Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2008 version of the "1000 greatest films of all time"

R.I.P. Willy Wonka
R.I.P. Willy Wonka
They Shoot Pictures, Don't They just released their 2008 version of the "1000 greatest films of all time." Let me preface my complaints by stating that I think these guys rock, and I'm glad they do this thankless work. My bitches aren't aimed at them; they're aimed at the critics who helped create these lists.

The 2008 version is at best a mixed bag. There were some welcome departures from the list: I'm a Herzog fan, but I feel no sadness that Signs of Life was knocked from the list. Nor was I saddened by the loss of Kurosawa's Dodes'ka-din; it's the only Kurosawa film I couldn't finish. On the lamentable flip-side, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Gene Wilder version) was inexplicably axed, as was the Coen Brothers' debut, Blood Simple. Woody Allen's Love and Death vanished, while George Roy Hill's inferior The World According to Garp somehow managed to climb from #998 all the way to #844! The horror!

As far as what remained on the list, there were some disturbing trends. Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin unseated what I consider to be the second greatest film of all time, Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, taking its place at #8. Bresson's Au Hazard Balthazar and all 4 of Bergman's films in the top 100 continued their downward progression. (Although the fact that Bergman's "Persona" ranks higher than "The Seventh Seal", or that his masterpieces "Scenes from a Marriage" and "The Virgin Spring" both languish in the 750+ bracket makes me question the wisdom of the list altogether.)

Some silver linings: Blade Runner up 9 slots to #46 (!), Taxi Driver up 10 to #28 with Raging Bull holding strong at #18, and several contemporary classics made their debut, including Donnie Darko, Lost in Translation, and Old Boy. Also, M*A*S*H finally made the cut (how this masterpiece was left out in the first place I can't fathom).

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