|It's taken me some time to finally get around to this debriefing regarding my recent postings of my top 100 films. Here are some thoughts and observations.|
First of all, making a list of 100 greatest films (or a list of 100 greatest works of art in any category) is a lot harder than it looks, so my respect and admiration goes out to anyone who has done so over the years. I suspect it might be easier to work with a partner or a team of fellow film buffs when compiling such a list, especially if said list is intended for publication in a film magazine or posted on an official film website of some sort. When you're flying solo like I was, it's somewhat more difficult, especially the closer I got to the end of the list.
I no sooner finished the list, than I thought of some other very worthwhile films that didn't make the cut. Missing in action (so far, they may be added in the future if and when the list is amended) are such films as (in roughly chronological order): FRANKENSTEIN, THE BLACK CAT, THE ASPHALT JUNGLE, IN A LONELY PLACE, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, ROSEMARY'S BABY, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE FRENCH CONNECTION, THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES, and SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. I think all of these films have merit and are worthy of inclusion but what films would they replace? Decisions, decisions.
Of course, I did set some artificial parameters for myself. I had decided at the outset that my list would not contain any films made in the 21st century and very few films made in the '80s or '90s. Astute observers will also note the total absence of any traditional musicals from this list (I don't consider A HARD DAY'S NIGHT a musical in the strictest sense of the term). Yes, many believe that SINGIN' IN THE RAIN is the greatest movie musical ever made as well as one of the greatest films of all time. I've seen SINGIN' IN THE RAIN and I enjoyed the hell out of it but I just can't put it on my list. I'm just not that big of a fan of movie musicals although I do love THE MUSIC MAN, CABARET, BYE-BYE BIRDIE and VIVA LAS VEGAS (the last two for one very obvious red-headed reason).
I'll also admit that my list has a preponderance of "guy's" movies on it. So what? I'm a guy. What did you expect? There are very few "chick flicks" on this list, although I should point out that GONE WITH THE WIND, SUNSET BOULEVARD and ALL ABOUT EVE (all of which feature very strong female protagonists) are in my top twenty.
Also absent from my list are any pretentious foreign films that seem to pop up with regularity on many other lists like this. While I can appreciate the historic importance of many of those films, the ones I've seen have left me decidedly underwhelmed. Nothing seems to happen in these films that are often described as "lyrical, poetic.." I learned a long time ago that those words are code for "has no plot."
And there are many films here from the '60s and '70s. Again, no excuses. Those decades comprised my formative movie going years and a great many very good films (by any one's standards) were produced in those years. I'm also an unapologetic lover of genre films. Horror, science fiction, fantasy, film noir, war, westerns, you name it, I love 'em. I'm not so much a fan of romances and dramas except when they are exceptionally well done. I tried hard not to make this a list of only genre films but towards the end of the list making process, more and more such films increasingly came to mind.
Looking at my list, it's also obvious who my favorite directors are. Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Billy Wilder, Francis Ford Coppola, Orson Welles, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Frank Capra, Robert Aldrich, Sergio Leone, Michael Curtiz and Fritz Lang all have more than one entry on the list with some directors having three, four or five (Kubrick) films listed.
So there you have it, my list of top 100 films. It was a fun exercise and I might do it again sometime in the future. The list is open for debate, comments, criticisms, feedback, etc. I'd love to hear what you have to say. Oh, and by the way, due to popular demand, look for a longer post about my number one pick, CITIZEN KANE, in the near future. I have much to say about that one.