AFI Top 100

TheatreseatsI know, I know: we've been meme-krazy here at communicatrix lately. I promise to get back to the more substantial and/or hilarious issues on my mind v. soon, but in the meantime, my take on Ed Champion's AFI Top 100 throw-down: what you've not/seen, how much of a loser you think you are for having dug deeply into the canon and what you think of the whole damned thing (okay, I added that, what, you expected me to keep my trap shut?) 1. CITIZEN KANE (1941) Yeah, okay. It's a perfect. It broke all kinds of ground. It still feels like a duty choice.

2. CASABLANCA (1942) Ditto. And while we're on the subject, where the hell is Notorious?

3. THE GODFATHER (1972) Finally!

4. GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) Ripping Good Yarn, alright, alright. #4? No.

5. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962) Ditto on yarn factor. Possible Top 20 entry.

6. THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) Never all the way through without commercials. Does that count?

7. THE GRADUATE (1967) "Plastics" and Anne Bancroft notwithstanding, should this really be in the Top Ten?

8. ON THE WATERFRONT (1954) Can't say whether I would have named names or not, but hard to watch the same way, y'know?

9. SCHINDLER'S LIST (1993) Needed to be made, glad Spielberg made it, but 15 years later, I mostly remember Ralph Fiennes.

10. SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952) Should be #2. Or #1 in list of "Best Musicals." Hey, where is the list of Best Musicals, anyway?

11. IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) Pitch-perfect. Oddly ahead of its time.

12. SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950) That's some freaky, freaky shit. Makes me wish Billy Wilder had had a crack at Day of the Locust.

13. THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957) This is the whistling one, right? (Okay, okay...I'll watch it.)

14. SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959) Call me an ass, but I don't see it ("Colleen, you're an ass.").

15. STAR WARS (1977) This, for example, should totally be ahead of #14.

16. ALL ABOUT EVE (1950) "Kill the people." (That's French for "Genius through and through.")

17. THE AFRICAN QUEEN (1951) This probably makes me un-American, and Katharine Hepburn was a classy broad and all, but for me, she's video rental poison.

18. PSYCHO (1960) The first half hour could have its own spot on Top 100 list. Oh, the sense of place! The inchoate longing!

19. CHINATOWN (1974) A perfect film. (#19? 19!?! GFY, AFI!!!)

20. ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST (1975) Hmmm...I liked this an awful lot when I was 14. Of course, I also liked menthol cigarettse and Billy Jack a lot when I was 14.

21. THE GRAPES OF WRATH (1940) The book was better. A lot better.

22. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) The Citizen Kane of its day.

23. THE MALTESE FALCON (1941) Pretty great, except for the egregious miscasting of Mary "No Ass" Astor. Did Huston read the novel first? Did he miss the sexy, femme-fatale part of the character breakdown? In what universe is Mary Astor hot?

24. RAGING BULL (1980) Um, yeah. Should have won "Best Everything."

25. E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982) Not my thing, but I can see why it's on here.

26. DR. STRANGELOVE (1964) Ditto. (Okay, so I'm a bourgeois freak. What's your point?)

27. BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967) Let me introduce you to the buena, buena.

28. APOCALYPSE NOW (1979) I know this is heresy, but I preferred his wife's docu.

29. MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939) Move a bunch of other stuff up and add Bells Are Ringing.

30. THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (1948) Yes, please. We need many, many stinking badges.

31. ANNIE HALL (1977) And Hannah and Her Sisters. And Crimes and Misdemeanors. And (yes, I swear to you) Interiors.

32. THE GODFATHER PART II (1974) Should be #2...or maybe #1. I go back & forth between them. The most American of American stories.

33. HIGH NOON (1952) Please replace with Shane. Or Johnny Guitar. Or Hang 'Em High.

34. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962) Liked it, but the book is better.

35. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934) Crackerjack script, boy howdy.

36. MIDNIGHT COWBOY (1969) Yes, please. We're walkin', here!

37. THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946) "Hello...Rocket Video?"

38. DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944) Kicks ass, which is why it should be in Quadrant Two, not down here in the 50th percentile ghetto.

39. DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965) For sheer scope, maybe, but Lawrence of Arabia deservedly resides many notches higher.

40. NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) Pitch-perfect thriller. More of a confection than Psycho, but a much better ending.

41. WEST SIDE STORY (1961) Hmmm...nah.

42. REAR WINDOW (1954) I could have crossed over for Grace Kelly. Hell, I could have crossed over for any of Edith Head's outfits for her. "Preview of coming attractions," indeed.

