Tuesday, May 24, 2005

TIME's 100 Best Movies of All Time

TIME recently released a list of the best movies of ALL-TIME according to their film critics. Surprisingly, the list isn't your run-of-the-mill group of Best Picture winners, but actually has some interesting and unusual choices - like City of God, and a film by one of my favorite directors, Terry Gilliam, called Brazil.

I respect the monumental task of compiling a favorites list - as a friend and I recently tried to name our favorite movie from each of the past 10 years and I was struggling for hours. However, there are some glaring omissions in my mind - for example where is Apocalypse Now and Do the Right Thing? And apparently they have decided to exclude documentaries as well - which I guess is understandable if you are limiting the history of film to just 100 choices, but again undermines the importance and artistic significance of documentary film.

The list also seems to include some very commercial fair, but then exclude other similarly successful commercial films that could be argued to be just as artistically deserving (ie. Lord of the Rings and Finding Nemo are on the list but Braveheart and Full Metal Jacket are off). TIME's list seems to be half-way between a list based on artistic principles and one selected using the cultural and social impact of the films. Black filmmakers are severely underrepresented, despite the huge impact that films like Boyz N Da Hood had on the American consciousness. And it appears that the entire continent of Africa couldn't produce one film considered important enough for the list, but the remake of The Fly apparently deserved acknowledgement. Another minor complaint is that you can't sort the list by director - as most film buffs would probably prefer.

But in general, I find these lists are helpful in expanding people's experience of older films - encouraging them to explore films that they otherwise would have never considered. With the world of DVD and Netflix rentals, rediscovering these classic films is easier than ever - and I encourage all film enthusiasts to check out some of the films on the list that you haven't seen. I know I'll be adding a few of these to my Netflix queue so that next time I weigh my favorite films of all time, I can be well versed enough to defend my selections intelligently.

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