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Our Opinion Of Their Opinion (Pt. 2)

Monday, June 30, 2008

By: Beal, graeme powell, James17930, Sarah P. & Tanya K.

Part I

Here we go again, cataloguing the last half of EW list of ‘new’ classic movies (don’t worry if you’re not quite sure what that means — after seeing what made the list and what didn’t, we’re not sure if they’re even sure).

Enjoy the ranting.

50. The Piano

J: Is this one only being remembered for Keitel’s shlang? I’ve only seen bits and pieces of it, so I really don’t know.

gp: Seen bits and pieces of what, hmmm? Too easy.

T: This is actually a beautifully acted, shot and directed movie. I love it. That being said, I’ve only seen it once.

49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

J: I would say this deserves to be on the list. Not because it does anything wholly original from an Asian film perspective (to wit, may critics here in Taiwan were scratching their heads at the reception this one got in the West because to them it was all pretty old hat), but because, from what I can tell from having seen many other movies of this ilk, this one truly is one of the greatest of the genre.

S: This was a good “intro” to Asian cinema for those whose palate was blasted by Hollywood action crap.

48. Scarface

gp: What a piece of trash film this is. Why anyone would consider it a classic continues to boggle my mind.

J: Agreed. An utterly stupid movie. You remember we both saw it for the first time together? As it ended, we were both kind of chuckling to ourselves, and then we looked at other and each immediately said something to the effect of ‘Man, what an absolutely retarded movie.’ But then again, what of De Palma isn’t retarded? Mission Impossible, The Untouchables . . . that about it?

gp: I even remember there was a typo in the write up on the DVD case. Carlito’s Way isn’t bad.

T: Never saw it . . . seen too many references to it in other pop culture to care at this point.

47. Men In Black

J: What? What? Is this a typo? Seriously? I think the cops should raid the EW offices right now because there are obviously kilos and kilos of crack being consumed on a daily basis there.

Will Smith resumed his summer grudge against belligerent aliens with this hip, prankish, pure-popcorn adaptation of the cult comic-book series. It succeeds in large part because of Smith’s irascible chemistry with partner Tommy Lee Jones, and the result is a put-on blockbuster that unfolds like an intergalactic 48 HRS.

Ya, and? So what? How does this a classic make? God damn stupid.

gp: It’s a thoroughly enjoyable movie. I could see it somewhere lower down on the list, like traded with BttF.

46. Children of Men

J: Should be higher, probably. Or maybe we should just be glad it’s actually on the list, given some of the other choices.

gp: Definitely one of my all time favourites. I’m glad it’s here, but yeah, I would have put it much higher.

S: CoM is better than most of the movies on this list.

T: Genius.

45. Rain Man

J: Not a bad movie, but here as a token.

S: I’m not sure it’s just a token. It was a really big hit when it came out, and it’s a perennial. It’s not an absolute favourite of mine, but I think it deserves its place here.

44. The Player

gp: If this is the only Altman we’re going to get on this list, I can go with it. Short Cuts and Gosford Park are just as good, and I think, are both classics in their own right.

J: Haven’t seen The Player, but I wouldn’t argue against Gosford Park taking its place.

43. Gladiator

J: It was when this won Best Picture that I actually realized in my heart that the Academy Awards were utterly worthless (it somehow won over Crouching Tiger — which it again does in this list! ^^$#$%$ — and Traffic). Joaquin Phoenix annoyed the hell out of me, and, aside from a few well shot set-pieces, this film really does not much of interest. Decent popcorn fair, but the accolades it receives are astounding to me.

gp: I actually find this movie really boring. We just watched it a few months ago, the first time since the theatre, and I found myself nodding off.

T: All the shots of wheat that were supposed to be all ethereal just made me want to snooze. The score is annoying.

42. Clueless

J: Again, a decent film, but, just because a movie is decent and it’s good at ‘subverting our expectations,’ that doesn’t make it a CLASSIC FILM. Jesus.

S: Sounds like EW was clueless when it wrote this list.

J: Ya-zing.

T: I love this movie. Boo to you guys.

41. Dazed and Confused

J: Understand why it’s here. I haven’t seen it, but I saw one of its knock-offs . . . you know, the one that takes place over a single night, where there’s a big party and everyone gets drunk and high.

S: Sounds like EW was dazed and confused whe . . . well, you get the idea.

T: Again, boo to you guys. Apparently EW and I are well matched. This movie is fantastic. Hilarious dialogue, great characters, and an actually decent rendition of what being in high school/ a teenager actually feels like. Richard Linklater is my hero.

