Sunday, June 29, 2008

Top Ten Sci-Fi

AFI's top ten science fiction films:

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
2. Star Wars
3. E.T.
4. A Clockwork Orange
5. The Day The Earth Stood Still
6. Blade Runner
7. Alien
8. Terminator 2: Judgement Day
9. Invasion of the Body Snatchers(1956)
10. Back to the Future

Very interesting. I don't know why but A Clockwork Orange just doesn't seem like sci-fi to me. I realize it is set in the future but is that all that's required to make science fiction? There are no time machines or space ships or even aliens. Anyway, it IS a classic in some genre and one of Kubrick's best, but Kubrick's very best is at number 1 and no suprise. Star Wars is clearly the next in line, but after that I think there is much room for debate. I am very glad Blade Runner is on the list but I personally would have put The Fifth Element and 12 Monkeys on my list. Hooray for Bruce Willis! I can't believe I just typed that. And I would not have put Terminator 2 on my list. Invasion of the Body Snatchers is like a mix of horror and sci-fi as is Ridley Scott's Alien.
A bit of irony here that James Cameron's Terminator (which is just a glorified B-movie IMO) does not make the list but his more sophisticated sequel does, while the original Alien which has never been as popular as James Cameron's sequel Aliens also makes the list. Hooray for James Cam.....I mean hooray for Ridley Scott! Yay! Poor George Lucas. He worked so hard on those prequels and Howard the Duck and only one of his movies makes the list. And where on earth is Close Encounters of the Third Kind??? Do these AFI voting donkeys really expect me to believe Terminator 2 is a better film than that? Hello, McFly, anybody home? And I bet many people are surprised to see The Matrix missed the cut too. Not me, but some people.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Top Ten Animation

AFI's list of the top ten animated films.

1. Snow White and The Seven Dwarves
2. Pinocchio
3. Bambi
4. The Lion King
5. Fantasia
6. Toy Story
7. Beauty and the Beast
8. Shrek
9. Cinderella
10. Finding Nemo

As expected Disney dominates! The only non-Disney film on this list is Shrek at #8 and I don't think it belongs on here anyway. It looks like seniority is king with the first three picks starting with the first feature length animated film Snow White and The Seven Dwarves then the second Pinocchio and the fifth with Bambi. Fantasia, Disney's third feature cartoon gets bumped by Bambi and Simba but that's not unexpected. What I did find unexpected was that Beauty and the Beast didn't rate higher since it is the only animated film ever nominated for Best Picture by the Academy. I would have expected Toy Story to rank higher as well for being the first full-length computer animated film. But Toy Story is not the best Pixar film and I would even say Finding Nemo is better.

The best one of all in my opinion (and once again I am stymied by the voters for completely snubbing it) is The Incredibles which brought computer animation to a whole new level of filmmaking, which I predict we will see even more of in the upcoming Wall-E based on the previews. If you look at the way "shots" are framed in The Incredibles you notice they are made to look as though there is actually a camera and actors performing in front of it, (i.e. Mr. Incredible is partly out of the frame while standing next to his wife, some objects are not in focus as if an actual lense were recording the action.) At times you forget that you are watching a cartoon. Maybe in twenty years the Institute will look back at The Incredibles as the most "incredible" animated film. Ok, that was some cheese, but you get my point.

And what about The Secret of Nimh? C'mon!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Top Ten Romantic Comedies

AFI's list of the top ten in romantic comedy.

1. City Lights
2. Annie Hall
3. It Happened One Night
4. Roman Holiday
5. The Philadelphia Story
6. When Harry Met Sally
7. Adam's Rib
8. Moonstruck
9. Harold and Maude

10. sleepless in seattle

The first six entries make a perfect list for romantic comedy. After that the list is a bit shaky for me. I personally would have put Annie Hall at number 1 but City Lights is definitely worthy of the top spot. Actually, I am thrilled that Charlie Chaplin's work is being recognized and given the respect it deserves but that thrill is punctured by the inclusion of such a bad film at number 10. How does sleepless in seattle make this list? Can someone explain to me why it is a "romantic" film in any sense? When Harry Met Sally is a romantic film, so palpably real and human that anyone who has ever been in love can relate to it. It Happened One Night is romantic because it shows us the silly journey two people take to fall in love when they can barely stand one another and it totally works without one kiss. sleepless in seattle is completely unreal, unromantic, unwatchable, and gives credence to Oprah-watching, unhappy housewives who think when they feel sorry for a widower and he makes them cry they are "in love" with him! There is no conflict, no obstacle overcome, no teamwork, no unifying example of relationship building, there's just syrupy music and "fate" and two seconds on top of the Empire State building with no dialogue and THAT is supposed to be love? Whatever! I have always wanted to see the next five minutes of the movie which I would call the "cab ride scene" where Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan actually have to speak to one another and realize they have NOTHING in common (like he's a Cubs fan and she hates baseball, etc.) She exits the cab forlorn and realizes she will have to crawl back to her long suffering fiance on her knees. I can only dream.

For my money the most romantic film of all time and certainly in the comedy category is The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. More creative than half of this list and more full of emotion, pain, romance, and triumph than any on this list, Eternal Sunshine's omission is a crime. But I wouldn't be surprised if many of the AFI voters haven't even seen it. Oh well, like I said, at least Chaplin got his due.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Top Ten Mystery

AFI's list of the top ten American films in the mystery genre went like this:

1. Vertigo
2. Chinatown
3. Rear Window
4. Laura
5. The Third Man
6. The Maltese Falcon
7. North By Northwest
8. Blue Velvet
9. Dial M For Murder
10. The Usual Suspects

The top three were just as I would have predicted. The rest of the list had some surprises for me. I personally would have put The Third Man at number 4, and where is John Frankenheimer's The Manchurian Candidate? Maybe they consider it a political thriller but it is certainly as much of a mystery as any on this list. Hitchcock is well represented here as he should be, but I find it interesting Dial M For Murder made the list (being very underrated as Hitchcock films go and not much of a "mystery") while films like The Man Who Knew Too Much, Rebecca, and Notorious did not. I would not have put Blue Velvet on the list but then I'm not much of a David Lynch fan and I am not sure it's really a "mystery". The Usual Suspects is a good movie but once again I would have put another Hitchock film ahead of it or The Manchurian Candidate (NOT the blasphemous remake with Denzel Washington either!) or Orson Welles' The Lady From Shanghai. Anyway, it is still a good list but isn't it ironic that in the mystery category no Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes movies ever get mentioned? I guess they are better for reading.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Daylight Top Ten Top Ten

In response to AFI's recent special on the top ten films in ten different film genres I will be giving my opinion on where I agree with them and where I disagree. This will be loads of fun, dontcha think? The categories are Mystery, Romantic Comedy, Animation, Sci-fi, Gangster, Courtroom Drama, Fantasy, Western, Sports, and Epic and I will take them on in that order.

Coming Soon......