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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Top 100 Films...Um, yeah if you say so you clueless gits.

Critics Richard Schickel and Richard Corliss of Time Magazine have graced the rest of us with their list of the Top 100 Films of all time. Of course, no one asked them, except perhaps the entertainment editor at Time, sensing a really slow month prior to the big Memorial Day weekend, and lulls in the Michael Jackson pedastry trial. So why not? A couple of big time critics sit around and hash out a list of their favorites, throw in a few world renowned art classics, just to give the list stature, and leave off Gone with the Wind to generate some controversy. This is the number one rule of modern American film criticism, isn't it? Generate publicity.

With any luck, Roger Ebert will open up an enormous tin of W.A. on the two of them (rhetorically of course), David Denby and Andrew Sarris (is he still with us?) will craft wicked and vaguely sinister reviews, and the ghosts of Bosley Crowther and Pauline Kael will rise and haunt them in all their condscending, ego-blasting glory,and this list will wind up where all the other 100 best films list go...the index of the AFI reference book, for a good read and a good laugh. I for one love to see critics argue. It's like the end of Welles classic The Lady from Shanghai, in the hall of mirrors, everybody shoots everybody, and everyone gets bloodied.

By the way, just in case you're thinking that the strep throat is making me irritable and cranky, which it is, here, just off the top of my head, are some great films that I've seen that are not on the list (take note - this is a serious cineaste's list - if you don't know what a "cineaste" is, then skip on down to the articles on Dan Haggerty and Nazi doctors) :

Alexander Nevsky
Andrei Rublev
Annie Hall
Ashes and Diamonds
As Time Goes By/Kings of the Road
La Belle et Le Bete (Beauty and the Beast) the Jean Cocteau version
The Bicycle Thief
Blazing Saddles
Chariots of Fire
Duck Soup
The French Connection
The General
Gone with the Wind (Not a favourite of mine, but epic nonetheless, despite what those nitpickers at Time say.)
Grande Illusion
The Lady from Shanghai
The Last Laugh
The Magnificent Ambersons
Miracle at Morgan's Creek (Which I watched part of this evening courtesy of TCM and Michael McKean - Thanks Lenny! - or should I say David St. Hubbins)
Modern Times
Napoleon (The Abel Gance version)
A Night at the Opera
Open City
Ordet (My favourite film of all, the classic by Carl Theodore Dreyer)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer's silent masterpiece)
Paths of Glory
The Producers
The Quiet Man
Rear Window
Rules of the Game
The Seventh Seal
Seven Samurai (Which confirms that the boys at Time are blithering idiots - also my second favourite film of all time)
Shoot the Piano Player (Tur le Pianiste)
Sunset Boulevard
The Shop on Main Street
La Strada
Strangers on a Train (My favourite film by Hitchcock)
The Third Man (The Third Man you nincompoops!)
2001, A Space Odyssey
Vertigo (Hitchcock's finest work)
Wild Strawberries
Winchester '73

And may I ask Mssrs. Corliss and Schickel which of the above films and countless others is not the equal of or superior to the following which do appear on the list (and, to be fair, I have seen, and are quality work, but Top 100? It must be the chablis talking...):

Barry Lyndon (Good film. Ryan O'Neal's finest hour. One of Kubrick's lesser efforts)
Blade Runner (Blade Runner? Maybe if you're fifteen.)
ET (Sigh. I suppose we must represent all our inner children.)
Finding Nemo (Ahem...Beauty and the Beast? Was that the animated film you were trying to remember? Toy Story perhaps?)
The Fly (All right, I've only seen parts of this but it does what flies do...it sucks. If you want Croenberg on the list, try Videodrome or better yet, don't try at all.)
His Girl Friday (I like the film, I like Hawks' work, this isn't even his best though. Bringing Up Baby or Key Largo...surely you can whistle that tune.)
Mon oncle d'Amerique (charming film by Resnais, but Hiroshima Mon Amour was much better. You're just trying to be different now, boys.)
The Purple Rose of Cairo (Of all the Woody Allen films, this is the one that leaps to mind? Lovely idea but better than Annie Hall? Manhattan? Crimes and Misdemeanors? Hannah and Her Sisters? Sleeper? Bananas? All right, I'll give you Bananas.)
Star Wars (I still hear Bill Murray singing the title track...We'll all fondly remember it but please, it's a Saturday Matinee feature that cost a bajillion dollars, that's all.)
Yojimbo (One of my top 10 favourite films to watch. I have it on DVD. Still not Seven Samurai though.)

Film rant over...Have at them Rog! And bring Roeper along for the feast.


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