40. Speed

J: Popcorn fare that deserves to be on this list — one of the few, truly re-watchable intelligent action movies out there — but not this high. Again, how is this better, or how does it say something more meaningful, than Glory, or L.A. Confidential?

gp: I think this actually works here. Do I have to back that up with why I think that?

J: Well, it wouldn’t be a bad thing.

gp: Okay.

39. The Sixth Sense

J: Actually never seen it, and obviously by now don’t have to, but overall I’m not impressed by Shyamalan’s body of work, so I’d probably say ‘enh’ to this one.

gp: I saw this a few months after it came out, knowing there was a surprise ending. But I honestly wasn’t trying to figure it out while I was watching – I just assumed that Willis had died and come back as a ghost from the get-go. When that turned out to be the surprise, I was like ‘oh’.

S: Well, I got sucked in. I didn’t see it coming. And neither did most people (gp, you must have a sixth sense about those things). It think it belongs on the list because it started a new sub-sub-genre of twist stories, was Shyamalan’s big debut, and ’cause a lot of people really liked it.

38. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

T: Such a great movie . . .

J: A clever but ultimately hollow and overrated film. Once again, not deserving. Wow, why is that as we get higher on this list we’re getting more and more undeserving?

gp: I agree with Tanya. Great movie, and I’m glad it is here.

37. Pretty Woman

J: In the same vein as Dirty Dancing, but it’s a film like this which should be somewhere around the 70ish – 80ish mark on a list like this.

T: Yeah, I don’t know about this one . . .

36. Spider-Man 2

J: I see what they’re doing here, but I would have picked X-men 2 instead (or, even better, Batman Begins). SM:2 doesn’t really hold up upon repeat viewings.

gp: Agreed. I would have loved to have seen X-men 2 on this list as their COMIC BOOK CHOICE.

B: They went with the sequel. Strange, because though it is certainly far better (and a better re-watch than Batman Begins, I’d say), it’s probably not as ‘iconic.’

35. The Incredibles

J: This seems about right. My only question is: where the hell is the sequel already?!

S: Really don’t like this movie, but if it’s the only computer animated movie here, I’m okay with that.

T: No word yet on a sequel. I liked this movie, but was not as blown away by it as everyone else. Other Pixar movies were better.

34. Fargo

J: So the only real debate here is should this be higher or lower? Taking a quick look ahead, I’d say higher (although, strangely, I haven’t seen a few of the movies that lie ahead, so maybe I can’t be sure).

gp: Needs to be much higher – in the top ten. Everything about this movie works, I even think the music is terrific. Frances McDormand gives one of the best performances out of all of the films on this list – she does the whole Columbo thing with dignity and humour. Terrific film.

B: Maybe they started their top ten at 30?

S: I will never see a wood-chipper the same way again . . .

T: Should be in the top ten for sure. I could watch this movie a hundred times, and it’s my standard for friendship: love it and you’re okay by me.

33. The Breakfast Club

J: Another decent film that is probably being afforded too much credit. Is this purely a whim of sentimentality?

gp: I understand the sentimentality, but this film to me has always seemed a bit shallow – too calculated, in the way a lot of 80s movies were, and not really genuine.

T: I just didn’t like this one. One of those films I saw years after it had been hyped up and it wasn’t what I was expecting.

32. Fight Club

gp: Frankly, the less said about Fight Club, the better.

J: I don’t know if you realize it graeme, but, given the movie, that could be taken a few different ways.

B: Yeah, man. That’s both the first and second rules.

31. Brokeback Mountain

J: Is this movie better than Crouching Tiger? No. Lust, Caution, even? No. So why is it here? It was ‘groundbreaking.’ Fine. But, as a film, it’s overlong, being filled with too many dead-end subplots. So, obviously, if you’re going to go with a second Ang Lee film here, this wouldn’t be my choice, and it certainly should be reversed in position with Crouching Tiger on this list.

B: Stop confusing “good” with “classic.” This isn’t the list of the 100 New Best Movies. In terms of quality, yeah, it loses to those movies. In terms of quality, I’d say The Ice Storm trumps them all. But in that show-it-to-your-friends, Jeez-it’s-on-TV-again, I-can’t-believe-you-haven’t-see-this-yet classic sense, this … well actually, I’d still say Crouching Tiger beats it. But definitely not Lust, Caution. That one, good though it may be, in no way belongs anywhere near a list like this.

gp: I thought Brokeback Mountain was a tremendously moving film, and certainly a classic.

B: Also: it seems strange that they would take such a serious, downer, tragic movie like this and use a pun in its title. And a 3rd grade pun at that.

