As you are already aware, I love lists. Evidently, so does the American Film Institute (AFI). They have been putting together lists for every genre of movie since 1998. Now you might wonder, why all of the sudden am I on an AFI kick. Well, I was reading this book Miles To Go, the sequel to The Walk. In the book, Miles To Go, one of the characters decides to watch all the movies on the AFI’s Top 100 movies list before she commits suicide. I thought to myself, wow that’s a cool idea. Not the whole committing suicide part, but committing to watch what the American Film Institute believes are the best movies we have to offer the world.
Well, I have five kids so watching 100 movies with any kind of deadline is a lofty goal for me. Instead, why not watch the best movies from each genre. Well, they have a list for that too. AFI’s 10 Top 10. While I am reviewing their list, one thing becomes shockingly clear to me. The AFI wouldn’t know a good movie if it punched them in the neck.
The AFI picked Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. Um… Really! Toy Story all the way here. What’s wrong with you people. Snow White sucked. I saw it in the movie theater for a school trip when I was a kid and it sucked then too. Toy Story came in at #6. I’m really scratching my head on this one. The top five is all old Disney movies. I realize they are classics but Toy Story revitalized the genre, it’s the Holy Grail of animation.
I bet the first thing that popped into your head, it has to be Sleepless in Seattle right, or When Harry Met Sally, I’ll even give you Titanic. Nope it’s City Lights. Now you might wonder, what the hell is City Lights? It’s this obscure Charlie Chaplin movie. Try finding that on Netflix. You can’t. Go to Amazon and be ready to fork over $98 bucks to watch it. Yes, you read that right, it’s not a typo. Why would you pick a movie no one can see as the best romantic comedy? Just in case you’re wondering, When Harry Met Sally was #6 and Sleepless in Seattle was #10. Hey, at least they made the list. The way the AFI is going so far, I’m surprised.
I really don’t watch Westerns. I did really like Tombstone, Doc Holliday was awesome. I’ll be his huckleberry any day. I was raised if you don’t know anything about a topic keep your mouth shut and don’t insult the people that do. I don’t know anything about Westerns because I don’t watch them so I’m going to keep my mouth shut. Although, I will say a John Wayne movie is #1 so they can’t be that far off. He is an American Icon.
I love a good sports movie, they always make me cry at the end. AFI picked Raging Bull over Rocky. I don’t really disagree with it that much. Here’s what I do disagree with, How the hell is Caddyshack a sports movie? They put it at #7 and I think they are reaching with this one. I realize they play golf in the movie but it’s a comedy not a sports drama. If Caddyshack is a sports movie then Titanic is a documentary.
This list was peppered with movies that I haven’t even heard of but at least the first three, I’ve seen. I don’t really disagree with Vertigo being number as much as I disagree with The Usual Suspects being #10. It should have been top five and I could give you 500 reason why, but that would take way too long to read.
One of my favorite genres. I have a lot of problems with the AFI selections. Let’s start with what the AFI deems as fantasy. “AFI defines “fantasy” as a genre where live-action characters inhabit imagined settings and/or experience situations that transcend the rules of the natural world.” That said, I can see how they can squeeze It’s a Wonderful Life onto this list but really can we please let it go already. This movie sucks and it makes every top ten list that I have ever read. I get it, it’s a classic but I’m over it, move on. The Wizard of Oz is #1 and well deserved with the Lord of The Rings in second. My second biggest surprise if the fact that Harvey made the list. I think this movie is awesome and is James Stewart at his best. Miracle on 34th Street, I’m just going to leave that one alone.
2001: A Space Odyssey. Not surprised at all by that choice as #1, followed by Star Wars: A New Hope. What surprised me was what made the list, albeit at #10 but nonetheless a surprise, Back To The Future. All I can do is shake my head and go watch Family Guy: Blue Harvest, the better version of Star Wars.
I almost typed Gangsta, LOL. Some of my all time favorite movies reside in this genre. I’m not surprised by the choice of The Godfather as #1, I am surprised by the fact that the gave Goodfellas the #2 spot. I also don’t know how Pulp Fiction is three spots higher on the list then Scarface. I really expected it to be Godfather, Scarface and everybody else.
I am surprised that To Kill a Mockingbird made #1. I loved the movie and loved the book but it had none of the suspense that a good courtroom drama has, sorry. Kramer vs Kramer, same complaint. This movie was more family drama then courtroom drama. The one happy surprise was a Cry In The Dark at #9, (A dingo ate my baby). A Few Good Men made the list and no surprise there, it’s Tom Cruise. The biggest omission to this list, Philadelphia. Courtroom drama at it’s finest and it did not make the top ten. Why? Who knows? Evidently, I can’t handle the truth.
Last but not least…..
I know Lawrence of Arabia is the definition of an epic film and that’s why it’s #1. I’m sorry, but Gone With The Wind should have been higher than Schindler’s List. I loved Schindler’s List but it’s no epic. Neither is Saving Private Ryan or Titanic but they all made the list.
So the conclusion is this, the AFI is worthless.