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Thursday, June 15, 2006

I give it 98 cheers, actually

I watched the AFI's latest subjective trek through movie history last night. This year is was the "One Hundred Most Inspirational Movies", called One Hundred Years, One Hundred Cheers. You can read their rankings here. I continue to find these annual specials inspired; they're clearly not meant to be taken seriously as rankings but rather as commercials for movies that are older than whatever's on the "New Releases" section at Blockbuster.

So some random quibbles, in the spirit of not taking the thing too seriously:

:: Sorry, I don't find Saving Private Ryan, Gone With the Wind, or It's A Wonderful Life particularly inspirational at all. In fact, I think that all three are stunningly overrated. I've never understood the classic status afforded to any of these films.

:: I can never remember if these lists are geared toward specifically American films, so that would partially explain it, but I find the Lord of the Rings films to be one inspiration after another -- especially Samwise Gamgee's two great moments (his wonderful speech at the end of The Two Towers, and when he picks up Frodo whilst climbing Mount Doom -- "I can't carry it [the Ring] for you...but I can carry you!").

:: I know, I know. I said I'm not taking this too seriously. And I'm really not. Really.

So why in the hell is The Shawshank Redemption only 23rd???

:: What the hell does the AFI have against Cameron Crowe, anyway? They left Say Anything... off their list of the 100 most romantic movies, and I would have included either Jerry Maguire or Almost Famous on the "100 Cheers" list. (Elizabethtown, not so much. I liked that movie, but damn, did Crowe flirt with utter disaster all through that thing....)

:: Yup, there's Dead Poets Society, which ends with the most falsely-uplifting gesture in movie history. And yet, Mel Gibson's far superior film on a similar theme, The Man Without a Face, languishes in relative obscurity.

:: Superman. My Fair Lady. Witness. The American President. Contact. I could go on.

:: Two of the top ten feature scores by John Williams. Cool.

Lynn Sislo also comments.

8 comments:

Lynn S said...

Oh... I had forgotten all about Witness. That was a good one. There were a lot of movies on the list that I haven't seen or that I've seen only on an old B&W TV with lousy reception when I was about 8 years old.

Simon said...

It's A Wonderful Life is overrated?!

You
Have
No
Soul

I weep.

Jaquandor said...

Yup. Can't stand that phony, saccharine movie.

Lynn S said...

It was probably great before we saw over and over again every Christmas and before the plot was ripped off a bazillion times.

Tosy And Cosh said...

I watch It's a Wonderful Life every Christmas, and find it moving and, yes, inspirational, every time.

And I think Saving Private Ryan is going to last in a big way. In a Citizen Kane way.

Jaquandor said...

SPR will probably last, but if it does, it's only going to be because of the D-Day sequence, which is really the only thing that anyone ever really talks about with that film anyway. As soon as that part of the film is over, and the main story begins, the film is as pedestrian as anything from, say, Roland Emmerich.

I've long thought that Spielberg should have never bothered with the crap about Private Ryan, and just expanded the D-Day sequence out to fill the entire movie.

Tosy And Cosh said...

If Roland Emmerlich ever films anything with a tenth of the tension, skill, and uncanny clarity-in-chaos precision of, say, that first post-opening, rain-set scene in which we see our Roger Maris-look alike sniper show his uncanny skills, do let me know about it.

Jaquandor said...

Oh, the film has moments after the opening. But the storytelling as a whole is about as interesting as any WWII flick made decades earlier. It's Spielberg using his astonishing skills in the service of a dull tale that bothers me. But we could go round and round on this, I suspect.