J: Blame Annie Proulx for that one.

T: I think if a movie has spawned 1001 parodies/and or references, it deserves to be on this list.

30. When Harry Met Sally

gp: If you’re going to include a romantic comedy in the top 50, then this is certainly the one to choose. The only other would be Love Actually, which is, actually, a glaring omission.

S: Deserves a mention for the diner scene, and for the soundtrack. A funny movie, but maybe a bit high.

29. The Bourne Supremacy

J: Haven’t seen any of the Bournes yet because I want to have a Bourne Marathon Day one day. And I haven’t done that yet.

B: You comin’ back for a month this fall? We’ll see about squeezing one in.

J: Probably next year.

S: I admit this last one was my favourite, but why not just put the trilogy in here?

T: I don’t like Matt Damon, and the Bourne thing doesn’t work for me either.

28. Wings of Desire

J: Wings . . . of . . . Desire . . . what the hell is that? <Wiki> . . . </Wiki> Oh. Uh . . . I don’t know. But the sequel gave us the U2 song Faraway, So Close, so . . . that’s good.

gp: This one managed to keep me awake for the entire 127 running time during a first-year, film class screening – and that didn’t happen very often. As one of the few examples of non-American film on this list, then yeah, it is definitely deserving of its place. The US re-make, City of Angels, was trite in comparison.

27. Aliens

J: Okay. But I’d still put Ghostbusters over Aliens, if only because there was decent acting from the entire cast of GB, and not just from Weaver as is the case in Aliens.

B: Lance Henriksen: great performance and great gets-ripped-in-two scene.

T: Whatever happened to Lance Henriksen?

J: He was in AVP. So . . . not much.

26. Hoop Dreams

J: Ah, I see. It’s actually Ebert and ghost of Siskel writing this list. Although, I’ve never seen Hope Dreams, so who am I to say it shouldn’t be 26?

B: Called it! Boomshalakalaka!

25. Shrek

J: Now I’m just angry. 25? Shrek? 25??!! First of all, Shrek 2 is way better, so if any Shrek movie should be on here, it’s that one. And even then, it should be 97. For Fuck’s Sake. Whatever that means.

B: I just shat into my bowl of Shreddies. Shrek 2 was better? Way better? My breakfast is ruined.

gp: I’m a real boy!

T: WTF James, seriously?

J: Yes. I found Shrek so boring I had to be strongly cajoled into watching Shrek 2 (which I’m obviously glad I did, as it is easily the funnier and superior of the two films).

24. A Room With A View

J: I love this book, but I hadn’t even realized they’d made a film of it. Interesting.

gp: I’ve seen bits and pieces of this over the years, so I’ve managed to construct a rough edit of it in my brain. Couldn’t tell whether or not I liked it though. It’s all subjective anyway. If I were going to put a Merchant/Ivory film up here, I’d choose Remains of the Day, which is both a great book, and a great film.

J: Bits and pieces of what, hmm? A Room With a View? Yeah? Oh.

S: Zzzzzzzzz

23. Memento

J: Finally, another movie that seems about right in its placement.

B: Only beef with Memento is that its title should’ve read something backwards. They should’ve called it “Stop Timer.”

S: My only beef with Memento is that it wasn’t that good.

J: Can’t let you get away with that one. Memento really is a well crafted movie with definitely deserves to be here.

T: I agree with James here, but still can’t believe he liked Shrek 2 better than Shrek.

22. Rushmore

J: Why is this here? At all. I mean, I had a feeling it would be on this list, only because I see how this list has been going; of course, it should not be on here at all, and it CERTAINLY SHOULD NOT BE one ahead of Memento, one before Schindler’s List and twelve ahead of Fargo. A message to all critics: movies about lovable and/or annoying ‘eccentric’ types who ‘overcome’ or ‘learn something’ ARE NOT CLASSIC MOVIES. They are decent at best, but this is an overall slightly boring and tried genre and just because it became the zeitgeist of the 1990s, doesn’t mean these movies are gonna stand-up over time. Picks like this are here because geeky movie critics who had horrible high school careers ‘see’ themselves in the characters. Well you know what? Get over it.

