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  1. #1

    The only film list that matters

    Roger Ebert has a compelling article up about preparing for his upcoming vote in the single most important film list ever assembled -- Sight and Sound's once-every-ten-years survey of the world's greatest movies:

    http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2012/04/post_5.html

    The first survey came out in 1952, so we're about to get the seventh list.

    Orson Welles' Citizen Kane has been voted No. 1 in every survey since 1962 (it was second in 1952). Actually, the 2002 survey came with a twist -- a director's list and a critic's list. For those interested, the critics list:

    1. Citizen Kane
    2. Vertigo
    3. Rules of the Game
    4. Godfather 1 and 2
    5. Toyko Story
    6. 2001: A Space Odyssey
    7. Battleship Potemkin
    8. Sunrise
    9. 8 1/2
    10. Singin' in the Rain

    The director's list:

    1. Citizen Kane
    2. Godfather 1 and 2
    3. 8 1/2
    4. Lawrence of Arabia
    5. Dr. Strangelove
    6. Bicycle Thieves
    7. Raging Bull
    8. Vertigo
    9. Rashomon
    10. (tie) Rules of the Game and Seven Samurai

    Interesting that only Kane at No. 1 and the two Godfather films, 8 1/2, Rules of the Game and Vertigo make both lists.
    I think it's also interesting that only Kurosowa (Rashomon and Seven Samurai) and Kubrick (Strangelove and 2001) have two films on the two top 10s.

    New rules this year -- films cannot be combined (as Godfather and Godfather 2 are). They have to stand on their own.

    I'll be interested to see the list. I can't imagine that Citizen Kane will not retain its No. 1 ranking.

    Personally, I'd add The Searchers (the greatest film by our greatest director), Casablanca and Sullivan's Travels. I prefer Notorious to Vertigo, Seven Samurai to Rashomon. If I have to pick one, I'd go for Godffather 2 over Godfather.

    Rules of the Game would be my No. 2 pick. I love that film. Wizard of Oz would be on my list before Singin' in the Rain. I know it's sentimental as hell, but what about It's a Wonderful Life?

    I'm not in favor of including a film just because it was groundbreaking -- I appreciate what Battleship Potemkin meant to the development of film, but if that's the case, why not break out the white sheets and vote for Birth of a Nation -- an even more pivotal film?

    I've got to think about it before I complete my top 10 (not that I have a vote). But can anybody make a case for any other inclusions?

  2. #2
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    I hate that they only list 10 instead of 25 or 50. Anyways, while looking to see if they had one I found this. It's not a larger poll, but it does list every film that was ever voted for. (Until 2002)
    http://www.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/...php?list=films

    It is interesting to see the votes. And also just as interesting to see that a top 10 film does not actually equal a ton of votes. CK is well populated, but Vertigo by comparison only has a few votes from the directors. (And tons from critics)
    Mmmm, BBQ!

  3. #3
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    If you want to see a top 50 list, you can look at the directors list or the critics list

    Personally, I find the director's list much more appealing than the critics list. Would have to think for awhile before nominating my own list.

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    "Animal House" is not on any of the lists?

    Inconceivable.

    "The time has come for someone to put his foot down. And that foot is me."

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by BD80 View Post
    "Animal House" is not on any of the lists?

    Inconceivable.
    No, that's a different movie .

  6. #6
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    O Brother Where Are Thou? should be on any list. Great blend of music, mythic storytelling, Southern Americana, cinematography, acting, directing.

    Okay, half kididng but not really. (I could defer to a different Coen Bros. movie but this one is still tops for me)
    Twerp-free since July 1, 2014.

  7. #7
    I lost most respect for Ebert when he said that Eddie Murphy was completely miscast in Beverly Hills Cop.

    Say whhhhhaaaat?

  8. #8
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    What's most noteworthy to me on both the directors' and critics' lists is the age of the films. Either no one has been making truly great movies in the last 30 years, or there is a tremendous amount of nostalgia at play.

    I will admit a personal preference to the style of more modern movies...and by that I mean 1970s onward. Granted that the big studio system has historically made a tremendous amount of crap for mass consumption, but I don't think that's necessarily much worse in the last 30 years than it was before. Every decade has had their pulp movies and pulp directors. But I think every age has also had its gems.

