May 24, 2005

Time's "Top 100" Movies.

Time's list of 100 Movies is bugging me. Why? Clearly, they are trying to represent different genres and different countries, but even taking that into account: Why is "The Fly" (1986) on?! (And I loved seeing "The Fly.")

I need to settle down. It's an interestingly idiosyncratic list. There are some great choices, and it's a real challenge to young viewers to watch some of the great old foreign films.

What's on the list that's also on my profile's list of favorite films? "It's a Gift," "Dr. Strangelove," and "Aguirre: The Wrath of God." Two of those are not "usual suspects" for a list like this, so I'm going to stop complaining.


Dave said...

Are you implying that we "young viewers" are culturally illiterate unsophisticates?

Unfortunately, I tend to agree with that assertion. But I'd also suggest that older people tend to be culturally illiterate unsophisticates as well. It seems inimical to the American identity to be unaware of culture outside of summer blockbusters.

Ann Althouse said...

Dave: I just think young people haven't had the time yet to get around to all these old films. Older people saw more of them as they came out and have had more of a chance to get the message that these are the things to see -- or should I say, to have seen.

I do know some young people have made a point of getting back to the notable old foreign films, but not many. In the old days, there was much more of an idea that seeing really good films meant seeing foreign films. Lists like this help people who haven't yet had words like "Ugetsu" and "Umberto" implanted in their heads.

Sloanasaurus said...

Every "top-list" is controversial.

But, where is Titanic? A movie that people saw multiple times int he the theater. Even my 94 year-old grandmother saw Titanic.

Dave said...

I agree that these types of lists help identify which movies an interested person should see.

And I think that, in the age of Netflix, Amazon, and cheap DVD players, seeing these movies is easier than ever.

I just checked the list, and deem it a good one, if only because it mentions Chinatown.

SteveR said...

For me a movie is entertainment and I'm not all that concerned with what a learned critic might see as good, just because I have a much different perspective. Plus I just don't have time to see everything. So some I really like (Casablanca) make it and some don't make the list (One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest). Whether or not a movie has great editing, or set direction, brilliant screenwriting is just not what I look for, but I know what I enjoy. The list gives me some desire to see a few I've thought about but never seen, so it that sense its a good thing to consider.

price said...

Uh oh... name-dropping Umberto so soon after declaring that she doesn't like modern movies anymore? We're getting dangerously close to film snob territory.

Dirty Harry said...


What do you mean we're "unsophisticates?" That offends me!

Oh, and what does "inimical" mean?

Kathleen B. said...

I agree Prof. Althouse - I like these lists because they can steer me towards old movies to see, when I wouldn't have any idea on my own.

And I have to admit that I am totally complicit in the summer blockbuster phenomenom. My friend and I call it "summer movie season" and go every Friday night, even though I know we are just supporting and contributing to the system that will only lead to more summer movies. Like buying from big corporate retail (aka The Man). you know you are just supporting the hegemony, but can't help yourself.

(FYI - that last part was a joke, so please no one have a coronary.)

Ann Althouse said...

Kathleen: There's nothing wrong with going out to fun movies with your friends. There's nothing wrong with riding roller coasters either. I personally don't enjoy that type of movie (with an occasional exception). What's worse are the serious, Oscar-begging movies that you feel you're supposed to see, because it's supposed to be good. I used to go to all of those. Now I don't. They aren't really all that worthwhile. I did not need to spend hours and dollars seeing "Million Dollar Baby" and that sort of thing. Really, all that lesson-teaching and sincere acting. It's quite a load of crap. Much more so than the summer things. Occasionally, there's a serious movie that actually means something, but most of them are shams. Summer movies are what they are.

downtownlad said...

Finidng Nemo????

Dave said...

Dity Harry: Inimical means injurious. I think it's injurious to the American ideals of self-reliance and independence to be suckered into seeing summer blockbusters.

They are anything but evocative of independent judgment and thought. As Althouse notes, there are many high quality movies out there, which most people have never seen, let alone heard of. To their cultural detriment.

Peter said...

RE: the inclusion of The Fly, it is Cronenberg's most mainstream film, so easier to make a case for than his earlier work (Videodrome is probably closer to his essence), and it would be hard to include a critical favourite like his recent Spider just because of its relative newness.

Does he deserve to be in? He is certainly a thoughtful man who makes films which provoke thoughts, but only if you can get past the shock value.