B: How can you rule out any movie based on a vague plot description? It’s the execution that determines if it’s good, and the quality and impact that determine how remembered it is. Also, having a character ‘overcome’ or ‘learn something’ is called a ‘character arc’ and it’s present in about 99.7% of all movies. Let’s not confuse your dislike of something with other people being wrong to like it. And please let’s not blame other people’s liking or disliking of something on a character fault. That’s assy. I definitely think Rushmore is well-liked by well-many, and that it’s a movie that’ll still be around and kicking in the decades to come. Don’t know if I’d sit it all the way up at 22, however.

gp: I think Royal Tenenbaums is probably just as good as Rushmore. Most of Anderson’s stuff is quirky for quirky’s sake, so the fact that I enjoy his films so much is probably a guilty pleasure. I agree though, that 22 is too high a placement. Anderson has yet to make his ‘classic’ film.

B: ‘Quirky’ is as valid a tone as any.

J: But, see, the problem here is that EW also can’t decide what you’re accusing me of — entangling the two definitions of ‘classic,’ and not understanding which one we’re using. I mean, Men in Black and A Room With a View on the same list? Are they saying MiB is classic because people still like to watch it and maybe it’s still talked or thought about, or are they saying it’s truly exceptional film-making? The only way I could see it here would be by arguing the former. But then, ARWAV, well, I’m no film dunce, and I had never even heard of it. How many of the general public have seen it or heard of it? I’m going to argue it’s here because it’s a good film, not because it’s still talked about a lot or people still held it in high regard by general film goers.

So then, how to explain Rushmore? Good film or thought to have staying power? Well, I would say that in another twenty years, the only people who are going to care about Wes Anderson are film students who are studying the particulars of late 20th century cinema — in another twenty years, the general public aren’t really gonna get this particular brand of quirky. So which definition of ‘classic’ does this make it?

B: I’d say that A Room With A View doesn’t belong here, because nobody’s heard of it, and Rushmore does, because people have heard of it and liked it and I’d bet they will still like it, along with Wes Anderson in general, in twenty years. Just because you don’t like the guy doesn’t mean other people can’t. I don’t like Matthew Good, but I get that he’s respected and has a healthy career ahead of him, and perhaps even some legacy to reach beyond it.

J: But my point is not about what you would say, it’s about what EW is saying — and I’m saying they’re baffling me with their baffling interpretation of ‘classic.’

21. Schindler’s List

S: Why is this here? Why is this not higher? Seriously, Die Hard is a better movie than Schindler’s List???

J: And Rushmore is only one behind it? Yes, this list is definitely being written by a group of twenty-something crack smokers (not the ghosts of Siskel and Ebert, as I stated earlier).

B: Very surprising this is so low. I figured top 5, at least top 10. Though I can see Die Hard outranking it.

gp: I think more people know about this film, then have actually seen it. Sure it was popular when it came out, but I know a lot of people who couldn’t even watch it the first time, let alone re-watch it. I do think it’s a classic, but not in the sense that it will be a perennial favourite. Christmas has It’s a Wonderful Life, Easter has Ben-Hur, Hallowe’en has Halloween, the 4th of July has Independence Day, but there isn’t really a time of the year when the whole family is sitting around, stuffed after too much turkey, when someone suggests – “I know – let’s watch Schindler’s List!”

B: More people know about it than have seen it? Absolutely fits the definition of classic. Also: you break out Independence Day for July 4th? Stop doing that. We were young when we loved it so. Young and wrong.

J: If only there was a movie where Canada got destroyed that we could watch on July 1st. Last Night, maybe?

20. The Lion King

S: Not one of Disney’s best, I’m surprised it’s been so well remembered here at #20.

19. Casino Royale

gp: Loved it. The best Bond movie by leaps and bounds, but putting it at #19, ahead of some of these other movies, just doesn’t make much sense to me.

S: I happily surprised to see this one remembered. Best Bond by far.

J: Yes, one of my favourite movies, actually, but . . . 19? Even I would quibble with that.

B: Good movie, best Bond I’ve seen, but while the Bond series is classic, I don’t know if I see this one standing out the way Dr. No and Goldfinger do in the zeitgeist.

18. Do the Right Thing

J: Again, another ‘groundbreaking’ but ultimately poorly executed film. So yes, while ‘classic’ because it’s ‘memorable,’ again, not such a great movie.

B: I actually think ‘memorable’ (when applied to a large enough number of people, or to a culture in general) is an excellent definition of ‘classic.’

17. Jerry Maguire

gp: I’m not against this being on a list like this, but #17?

S: I thought this was a miserable movie. It got its emotional head up its backside. Cruise and Zellweger make a mockery of the term “on-screen chemistry,” and that kid is annoying. I have never understood what others saw in this movie.

J: Should be nowhere near this list. Holy God, we need to take over EW, stat.

T: This movie has its charms. I think it deserves to be on the list, but should be closer to the triple digits.