    And then, of course, there is the matter of personal taste. Sometimes a movie can be perfect (or almost perfect) for what it is.

    For example: Can an action movie, that doesn't try to be more than a great action movie, be an all-time great? I would submit that Die Hard is a truly great movie, although it isn't aiming to change the world. But it is, on many levels, an almost perfect action movie. Bruce Willis really delivered a likeable hero who was a break from the invincible Schwarzenegger/Stallone creations of the time. Alan Rickman has to get some credit as one of the all-time best action movie villians. And the action, itself, was visceral, intense, had great tempo, and built to a really fantastic last half hour. But, since Die Hard is really just an action movie, can it get into discussion as an all-time great movie? It's certainly one of my top 50 FAVORITE movies to watch. In the same category, Raiders of the Lost Ark...it's pure entertainment, but it is pitch perfect from opening to closing credits.

    Another few movies that may never see a professionally done all-time-top-50 list, but just hit the ball out of the park for what they were trying to do:
    Pulp Fiction
    Alien/Aliens (totally different movies, but both really awesomely done)
    Jaws
    LA Confidential
    Incredibles/Wall-E/Ratatouille/Toy Story/Toy Story 3
    Drunken Master 2
    The Dark Knight and Inception
    The Bourne Supremacy
    Unforgiven

    I'm personally very partial to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy viewed as one 12 hour movie, but Jackson seemed to have about one scene or part in each movie that missed (The Mirror of Galadriel scene; he missed on the way he handled Treebeard; the forced Legolas moment in the Battle of Pelennor Fields and the handling of the Paths of the Dead), and brought me out of the movies just enough to feel that they are awesome, but imperfect. Hard to be perfect translating something as long and complex and most definitely not written for Hollywood as LOTR to the big screen, so I'm not criticizing the job he did. But they aren't perfect movies...just great ones.

    Someone mentioned Animal House...and it actually begs the question: like an action movie, can a comedy ever break into these lists? I think a truly great comedy is one of the hardest things to do, and I have trouble right now wracking my brain for a comedy that is so good all the way through that I'd call it a really great movie. By definition, comedies are not serious movies...can one be so good as to be taken seriously as an all-time great? If so, which ones?
    Last edited by davekay1971; 04-07-2012 at 10:15 AM.
    Brian Zoubek on what was going through his mind walking to the free throw line with 3.6 seconds remaining in the 2010 National Championship game and Duke up by 1: "Fifty percent [of me is] thinking, This is what I've been dreaming of doing my entire life. Fifty percent I'm crapping my pants."

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by davekay1971 View Post
    For example: Can an action movie, that doesn't try to be more than a great action movie, be an all-time great? I would submit that Die Hard is a truly great movie, although it isn't aiming to change the world. But it is, on many levels, an almost perfect action movie. Bruce Willis really delivered a likeable hero who was a break from the invincible Schwarzenegger/Stallone creations of the time. Alan Rickman has to get some credit as one of the all-time best action movie villians. And the action, itself, was visceral, intense, had great tempo, and built to a really fantastic last half hour. But, since Die Hard is really just an action movie, can it get into discussion as an all-time great movie? It's certainly one of my top 50 FAVORITE movies to watch. In the same category, Raiders of the Lost Ark...it's pure entertainment, but it is pitch perfect from opening to closing credits.
    For my part, I align *much* more with the IMDB top 50:

    1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
    2. The Godfather (1972)
    3. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
    4. Pulp Fiction (1994)
    5. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
    6. 12 Angry Men (1957)
    7. Schindler's List (1993)
    8. The Dark Knight (2008)
    9. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
    10. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

    It's not the exact list I'd make, but these are all movies that I absolutely love. On the Sight and Sound lists however, the Godfather movies are the only ones I love. Some I haven't seen, some I like, and one I actually despise (here's looking at you, 2001). These are movies that strike me as influential more than enjoyable.

    By the way, there *is* theoretically a comedy here: Dr. Strangelove. To my eyes, it is more critical than funny a lot of times though. I also think political satires are, by nature, movies that do not age well, and the fact that this is on one of these top 10 lists is pretty indicative of what the voters do and don't value.

