Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sneak Peak: AFI Part III of IV (50 & 49)

Greatness Lies Ahead

      Stellar terrain is within grasp. We're moving from A New Hope to Empire Strikes Back, from Magic to MJ, from greatness to extreme greatness. We have officially touched down in the "Mere Mortals Do Not Reside Here" district, so take a good look at your neighbors, all fifty of 'em, and feel free to engage your inner Mr. Curious.

Friday, May 25, 2012

AFI Part II of IV (75-51)

Keep On Filin', The Whole World's Filin' At You 

      And so my reconstruction of the AFI 100 continues with numbers 75-51 ...  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

AFI Part I of IV (100-76)

The Filed Bunch 

      One of my cherished cinematic endeavors, besides firing up the 81' DeLorean and cruising back through time to the Roaring Twenties, was watching every film from the American Film Institute's 100 Years...100 Movies list (both the 1998 and 2007 editions). Well, I am pleased to announce—and yes, Dubya, this next statement is irrefutable: Mission Accomplished! 
      That euphoric acknowledgement meant that I had to allocate time for 123 separate viewings. I breath film, so it was rather undemanding. 
      Mission number two concerned my evaluation of the AFI's two lists. I ranked the films according to my own criteria, a more personalized touch if you will. By the logic of numbers, twenty-three films missed the cut. 
      The AFI 100 celebrated the first century of American cinema; the 10th Anniversary Edition (2007) extended into the early aughts (well, negligibly, as it removed twenty-three films from the original Top 100 and added only four films from 1996-2006). Additionally, nineteen films made before 1996 were included. Thus, 123 unique films comprise the two editions. 
      A jury of 1,500 film artists, critics, and historians determined the selection of films. Naturally, as with any list of this magnitude, disagreement's bound to surface. These films, while not universally lauded, are a great starting point for moviegoers, particularly those like myself, immersed in the glorious history of cinema. 
      Film is inherently personal. There are films emblazoned on this list that will arouse your medieval sensibilities (thank you, Marcellus Wallace for immortalizing this phrase). But for any nascent moviegoer, with only a predisposition to the generic fodder churned out by Hollywood annually, the list provides great value. Will it enhance your appreciation of American cinema, refine your tastes? Perhaps. 
      Objectivity is an inexact form of currency in film criticism. Everybody has a different criterion by which they judge a film, and as is the point, what one deems as an objective truth is often misappropriated. Ebert once theorized, "To take a hypothetical possibility, if you were to see all 100 films on the AFI list, by the end of that experience, you would no longer desire to see a Dead Teenage Movie." Twenty-minutes viewing ATM adds credence to Ebert's theory. That movie is despicable. But even Ebert, cemented in the pantheon of critics, admits that a "great Dead Teenager movie" may materialize. The point is that films in general circulation betray, more often than not, a depressing weariness. Teenage films, because of their pandering to that all-too crucial, young demographic, tend to burrow in this depressive, unimaginative hole even more aggressively. So if you aspire to soar to artistic heights beyond those offered by the banalities of the drab Hollywood machine, then feel free to observe my ultimately meaningless list, a careful reconstruction of the AFI 100.   

*I caution this is not a blanket criticism as Hollywood, despite its flaws, produces plenty of good films to justify its system.