J: Like the 150s, maybe. I mean, Almost Famous is the obvious Cameron Crowe, here. And it’s classic . . . it’s been homaged on Entourage. So there you go.

16. Boogie Nights

S: I am rolling my eyes!

J: Great movie, but not better than Magnolia, I think. Close, but not quite. And even Punch Drunk Love is my sentimental fave of PTA’s movies thus far. So I don’t know. And it appears that Magnolia isn’t even on here! Ridiculous.

B: Magnolia doesn’t belong here. It’s my favourite PTA film, but it doesn’t belong here.

T: I think it deserves this spot, but defending it too much makes it look like I love porn, or Marky Mark, and I don’t want any of that. It’s really a good film, and funnier every time I watch it. Then heartbreaking and sad. I’d say it’s PTA’s best film.

15. Edward Scissorhands

gp: I feel like a broken record – good film, touching and original and all that, but #15 on this list? It’s not that good!

S: I know what you mean. Though it is a perennial. Hard to find someone who hasn’t seen it and liked it.

14. Crumb

T: Seriously, no one else has anything to say about Crumb? It’s at #14 and it’s a DOCUMENTARY! Go out and rent it right now! Buy it! It’s funny, and a little creepy at times, but very good.

13. Goodfellas

gp: Glad to see this made the top 20. My favourite Scorsese movie.

J: Never actually seen it. Unbelievable, I know. But is it better than Casino?

gp: Yes. Casino is merely a decent remake of Goodfellas.

T: True. I never understood why Scorsese made Casino since he’d already perfected the gangster movie and with most of the same actors?

12. The Matrix

gp: Nothing to gripe about here.

S: I’m surprised this isn’t a little higher, actually.

B: I’m not a fan.

J: While I would agree this one is the ‘best’ of the trilogy, I actually find Reloaded much more enjoyable to watch. But I know, I know, this one started it all, so the classic moniker applies . . .

11. This is Spinal Tap

gp: I swear I didn’t know they were going to do this!

S: This is a great choice for a comedy entry. Hard to beat.

J: Except with Ghostbusters, or Punch Drunk Love . . . although I did like this movie.

10. Moulin Rouge

gp: Like watching a two-hour music video crammed with decent actors. And I mean that in the worst possible way imaginable. I’d rather my head explode then watch this film again.

S: It was fun, but I can’t help thinking that novelty, not quality, got it this far.

J: Haven’t seen it, but that’s because some movies are obviously not worth watching. This list is turning into an unbelievable farce.

B: This has always felt like a movie that some people really, really want to be considered a classic, but to most people, it’s annoying junk.

T: I think it deserves to be on the list, but definitely not this high up. I sort of love this movie, but it gets annoying in the middle before it gets good again, and it makes me feel like someone slipped drugs into my corn flakes.

9. Die Hard

S: An excellent choice to represent action flicks. But c’mon, #9?

J: Yeah. Throw this in the 40s or 50s or something. Maybe even 30s.

B: Meaning that action flicks aren’t deserving of high-ranking ‘classic’ status?

J: High-ranking, no. Not over something that’s not only an incredible film, but also an important historical document, like Schindler’s List.

B: Lest we forget the tragedy that unfolded that one fateful Christmas at Nakatomi Plaza.

T: I have never seen this film.

8. The Silence of the Lambs

S: I saw this when I was too young to see it, and then a few years later had to force myself to watch it again, just to get over it. Really good movie, but somewhat let down by Red Dragon and Hannibal.

J: This one’s deserving . . . it would just come down to niggling over which position in the top ten.

gp: I completely forgot about this one, but yes, great film.

T: Lives up to its hype. Exceeds its hype.

7. Hannah and Her Sisters

S: It’s been too long since I’ve seen this, but I remember really enjoying it.

J: But is it the best Woody Allen of the last twenty-five years?

gp: If you’re going to choose a middle-period Woody work, then yeah, this one makes the most sense. Crimes and Misdemeanours is just as good, and because I’m a fan, I do enjoy Match Point, and Deconstructing Harry, but HahS is one of his best.

B: HahS? Is that how they say it on the Internets?

J: I didn’t like Match Point, actually. Way too obvious. Let’s show him reading Crime and Punishment for absolutely not reason, just so we can base the plot on Crime and Punishment and say we’re clever. I was rolling my eyes big time on that one. Or, another possibility, let’s show him reading C&P, as if he gets the idea for his crime from it, but then pretend that he must not have finished it or else you think he’d of been more wary of the moral comeuppance at the end.