    PS: Excluding animated fare, which seems like a different genre altogether, the two comedies I have seen that I personally consider to be "great" in the sense you mention are The Big Lebowski and A Fish Called Wanda.
    Last edited by darthur; 04-07-2012 at 11:11 AM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    O Brother Where Are Thou? should be on any list. Great blend of music, mythic storytelling, Southern Americana, cinematography, acting, directing.

    Okay, half kididng but not really. (I could defer to a different Coen Bros. movie but this one is still tops for me)
    Not half kidding, that was the first movie I scoured the list for. Not surprising that it didn't get a vote for "BEST MOVIE EVER"...but if it were a list of top tens, it would not have suprised me to see a couple votes. It would not be on my own personal top ten list, but I wouldn't have been suprised to see it on someone's.
    Mmmm, BBQ!

  11. #11

    top 10

    While I love "O Brother", if I was going to pick a Coen Brothers movie, it would have to be "Fargo" (which Ebert voted for in 2002).

    I understand those who prefer modern films (although I'm not a huge fan of some of those listed -- Shawshank Redemption?? The Dark Knight? The Bourse films?? -- but I do admire certain recent movies -- Unforgiven is the best Western since John Ford was working ... Saving Private Ryan is a superb WWII movie ... loved LA Confidential.

    But after some thought, my top 10 would be:

    1. Citizen Kane
    2. Rules of the Game
    3. The Searchers
    4. Seven Samurai
    5. Godfather II
    6. Dr. Strangelove
    7. Notorious
    8. Wizard of Oz
    9. Duck Soup
    10. King Kong (the original)

    Near misses: The General, The Great Dictator (I prefer Keaton and Lloyd to Chaplin, but his Great Dictator was one of the most courageous films of all time), They Were Expendable (the greatest war movie ever made), Red River (Hawks out-Fords Ford), The Grapes of Wrath, It's a Wonderful Life, Fargo and Star Wars.

    Obviously, I don't have a vote in the poll, but those are the films I'd love to defend as the 10 greatest movies of all time.

  12. #12
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    One that I forgot to mention earlier and probably would put in my all-time Top 10 (certainly in my all-time Top 50) would be Glory. That's a truly beautiful movie about a very important piece of American History.
    Brian Zoubek on what was going through his mind walking to the free throw line with 3.6 seconds remaining in the 2010 National Championship game and Duke up by 1: "Fifty percent [of me is] thinking, This is what I've been dreaming of doing my entire life. Fifty percent I'm crapping my pants."

  13. #13
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    I checked. It is not on any list mentioned above in this thread, but I think it deserves some sort of recognition. "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, World" was released in 1963, and starred Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Dick Shawn, Phil Silvers, Terry-Thomas, Jonathan Winters, Edie Adams, Dorothy Provine, Jimmy Durante, and Peter Falk. It was so long (154 minutes) that the distributors inserted an intermission half way into the movie, to recover. I was thankful for that intermission.

    It won one Oscar, and was nominated for five others. The movie was loaded with sight gags and rib busting dialog, and was G rated. Just about all of its comedy was totally original, but if watched today, it would seem like old hat comedy to many of us. That's because it has been repeated in so many movies and TV shows since then, in my opinion. It opens with a car chase in the California mountains. (I was not expecting an action movie.) Suddenly the car goes flying off the side of the road into a deep canyon with the camera following it all the way down. Next, a camera catches a hub cap dancing dizzily down the hillside, and it settles right next to the driver's body. It was at that point that the audience learned that Jimmy Durante was the driver, and that I learned that it was truly a comedy. Durante wasn't on the playbill. Next came all of those cast members (except Tracy and Durante) scrambling down the mountain, getting to the car just in time to hear Durante disclose the location of $350,000 buried under the W in Santa Rosita.

    A first for me was the laughter as Durante's character dies, and everyone goes scrambling back up the mountain, and races off toward Santa Rosita, a bunch of miles away. Spencer Tracy on their heels, in the straightman role, is an observer in all of this. He is from the state police, and has been searching for Durante's loot for some time. Action/comedy continues for the rest of the two and a half hour movie. It must have been a really tough task for the director, Stanley Kramer, to keep this crowd in order, but his efforts resulted in one of the greatest, ground breaking Comedies of all time.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dukeface88 View Post
    No, that's a different movie .
    I don't think that post means what you think it means.

