The latest issue of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY has probably started more discussions, arguments and exclamations of "are-you-kidding-me?" than any other issue in recent memory. EW has taken it upon itself to present lists of the 100 greatest movies, TV shows, albums, novels and more. These lists are guaranteed to be controversial as all such listings of subjective "greatness" are. I'm not going to go into their choices for TV shows, albums and novels. I just don't have the time or the interest (besides, my opinions on their album choices wouldn't be valid since I don't listen to any popular music recorded since the Beatles broke up). However, I will give you my top choices in three categories.
TV Shows: THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW
Albums: SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND
Novels: THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER AND CLAY by Michael Chabon
But movies, that's another thing. Again, I don't know that I'll get through their entire list but I'm going to attempt to do so here in a series of posts broken into ten selections at a time. We'll start with numbers one through ten today and hopefully cover the rest in the coming days.
Before we get to EW's list, here are some of Frank's rules about top 100 movie lists.
1. No film produced in the 21st century should appear on such a list, at least not for quite a few more years. And very few films from the 1980s and 1990s deserve to be on such lists as well. Doesn't mean good movies haven't been made in the last thirty-odd years, it just means it's too soon, from a historical standpoint, to start anointing some of these films as "greatest" (I'm looking at you SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION).
2. No films by Quentin Tarrantino or David Lynch. Period.
Now, let's take a look at EW's top ten.
1. CITIZEN KANE (1941). No argument there.
2. THE GODFATHER (1972). Yep.
3. CASABLANCA (1942). You bet
4. BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967). And suddenly, this entire list has just gone entirely off of the rails. BONNIE AND CLYDE is a landmark, important film, certainly worthy of inclusion on any 100 greatest list but number four? Here comes the first "are-you-kidding-me?"
5. PSYCHO (1960). Great film but if you're going to have a Hitchcock in the top ten, it should be VERTIGO (1958).
6. IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946). I love this film, I really do and I'd put it on a 100 greatest list in a heartbeat but not in the top ten.
7. MEAN STREETS (1973). Solid work but it's not Scorsese's best film. I'd suggest TAXI DRIVER (1976), RAGING BULL (1980) or GOODFELLAS (1990).
8. THE GOLD RUSH (1925). I like Charlie Chaplin but I think Buster Keaton's THE GENERAL (1927) is a better silent comedy.
9. NASHVILLE (1975). Are you kidding me? (that's number two if you're scoring at home). NASHVILLE is a vastly overrated, completely plotless film. If you're going to have a Robert Altman film on here, I'd go with M*A*S*H (1970) or THE PLAYER, which was the last decent film Altman made. And I'd put either of them much closer to the end of the list rather than this close to the beginning.
10. GONE WITH THE WIND (1939). This immortal epic should be in the top five, in my opinion.
Okay, the can of worms is open and the gloves are off. Stay tuned for the next ten films and more outbursts of "are-you-kidding-me?"