T: I love Match Point. I hate most Woody Allen films though, so maybe I was just surprised it wasn’t about an old quirky guy.

6. Saving Private Ryan

S: This is the first Spielberg movie I saw that made me wonder if he wasn’t paying as much attention to his scripts as he should be. It’s got some brilliant moments, like the Jewish American soldier taunting the German captives, but the movie as a whole is missing something. I wish they had put Schindler’s List here instead.

J: Agreed with switching SL with this, but I disagree that that taunting scene is one of the ‘great’ moments in the film. I see that as one of the ‘hitting me over the head with a frying pan’ moments of the film, of which there are a few. The opening landing at Normandy, though, is one of the most powerful sequences in movie history.

gp: I would cut off the prologue and epilogue with the veteran – those bits always bugged me. I would say this in one of the most powerful action movies ever made. The script is pretty jingoistic, and very American, but I cannot deny its power. Top ten? Yeah, it deserves it.

5. Toy Story

S: Never liked it, or it’s later incarnations. Graphics were amazing, story — meh.

J: This was written by Joss Whedon, so I have to give it credit for that, but I saw it too long ago to know whether it should really be at number 5 or not. My gut tells me probably not.

B: And for that matter, where’s Serenity?!? Huh? Mr. Universe isn’t classic? WTF EW?!?

But Toy Story . . . still my favourite Pixar movie. I actually thought Toy Story 2 would likely beat it here, because that one seems to be the fan and critic favourite, but I’ve always thought this one was better structurally, story-wise, and in consistency. The second one seemed like just a chain of (good) jokes with some not-great sentimental stuff.

4. Blue Velvet

J: If you’re gonna pick a Lynch, you pick Straight Story, or, much, much better, Mulholland Dr. Blue Velvet has some stuff going for it, but by now it’s pretty dated and it gets really stupid and silly near the end.

gp: I guess I’m a bad movie nerd for never having seen this movie.

T: Same here.

3. Titanic

S: It made a lot of money. But is that enough for #3?

J: In terms of ‘classic,’ though, it’s hard to argue.

B: This thing was number one at the box office forever. I believe it was Iron Man that finally took it down. Yeah, it belongs. Everyone knows Titanic.

J: And, really, everything post-iceberg was pretty great film-making.

T: Yeah if you can get over the hype, and the Celine Dion associations, this is actually a pretty great film.

2. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

S: A trilogy of movies, based on classic novels, with an incredible mix of “old-style” filmmaking and the best visual effects going. I find this a hard entry to argue with.

J: Yeah, though I don’t know if I’d put it at #2. I’d let it land somewhere in the last half of the top 10.

1. Pulp Fiction

S: This is why lists like this suck. No one is able to look back and say, “Y’know what, despite my being 16 (either in body or spirit) when I saw this, and being enamoured with it because it was gross/funny/dirty/envelope-pushing, this movie is awful.” But no. From now until they make the next “edgy” film, I’ve got to put up with this one showing up at the top of every ridiculous “best of” list. Go ahead, take a piece out of me. But I cannot be the only one who hates, hates, hates this movie.

B: There were adults around when this came out, you know and they, too, tended to like it. Of course it belongs up here on the list. I’ll just let graeme explain why.

gp: I’m not surprised this is #1, I mean, it has been making it into some recent top ten lists that include the past 100 years, usually placed just below Citizen Kane and The Godfather. I like it, and I liked it the very first time I saw it. It’s not my favourite movie, and I don’t think it’s the best movie of the past 25 years, but it is a classic, and it was incredibly influential. Did it change cinema? Yeah, in some ways it did. While I don’t even own a copy of it, I’ve seen it enough times to say with with certainty that it probably hasn’t aged at all — that the freshness and the sheer fun of the thing, the joy of crafting a neat story with good actors and crackling dialogue is still alive and well — and that’s why it is number 1 on this list, and I don’t really have a problem with that.

J: I first time I saw this I was very nonplussed. Every other time since I’ve simply been ‘meh, it’s all right.’ There is nothing overly special about this movie; yes, special, but not overly special. Should be in the 50s or 60s maybe. And now . . .

Everyone at EW is a fucking joke. The fact that The Shawshank Redemption is not at #1, is not even — so incredibly that it blows my mind — ON THIS LIST AT ALL, shows that they are bunch of pathetic, muck-raking hacks.

