|Kerouac's Weekly Rant: CLASSICS-SHMASICSMovie Picture Or the farce that is film ranking...|
Thursday, June 27, 2002 5:04AM PDT - by Kerouac
The American Film Institute (AFI) recently released yet another in its line of Top 100 films lists. The latest one is about Passion. In the past, they've also ranked the Top 100 Thrilling films, the Top 100 Funniest films, and the biggest joke of all, the Top 100 Films of All Time. "What's wrong with that", you ask? Well, I'll tell you. My biggest problem is the fact the AFI, like so many critics, are age-centric when it comes to film ranking, and determining what makes a film great. Take this tidbit, for example: Out of the top 10 of each of those lists (that totals 40 films, for the math challenged among us) only 3 were made in the last 20 years! Only 3!! Of the Top 100 of All Time, only 12 of the top 50 were made in the last 30 years. Basically, what they're saying is that "modern" cinema is just no good. I say that's a load of crap. I can get behind the "classics". Many of my favorite films are old ones, but that doesn't mean I would exclude the newer stuff if I was compiling a list such as this.
Which brings me to my next point. Many of you are probably thinking, "If you know so much, Kerouac, why don't you rank the films?" I'll tell you why. Because I think they're a load. Any self-respecting filmgoer wouldn't give a damn about what order I would rank films in. Why? Because they formulate their own opinion. I'm not about to sit here and tell you what the best movie ever made is. It's a different film for each of us. My choice is no better than any of yours. The point is, a film, at one time, touched us so deeply that we can't imagine it getting any better. And to look at the AFIs list and see that film ranked # 78, or maybe not ranked at all, well, all that does is piss us off.
Another reason lists like this are ridiculous is because most of these so-called film experts don't know squat about film. That's why 2001 : A Space Odyssey makes it onto so many lists. People hear other people talk about a film like this, and they just jump on the "it's genius, that's why you don't understand it" bandwagon. Try getting one of these 2001 fanatics to explain that film to you. They'll spout off crap they probably read on the internet, or heard some jack-ass reviewer say, but they won't have an original thought about it. Father Rant and I were discussing this film a few days ago, and we came to the consensus that the "dawn of man" scene was great, as was the "hell" scene. Other than that, the film was a jumbled, weird, over the top, slow mess. Disagree? Fine. But don't just flame me in an e-mail. Open my eyes. Enlighten me to the Masterpiece that is 2001, but do it with original thoughts and ideas. You never know, you may just change my mind.
If you want to see a more accurate listing of the top films of all time, check out the Internet Movie Database's Top 250. That's a list compiled by folks like you and me, everyday, average, run-of-the-mill, PAYING film fans. We don't get to go to the premiers. We don't attend the press screenings. We don't have studios sending us fruit baskets and little gifts. We rate movies by how much we enjoyed them, how they affected us, and whether or not they challenged our thinking. In that list, 6 of the top 10 are less than 30 years old. Sure, you have the "classics" in there, but that's because these films hold up over time. What film fan can't watch The Godfather, Casablanca, or Citizen Cane, and get that feeling