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Friday, June 22, 2007

On the AFI list

Since it seems all I've been doing lately is making lists, why not a response to the "new" AFI list of the best American movies ever? How about no. I didn't watch the broadcast. The AFI list has two problems. 1) These are American films, though for some reason British films show up. Either way, not to be snobby, or pretentious, well maybe snobby, yes, snobby, no list can be considered anything of a "best ever" of film without inlcuding films from Renoir, Ozu, Bergman, Dryer, Kurosawa, or Tarkovsky, just to name a few. 2) The new list shows that the survey format, rewards popularity.
Here are the new films that were added:
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)- Yes, deserved it, but where's the third one?
71. Saving Private Ryan (1998) Maybe, it was brutal, but really not great.
83. Titanic (1997) There is no way this movie should have been on here.
89. The Sixth Sense (1999) This was a surprise. Great movie. But shouldn't have been here.

18. The General (1927) Better question is where was it the first time?

49. Intolerance (1916) Is this now the "PC" Griffith film?
59. Nashville (1975) Good.
61. Sullivan's Travels (1941) Good.
63. Cabaret (1972) What? Nope.
67. Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (1966) Eh, not so much.
72. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) And this was my biggest problem. Shawshank is, at best, the best two star movie of all time. Other than that it's a collection of cliche's, and is nothing special, except TNT's weekly airings of it have made it a cult classic.
75. In The Heat Of The Night (1967) Good, where was it the first time?
77. All The President's Men (1976) Eh.
81. Spartacus (1960) Isn't this a Brit film?
82. Sunrise (1927) About time, but 82?
85. A Night At The Opera (1935) Yes.
87. 12 Angry Men (1957) Yes.
90. Swing Time (1936) Wha? Dang you musicals
91. Sophie's Choice (1982) What? No Way.
95. The Last Picture Show (1971) Yes. About time.
96. Do The Right Thing (1989) They did the right thing!
97. Blade Runner (1982) Yes. But I thought Weir was Australian.
99. Toy Story (1995) Yes.

now for the films that were removed:

39. Doctor Zhivago (1965) The Big loser of the night. It's overblown, but man it's actually really endearing. So why the hate?
44. The Birth of a Nation (1915) No surprise, important but man it's racist.
52. From Here to Eternity (1953) Kinda surprised here, I would have left it on an American list.
53. Amadeus (1984) Once again the American question might have disqualified this, but this should be on any top 100 list.
54. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) Probably the biggest omission of the night, this is in my top 20 ever. The best made, and most important war film ever.
57. The Third Man (1949) Not American, but amazing.
58. Fantasia (1940) Eh, without the drugs, not so much.
59. Rebel Without a Cause (1955) Not a perfect film, but the definition of classic. Should still be on there, I mean no American film list is complete without James Dean and Nick Ray.
63. Stagecoach (1939) Surprised, but not too surprised, I wouldn't have put it on there.
64. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) Yeah, i'd take it off.
67. The Manchurian Candidate (1962) Wha? You can't take this off. For Titanic?
68. An American in Paris (1951) Yea, not Kelly's best.
73. Wuthering Heights (1939) Good, but not great.
75. Dances With Wolves (1990) Mixed feelings. Could have gone either way.
82. Giant (1956) Once again, no love for James Dean? Should be on there.
84. Fargo (1996) Ebert's was ticked off, and so am I. Should have been higher than 84, not off the list.
86. Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) One of the best American movies ever...which means it should have been on the list.
87. Frankenstein (1931) yeah, surprised the first time, not surprised it's off.
89. Patton (1970) Should be on there, extremely important historically.
90. The Jazz Singer (1927) Not a great film, also important, but also kinda racist.
91. My Fair Lady (1964) Yeah, take it off.
92. A Place in the Sun (1951) Wha? Should have stayed.
99. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) Never should have been on the list to begin with.

The new list was almost better, but the inclusion of The Sixth Sense, Titanic and Shawshank make it irrelevant. Especially since these "new" films are at least 10 years old .The last list was titled towards the Hollywood of the 1950's with Hitch as the ideal. The new list seems to be tilted in favor of the New Hollywood aesthetic, with Scorsese types being the ideal. Maybe someone will make a list where the real important American films will be recognized, the ones made in from 1920-30, and the ones that inspired the New Waves.

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