You know exactly what happened here. They purposely snubbed Shawshank simply because it has gained its stellar notoriety and reputation through being placed at #2, for years now, on IMDb’s list of the Top 250 Movies of all Time. Does this mean that the IMDb list is automatically right? No, of course not. But, if over 334,000 thousand people, who do things like vote on movies at IMDb because they fancy themselves film connoisseurs, can all agree that Shawshank is the second best movie OF ALL TIME, how can EW possibly exclude it from a list of the 100 best of the last 25 years? It has to be intentional — some way of attempting to say ‘we are true critics, and will not be swayed by the whims of the public.’ Which, of course, is utter bullshit, because in this case the public is right. Truly and obviously right. Even if you don’t think it should be #1 as I do, I doubt anyone can argue it deserves exclusion from this list.

B: The fact that it’s not anywhere on here is so nonsensical that it feels more like a simple error than anything deliberate. There’s no ill will towards that film anywhere. Everyone loves it. Everyone remembers it, recommends it to their friends. And let’s not get the blood too boily, son. Because it’s a fluff magazine list — at best, their dumbest decisions warrant a “Hmm.” But to say EW is muck-raking, well that’s just not the EW I know. They tow the line, as towed as they can get it. And the whole IMDb thing? Shawshank was hugely beloved well before IMDb hit the town (though well after it played in theatres — floparoo). The Shawshank Redemption had earned its position on such a list before VHS has even bid us adieu. But you’d figure someone must’ve said to whoever was in charge of that list, “Psst. Shawshank, bud,” and the guy’d be like, “Oh yeah.” This just doesn’t make sense.

gp: I too believe that Shawshank is a huge, glaring, meteor-about-to-crash-into-earth sized omission. It is an undeniable modern classic. Other films I was surprised to find absent were The Usual Suspects, or any mention of Michael Mann, either Last of the Mohicans, Heat or The Insider. I had hoped to see Out of Sight, but maybe it isn’t popular enough to be considered a classic — though the ladies do love their Clooney. One that I think deserved a spot is The Princess Bride, certainly above some of the other comedies on this list. Where is The Fugitive? The English Patient? Love, Actually? And even though I don’t really like these films, so it doesn’t bug me too much — but no Braveheart or Forrest Gump; do they not fit the definition of classic? Almost Famous? Being John Malkovitch? The Big Lebowski? Shakespeare in Love? The Thin Red Line? Elephant? Dances With Wolves? City of God? The Hunt for Red October? Cinema Paradiso? Amelie? Anything by Errol Morris? No recognition of the stellar Iranian cinema from the 80s and 90s – such as A Moment of Innocence, or the fabulous A Taste of Cherry from director Abbas Kiarostami. And finally, nothing by Polish Director Krzysztof Kieślowski – his Three Colours trilogy could have easily been placed in the top ten. Have I used up all of my blab time?

B: Yeah, a lot of those don’t make sense, either. The Usual Suspects lack took me aback, but Forrest Gump I didn’t even think of. That’s not just crazy. Excluding Forrest Gump is retarded crazy. The English Patient feels like a good fit, though it really doesn’t get much coverage these days, so maybe not. City of God may still have a smaller profile, but everyone who has seen it loves it like a mother, so I’d want it on my list. Stellar Iranian cinema from the 80s and 90s that nobody’s heard of? Yeah, that fits anyone’s definition of ‘classic.’ I would’ve thought Good Will Hunting would be on here, and Jurassic Park. Thought they might’ve gone with American Beauty, but I don’t mind that they didn’t. If they wanted to be cool, …28 Days Later, or if they wanted to be cool in everyone’s eyes but mine, Donnie Darko. But I guess they didn’t want to be cool. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Trainspotting. Do I overrate the world’s love for Black Hawn Down? Groundhog Day. Oh yeah, and you know what else should’ve been on this list? The Shawshank Redemption.

gp: Yeah, I may have been going a bit crazy with the Iranian cinema bit . . . I guess I’m still shell-shocked by the lack of Shawshank . . .

J: And here, once again, is my problem with including Michael Clayton. Regardless of the fact I haven’t seen it, at the moment, all that can be said about it — what gives it its ‘classic’ status — is that it’s a ‘Best Picture also-ran.’ It’s got recognition now, but will it still in 5, 10, or 25 years?

Because, by this logic, shouldn’t many other Best Picture also-rans (many of which you guys have just mentioned) be on this list (especially given that they are all better than a lot of movies on the list anyway?):

Awakenings; Sense and Sensibility; The Sweet Hereafter (okay, not a Best Pic. but Best Director nominee, but still considered a momentous film by critics); Life Is Beautiful; Traffic, and various others that have already been mentioned up in the list.

