Sunday, May 6, 2012

(note: A Buddy Holly collection that demonstrates his tremendous innovation has been added to my Greatest Rock And Roll Since Moses page, and a working class gourmet dessert that will cure the blues, even if you've been betrayed by Oprah, has been added to Socialist Kitchen Tips.)

The Greatest Movies Of All Time Forever

There's been no great demand for me to come out with my Greatest Movies Of All Time list, but in anticipation of such demand, I've decided to go ahead and publish my list now.

Perhaps you've wondered about these lists. Maybe you've compiled one. Movie critics Gail Kinn and JimPiazza put one out that was reproduced widely recently. The movie review site Rotten Tomatoes has them by type. The Internet Movie Database has several that readers vote on. The one the New York Times publishes has 1,000 movies in it, and the Wikipedia article on the topic has several, including one voted on by thousands of critics and filmmakers for the 1956 Brussells World's Fair. The great Leftist (you didn't know?) movie critic Roger Ebert, who writes for the great Liberal newspaper the Chicago Sun Times (my Dad wouldn't even allow the Tribune in the house) has a short one, which he discusses here.

Here is mine.

1. Dumbo of the Circus
2. Citizen Cane
La Dolce Vita
4. Wizard of Oz
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
6. Music Man
7. Cabaret
8. The Sound of Music
9. I Am Cuba
10. The Battle of Algiers
11. Doctor Zhivago
12. Psycho
13. Wild At Heart*
14. From the Terrace
15. Shampoo
16. The Old Man and the Sea
17. King Kong
18. Cool Hand Luke
19. Thelma and Louise*
20. The Crying Game
21. Ironweed
22. Once Upon a Time in Mexico*
23. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
24. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
25. Yankee Doodle Dandy

Honorable Mention

  Cinema Paradiso
  The Razor's Edge
  Pulp Fiction
  Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Comedy, American
 The Bank Dick
 The Jerk
 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Roger and Me

Several selections are marked with an asterisk. Wild At Heart, by David Lynch, is marked because it is considered part of a trilogy which includes Eraserhead and Blue Velvet. All are excellent movies and this results in Wild At Heart placing further up on the list. The same goes for Once Upon A Time In Mexico, by Robert Rodriquez, which is part of a trilogy of movies, with Desperado and El Mariachi, usually known of as The Mariachi Trilogy.

Thelma and Louse has an asterisk because it's a movie that's on my list, despite having some flaws in the script, primarily for what it stands for, and in that, for what it says, and ultimately the essential purpose of art is to say something significant, which Thelma and Louise does. As you'll recall, the movie takes Thelma and Louise on a series of adventures, on the road to liberation. It's partly 'how far women have come', partly 'where we'd ideally like to see them get to.' I recall reading that it was a "watershed" film. But some of these adventures involve the setting up of straw men which the women then knock down. One was the sexist truck driver whose tanker eventually gets blown up by the two women. I'm a truck driver. Have I ever met any truck drivers anything like that character? No. Did I ever call the woman who wrote that screenplay an uppity woman? No. Did I ever leer at her? No. Did I try to ruin her life? No.

I'm glad she won the Academy Award for writing that screenplay, which was written directly for the movie and not from a book, and I'm glad the movie, including the knocking over of straw men, was empowering to women. But it points out something about feminism that I plan to write about sometime, which is that some of it is not about equality but about increasing women's power, and those are two different things. Increasing women's power may result in equality, and it may not. This opens up a whole can of worms regarding human nature, that hasn't been fully addressed by any group seeking to escape domination, but it must be addressed.

My list includes only films I have actually seen. I've gone several long stretches in my life without seeing any movies, and just haven't seen some of the films others judge highly. My list, and other lists like this, I think, could just as easily be called My Favorite Moves list, although I will add that I have not included movies for which some of my attachment consists of sentimental reasons such as It Happened In The Rain, The Bells Of St Marys and escape movies like The Getaway (original 1972 version), The Shawshank Redemption and Mutiny On The Bounty.

Comedic Genius In The Movies

I consider WC Fields and Steve Martin to be the greatest comedic actors of all time, as far as those I've seen anyway. I included two of Martin's movies, The Jerk and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, where he's at his comedic best. I've never seen a bad WC Fields movie so my comedy list simply includes one of Fields' best known movies, The Bank Dick. Fields should be somewhere on anyone's list, although I can't find a list that includes any of his movies.

One comedy made Honorable Mention; Planes, Trains and Automobiles, starring Steve Martin and John Candy. In it Martin mostly plays straight man to John Candy. The movie has comedy, but it's mostly situational and doesn't rely on the comedic genius of the two great comedians in it. It's just a good story.

Coming up in my next post:

Dumbo? Are You Kidding?


1 comment:

  1. The Day the Earth Stood Still

    that is one of the movies that tops my list....along with Dr Strangelove.