’s worth in entertainment. Yes, they should have good acting and good directing and all that, but that is not paramount to making it great. A great movie is one that makes you leave the theater saying “Holy shit. I have to see that again.” Or one, like Apocalypse Now, which makes you sit in the darkened theater for fifteen minutes after the credits have rolled, jaw dropped, still trying to process what happened.

This is why GREATEST anything lists are too subjective to be touted as definitive. It’s so damn smug of the AFI to present this list to the public with all this fanfare and snobbery as if they were revealing to you the only true movie list that matters. I picture one of those cranky old men sitting in that smoky room, handing an envelope to a courier. “Quick, boy. Deliver this list. The people need to know what movies they should be watching!”

Obviously, I disagree with the list. But my own top 100 list would include zombies and severed hands and cursing cartoon children, so maybe my opinion shouldn’t count for much.

Which is really my point. I don’t need the opinion of a bunch of film snobs to tell me what the greatest movies of all time are. Who cares what they think?

You know what? I HATED Forrest Gump. I left the theater feeling like I’d just been mind-raped. I’ve never seen Gone With the Wind or Titanic or Lawrence of Arabia and I really don’t care if I ever do. I could go down this list and scratch off at least half of their choices. 2001? Boring. Annie Hall? Mind numbing. Star Wars? Yea, I LOVE Star Wars to death but everyone knows that Empire Strikes Back was the better movie of the two. The Sixth Sense? ARE YOU SHITTING ME? How in bloody hell can that movie be included on a list of 100 GREATEST? What made that movie great? Just because it had a surprise ending that I saw coming two hours earlier? That film should be taken off the list for the sole reason that it made us have to endure the career of M. Night Shamalamawhatever. Hell, I’d rather see a Uwe Boll movie up there than that piece of excrement.

I’m a little cranky today.

I’m sure you are saying right now, “Gee, Michele, if you think this list is such crap, then why don’t you tell us what YOU think the 100 greatest movies are?”

Well. I don’t really have time to write out a list of 100. And even if I did, that list would probably change from month to month. But I’ll tell you what. Because I still have a little time left before I have to leave for work, and because I am jonesin for a cigarette right now and need to keep my hands busy before they reach for the pack sitting within five inches of me, I’ll throw down some of my favorite movies for you, just so you can see that the AFI and I differ immensely on what makes a great movie, therefore my opinion of their snobby old men in nursing homes and their lists really doesn’t matter much.

Remember. “Great” means I got a lot of enjoyment out of it and I’d see it again and again and could probably repeat a ton of quotes from the movie, if not recite the whole thing verbatim and I may or may not have little action figures from the movie lined up on my desk. Great, in my mind, does not mean “set the industry standard for achievement in sound effects.” Great means “that’s a damn cool flick.”

No particular order.

Empire Strikes Back
The Big Lebowski
Spirited Away
The Phantom Tollbooth
Army of Darkness
Cemetery Man
Night of the Living Dead
12 Monkeys
Fifth Element
True Romance
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
The Sting
Star Wars
The Godfather
The Fly (original)
West Side Story
Slap Shot
Apocalypse Now
Winged Migration
Snoopy, Come Home
Lord of the Rings, Fellowship of the Ring
Bad News Bears
Interstate 60
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Super Troopers
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie
Toy Story
A Christmas Story
Nightmare Before Christmas
Edward Scissorhands
Dog Day Afternoon
And Justice For All
Real Genius
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Dawn of the Dead
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Nothing to Lose
The Last Boy Scout
The Longest Yard (original)
Office Space
Blazing Saddles
Young Frankenstein
The Muppet Movie
Dead Alive (Brain Dead)
Session 9
My Life as a Dog
Princess Bride
The Sandlot
Evil Dead
Heavenly Creatures
Jesus Christ, Superstar
Smokey and the Bandit
Revenge of the Sith
The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
Lost Boys
This is Spinal Tap
Strange Brew
South Park, Bigger, Longer and Uncut
Dead Again
Good Burger
Starship Troopers
Shaun of the Dead

I need to stop now. I still have no idea what I’m wearing to work today. This list is not complete, but you get the point anyhow.

Now, for those of you who actually read through the list, you can see from my inclusion of cinematic legends such as Good Burger and Power Rangers, that my list is far superior to that of AFI. Plus, it’s more fun. Really, if you had to sit through a marathon viewing of the old fogey’s list or my list, whose would you choose? Maybe you would get more intellectually out of the AFI list, but you’d be missing out on some good zombie action.

This is going to be a long, cigarette-less day. I need to go find a random hobo to stab before I get to work, or I’ll end up with a bloody co-worker on my hands.

Feel free to mock my list or give me your own.

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