43. KING KONG (1933) Has anyone seen this all the way through?

44. THE BIRTH OF A NATION (1915) Every time I flip over the Criterion box and see the running time, I get tired.

45. A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951) That whole naming names thing really casts a pall, doesn't it?

46. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971) What does it say when you remember the MAD magazine parody better than the movie itself?

47. TAXI DRIVER (1976) Sneaks up on you, doesn't it?

48. JAWS (1975) It's politically incorrect of me, I know, but I think this tops Schindler's List any day.

49. SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937) Not sure if I've actually seen this or just seen so many scenes I think I've seen it.

50. BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969) Uhhhhhhh...okay. Yes.

51. THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940) Enh. Still, the one movie Kate Hepburn really works in, to me.

52. FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953) I'd have to watch it again, without a fever and with my full attention. But I have it on good authority this is a good bet.

53. AMADEUS (1984) Really? Good, but...really?

54. ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930) Never saw it. Never read it. Bad English major! Bad! Bad!

55. THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965) Yes, please. Just not so high.

56. M*A*S*H (1970) Not bad, but I'd replace it with Nashville. In fact, where the hell is Nashville?

57. THE THIRD MAN (1949) There are 56 movies ahead of this masterpiece!?! AFI, you've shredded your remaining bit of credibility.

58. FANTASIA (1940) Don't be dissin' my dancing hippos.

59. REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955) Good, but Nick Ray did better.

60. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981) A better ride than the ride.

61. VERTIGO (1958) Yes. Although it might just be me wanting to live in S.F. of the '50s.

62. TOOTSIE (1982) Yes! Yes! Yes!

63. STAGECOACH (1939) Please replace with The Magnificent Seven.

64. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977) I'm suspicious of things I loved when I was 16.

65. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991) Yeah. And I was glad it won all those awards, too.

66. NETWORK (1976) I'd watch it over and over just to see the great Beatrice Straight deliver that speech.

67. THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962) Been awhile, but yeah, okay.

68. AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (1951) Please replace with Cabaret.

69. SHANE (1953) Resisted this for 41 years. My loss.

70. THE FRENCH CONNECTION (1971) Kick-ass thriller.

71. FORREST GUMP (1994) Vomit.

72. BEN-HUR (1959) Please replace with The Terminator.

73. WUTHERING HEIGHTS (1939) Please replace with Rebecca.

74. THE GOLD RUSH (1925) Yeah, yeah, he eats his shoe. Please replace with Night at the Opera.

75. DANCES WITH WOLVES (1990) Now, seriously. Seriously!

76. CITY LIGHTS (1931) Okay...swap this out with The Gold Rush and make Night at the Opera #76.

77. AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973) Again, if I liked it that much when I was 12...

78. ROCKY (1976) I'll back these losers up on this one. A perfect movie, although that music sounds pretty cheesy now.

79. THE DEER HUNTER (1978) The ordering of this list staggers me as much as what's not/on it.

80. THE WILD BUNCH (1969) Mmmm...nah.

81. MODERN TIMES (1936) Fine. But all these Chaplin flicks are knocking Woody Allen pix off the chart, dammit!

82. GIANT (1956) Yawn. (Except for the ever-delicious Mercedes McCambridge, of course.)

83. PLATOON (1986) Please replace with Full Metal Jacket.

84. FARGO (1996) Hallelujah.

85. DUCK SOUP (1933) I'm more of a Opera/Races gal, but okay.

86. MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (1935) Never saw it. (Ducking now.)

87. FRANKENSTEIN (1931) And it's short, too!

88. EASY RIDER (1969) I still harbor the maddest crush ever on Peter Fonda.

89. PATTON (1970) Yeah, okay. This, I get.

90. THE JAZZ SINGER (1927) Eventually, okay? O-kay!

91. MY FAIR LADY (1964) Okay...what?

92. A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951) Who's more beautiful, Monty or Liz?

93. THE APARTMENT (1960) Many lovely scenes.

94. GOODFELLAS (1990) My ex-husband's perfect one-word review: GreatFellas

95. PULP FICTION (1994) I'm a Jackie Brown fan. Never got this one.

96. THE SEARCHERS (1956) Embarrassed to say I've never even heard of it.

97. BRINGING UP BABY (1938) Cary Grant, yes. Katharine Hepburn, no.

98. UNFORGIVEN (1992) The other good western.


100. YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (1942) Has anyone under the age of 50 who has not been in film school seen this?

Original AFI Top 100 list here, so you can grow your own. Way better Top 100 list from Entertainment Weekly by way of Lists of Bests.

And now, we return you to your previously scheduled diatribe.

xxx c