Hell, while we’re at it, what about actual Best Picture winners (English Patient and Shakespeare in Love belonging here too):

The Last Emperor

And then my own personal pick, which, really, I think could be argued for very well in terms of ‘classic’ status given how many imitators it spawned:


Okay, I’m done my ranting now. Oh, wait, one more question — why do we keep leading with pics from movies that aren’t on the list? Or are you hinting that they’re blind?

T: You’ve all done my ranting for me. Good job.


7 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah P permalink
    Tuesday, July 1, 2008 7:23 am

    I’m only halfway through reading other people’s comments regarding films I knew I wasn’t going to comment on. But please, A Room With A View is a classic movie. I don’t even like it, and I’d call it a classic movie. A 1985 dramatization of an E.M. Foster book, Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham Carter, Daniel Day Lewis, Denholm Elliot, Simon Callow, Judi Dench, a Merchant/Ivory production (Howard’s End, Remains of the Day), won 3 Oscars (smaller ones) and nominated for another 5 (bigger ones) and you guys have never heard of it? I may have even called myself a film dunce, and I do know all about this film, and it still puts me to sleep. But it IS a classic.

  2. James17930 permalink
    Tuesday, July 1, 2008 11:38 am

    My point was simply what are they saying makes it a classic? Its goodness or its staying power . . . because I would argue it doesn’t have the latter.

  3. Saturday, July 12, 2008 2:10 pm

    It seems EW’s music classics list is even more batshit insane. A few highlights:

    Radiohead’s OK Computer at #62 and at #10 … In Rainbows? Unless part of that’s the whole for-free bit, that’s nutso. Even if part of that is the whole for-free bit … nutso.

    I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard any Amy Winehouse music, so she may indeed be very good, but it’s gotta be too soon to be putting her at #9.

    Unplugged in New York is #11 and Vs. is #78; Nirvana’s Nevermind and Pearl Jam’s Ten are # NOT LISTED and # NOT LISTED, respectively. And the only REM is Life’s Rich Pageant.

    No Right Said Fred. AT ALL.

  4. Saturday, July 12, 2008 2:14 pm

    Though their TV list actually makes decent sense.

  5. Tuesday, July 15, 2008 12:04 pm

    Hmm, I didn’t mind this list too much, granted, I think that it’s a bit too currently relevant with so many 08 titles. If you give it a bit of time some of the 2008 films might slip off of it, as they won’t be so fresh in people’s minds. But then again, how do you define a classic, that’s my first question. Is it by the scope, the popularity, the critical acclaim, the pretentiousness “I’m supposed to like this film, so I’m going to put it down” factor, or is it a combination of all these things. I bet I could create a formula to put together a list of classics and I think it would look something like this. My formula would cross reference all films that have been made in the past 25 years, then, would create a running total based on google hits, rotten tomato scores, budget, box office, dvd sales, nominations and wins. Then after my formula spat out the top 100, I would need to make sure I had a foreign film, a woody allen film, a doc, and so on, filtering through the list and making 1984 like edits to make it palatable for general consumption.

    Once you take into account the impact, and the scale some of these movies had you can see where they are coming from by having them on this list. I’m not going to deny that Titanic is kind of a shitty over hammed up drama but still it was one of the biggest movies ever, no one ever said that this was the best 100 movies of all time, just a list of classics. I didn’t really like Napoleon Dynamite, but I won’t deny its relevance on this list.

    Granted, I would remove and add a lot of films to this list. These seem to be mainly commercially viable films, for the most part, huge hits. And some movies are slow creepers that gain cult status over the years, and in turn inspire and effect many future directors, in turn having a bigger impact than some of the most recognizable films.

    I’m scared to look at the music list, it will probably make me mad.

  6. James17930 permalink
    Wednesday, July 16, 2008 1:03 am

    I’ve looked at the music list — it’s too horrible to even contemplate.

    The TV one — at least Buffy cracked the top 10, barely, but West Wing at 23? Too low.

    I guess it too much to hope for that they’d put Angel on there too, even though in some ways it’s the better show (although not as ‘classic,’ I know).

    But then, in that same vein, are 90210 and Melrose Place both really needed? More specifcially, Melrose Place . . . I mean, WTF?

  7. James17930 permalink
    Friday, September 12, 2008 5:28 am

    I saw ‘Michael Clayton’ a few days ago, or, as it is so aptly called in Chinese:

    ‘Whole Side Anti-Attack’

    Anyway, I’m happy to say that my take on it was correct. It was a solid, decent film, but in no way more ‘classic’ than many of the other films we’ve mentioned let off the list. One thinks it was only included because it was currently on the minds of the EW writers. But again, they should know better than that.

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