Calm Down; It’s Just Another Bad List

There’s a kerfuffle about the AFI’s updated list of the 100 Best American Movies. Like all lists, it is a tool to foment discussion, not to define tastes. I’ve written before about the stupidity of lists, and the propensity of we bloggers (us bloggers?) to get our undies in a twist

I don’t agree with Roger Ebert about Fargo. I’ve only seen it once, and since I live in the mocked MN, I should see it again, but I remember it as prohibitively violent for my medium-delicate sensibilities.

That the Coen Brothers are not represented is the thing to me: O Brother Where Art Thou, Miller’s Crossing, and their first, Blood Simple, all impressed me greatly. Where are other of my favorite directors, like John Sayles, and Terence Malick? Added later: Michael Mann? Steven Soderburgh?

It’s not a great list; I think it confuses popularity or cultural relevance with greatness. Also, I’m interested in how many women were on the voting panel. This seems a very guy-oriented list. Yes, like literature guys have had the power, so the best-ofs will be weighted in their favor, but there are women making good movies. I agree with Carrie Rickey about Clueless, which I found surprisingly substantive.

Time Out’s Centenary Top 100
is my favorite film list; I wish they would’ve updated this one. I buy the Time Out film guide annually, and I check the Time Out online site for reviews of current movies.

2 Responses to “Calm Down; It’s Just Another Bad List”

  1. Sydney Says:

    I have Fargo on DVD and will loan it to you when I see you next week. I just re-watched it and was aghast at the violence. But the dry, dark humor made it bearable for me. After my recent trek through Minnesota and South Dakota, I am amazed at how little parody this movie represents, and rather how REAL those characterizations are geographically.

  2. girldetective Says:

    I’d say how real SOME of the characterizations are. They’re exaggerations with bits of truth in them. We don’t all say “Minni SOH dah”. I really wish it weren’t so violent. The thought of the wood chipper scene fills me with horror even with the passage of years.