Monday, June 25, 2007

The 100 best movies?

Random notes on the American Film Institute's 10th anniversary list of the 100 best movies:

The first thing to understand here is that "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" wasn't even among the 400 nominated movies from which the top 100 were selected. Consequently, the entire exercise is bogus.

"Singing in the Rain," at No. 5, is way overrated. Without the great title-song scene, the film wouldn't even belong on the list.

"Vertigo," ranked No. 9, is one of Alfred Hitchcock's worst films. "I Confess," in which Montgomery Clift plays a priest and Karl Malden a cop, is far, far better. But, like "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn," it wasn't on the list of 400 nominees.

"Some Like it Hot," No. 22, is the most overrated comedy ever made.

"Easy Rider," No. 84, was considered hip when it came out (and then, only if you were stoned when you saw it). Today, it's embarrassing. It's noteworthy only for the breakthrough performance by Jack Nicholson.

"Blade Runner," No. 97, doesn't deserve to be in the top 1,000 films, let alone the top 100.

Besides "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" and "I Confess," here are a few other glaring omissions (randomly selected and any one of which was better than a dozen or more of the flicks that made the top 100 list):

"The Adventures of Robin Hood," "Stalag 17," "Bambi," "My Man Godfrey," "Dr. Zhivago," "Evita," "Sense and Sensibility," "Reds," "Five Easy Pieces," "The Right Stuff," "Paths of Glory," "How Green Was My Valley," "Gentlemen's Agreement." I could name scores more.

But, hey, it's all subjective. And as pianist Arthur Rubinstein once said, "Nothing in art is the best."


Will Pfeifer said...

OK, Rascal, I have to comment on your comments:

1. "Vertigo" is just the opposite of what you said -- it's one of Hitchcock's best. It's one of his most personal, most mature films, about obsession, loss and madness. And the color work is amazing. Watch it again, with an open mind. It's quite a movie and features one of Jimmy Stewart's best performances.

2. You're right about "Easy Rider." It's a bad, bad movie.

3. Have you ever watched "Blade Runner" all the way through? It's not what you probably think it is -- it's more like a film noir than a sci-fi movie, and Rutger Hauer's last scene is really powerful.

4. Some of your picks for movies that should've been included -- "The Right Stuff," "Paths of Glory," "My Man Godfrey" and "Bambi" are dead on. Can't go with you on "Evita," though. Sorry.

5. You're right about "Some Like It Hot." If they wanted to pick a Billy Wilder comedy starring Jack Lemmon, move "THe Apartment" higher on the list -- it might be the best romantic comedy ever made.

6. A few of my picks for movies that should be included: "Sweet Smell of Success," "A Face in the Crowd," "Cat People" (the original), "THe Bride of Frankenstein" and especially "The Manchurian Candidate," which someone was taken OFF the list this time around! Morons!

The Rascal said...

Will: What about the "50-foot woman" thing you love so much, as I read here?: I'm glad you agree with me on "Paths of Glory," etc. But you're wrong about Evita. It's a better musical than "Singing in the Raid" or "West Side Story," both of which made the list. As for "Vertigo," I can understand how you'd relate to "obsession, loss and madness." By the way, have you ever seen "I Confess"?