  15. #15
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    Clint?

    I haven't really checked the lists, but somewhere there should be a reference to to at least one Clint Eastwood movie. The so-called Man with No-Name trilogy changed the way that westerns were presented, even though he was just an actor, not the director. OTOH, those movies themselves were a bit shallow by today's standards. Still fun to watch, though.

    Anyway, Eastwood went on to an actor/director career that includes Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Bridges of Madison County, Mystic River, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, the Dirty Harry movies, and two of the the most tense movies of all time, Beguiled and Play Misty for Me. As a director, he's won 3 Academy Awards (4 if you count the Thalberg).

    The quality of his movies has been incredible over the years. It's hard for me to believe that at least one (I'd choose Unforgiven) isn't one of the top 50 of all time. And I haven't even mentioned the comedies or Bird or the Iwo Jima set, or even Gran Torino or J.Edgar which are not top 50 but damn good films.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim3k View Post
    I haven't really checked the lists, but somewhere there should be a reference to to at least one Clint Eastwood movie. The so-called Man with No-Name trilogy changed the way that westerns were presented, even though he was just an actor, not the director. OTOH, those movies themselves were a bit shallow by today's standards. Still fun to watch, though.

    Anyway, Eastwood went on to an actor/director career that includes Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, Bridges of Madison County, Mystic River, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, the Dirty Harry movies, and two of the the most tense movies of all time, Beguiled and Play Misty for Me. As a director, he's won 3 Academy Awards (4 if you count the Thalberg).

    The quality of his movies has been incredible over the years. It's hard for me to believe that at least one (I'd choose Unforgiven) isn't one of the top 50 of all time. And I haven't even mentioned the comedies or Bird or the Iwo Jima set, or even Gran Torino or J.Edgar which are not top 50 but damn good films.
    Agreed, Jim. I mentioned Unforgiven. That's an incredible movie in it's own right, but looking at it as a deconstruction of his own iconic Man With No Name roles makes it even better. And the acting...Clint, Richard Harris, Morgan Freeman, and Gene Hackman were all at their very best.
    Brian Zoubek on what was going through his mind walking to the free throw line with 3.6 seconds remaining in the 2010 National Championship game and Duke up by 1: "Fifty percent [of me is] thinking, This is what I've been dreaming of doing my entire life. Fifty percent I'm crapping my pants."

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by davekay1971 View Post
    Agreed, Jim. I mentioned Unforgiven. That's an incredible movie in it's own right, but looking at it as a deconstruction of his own iconic Man With No Name roles makes it even better. And the acting...Clint, Richard Harris, Morgan Freeman, and Gene Hackman were all at their very best.
    Unforgiven is my favorite modern morality play. It is an incredible movie with incredible acting. Eastwood at his best as a director. Five star for me.

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    The only weak link in Unforgiven is, oddly, Morgan Freeman. But the last 20 minutes of that movie are absolutely fantastic.


    "Deserve's got nothing to do with it."
    Twerp-free since July 1, 2014.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    The only weak link in Unforgiven is, oddly, Morgan Freeman. But the last 20 minutes of that movie are absolutely fantastic.


    "Deserve's got nothing to do with it."
    I have to disagree with you on Freeman. I thought he was perfect in the part. He didn't over or under play it.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldPhiKap View Post
    "Deserve's got nothing to do with it."
    "You just shot an unarmed man!"
    "Well he shoulda armed himself if he's going to decorate his saloon with my friend."

    "You be William Munny out of Missouri. Killer of women and children."
    "That's right. I've killed women and children. I've killed just about everything that walks or crawled at one time or another. And I'm here to kill you, Little Bill, for what you did to Ned."

    That does it. I'm putting that DVD on tonight...before Game of Thrones comes on (see next thread).
    Brian Zoubek on what was going through his mind walking to the free throw line with 3.6 seconds remaining in the 2010 National Championship game and Duke up by 1: "Fifty percent [of me is] thinking, This is what I've been dreaming of doing my entire life. Fifty percent I'm crapping my pants."

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