Sunday, July 6, 2008

Best 1000 movies

The New York Times lists its thousand best movies.

Apparently, the list is only through 2004, so "The Incredibles" and "Ratatouille" weren't snubbed, The list is just outdated.

They like Woody Allen and Alfred Hitchcock and Martin Scorsese. So does everyone. They like Fellini and Kurosawa. So does everyone. They include the better part of the Preston Sturges ouvre as well. Necessary and not to be omitted, but unsurprising.

They take a strong stand in favor of Clint Eastwood, which is more interesting, but you won't find me disagreeing with them on that score.

Some choices seem weird though; Terry Gilliam makes the list with "Brazil" and "The Fisher King." But "12 Monkeys" did not make the list. You might suspect them of a distaste for Bruce Willis, since "Sixth Sense" also missed the list (likely sending M. Night Shyamalan into a temper tantrum). But they paid due homage to "Die Hard," which is as it should be.

They turn up their noses at the summer blockbuster. One slot for "Star Wars." No "Empire Strikes Back." In my opinion, it's a little bit snobbish to give M. Hulot more slots on the list than Obi Won Kenobi and James Bond, who tie up with Inspector Clouseau. The one Bond inclusion, by the way, is for "Goldfinger." On a list of 1000, I would probably find room for "Dr. No," "From Russia With Love," "Thunderball," "Casino Royale" and maybe "The Spy Who Loved Me" or "Goldfinger."

Ridley Scott got skunked; they snubbed "Gladiator" and "Alien," although they included "Aliens," the James Cameron-directed sequel. But Jim shouldn't celebrate too much; there was no room on the list for "Terminator" or "Titanic."

Also omitted, "Jurassic Park," although Spielberg's "A.I" made the cut. I agree with the inclusion of AI; it's a criminally underappreciated film, but if you're worried about saturating the list with a director, you could probably slash Scorsese's weird "The King of Comedy" and Hitchcock's mean-spirited "Frenzy" before Spielberg's great American dinosaur classic.

I can't agree with the exclusion of "Braveheart" however, although it wasn't a complete loss for Mel Gibson, who got on the list with "Chicken Run" and "Mad Max."

The Coen Brothers make the list with "Raising Arizona," "Barton Fink," and "The Man Who Wasn't There." No "Miller's Crossing," however.

Similarly, the inclusion of Alexander Payne's "About Schmidt" while skipping "Election" is bizarre. I think "Sideways" would have been too late for this list.

I liked that they remembered a couple of my favorites, "Rushmore" and "Metropolitan"

I'm not going to go with a full list of the ones I would cut, though "Shrek," "Roger and Me" and "Jerry Maguire" could all take a flyer.

And where is "Lord of the Rings." There's just no excuse for leaving that off.

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