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AFI 10 top 10 - Blather, Rinse, Repeat
June 22nd, 2008
01:52 pm

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AFI 10 top 10
So, the American Film Institute made a new list. Or, a list of lists - their 10 top ten lists. I somewhat agree with this notion - film is such a big endeavor, coming up with a "top 100" of all films seems daunting. So, they broke film into 10 genres (what?), and selected a top 10 in each genre.

That's slightly more manageable.

One of the issues I have with this approach is their list of the top 10 genres. "Romantic Comedy", "Sci-Fi", and "Epic", yeah, I can see that there'd be quality movies in each one, and they don't overlap (much). And then you add in "Animation" - er, that's not really a genre as a choice of presentation style, like "black and white", or "voiceover", but OK.

"Sports" is a genre. Sigh. That seems questionable. Sure, there are some good sports movies. I guess. Giving "Sports" one of the top 10 genres seems like charity, though - very few of the top 10 sports movies ranked in AFI's top 100 movies last year (huh, and both of them were boxing movies).

Similarly, "Gangster" and "Courtroom Drama" were odd genre choices.


So, I'm a slave to my movie-watching project. I've gone through the 10 top 10 lists, identified movies that weren't already on my "movies to see list" (which is like my NetFlix queue, minus the silly impulse things I've added to my NetFlix Queue like Season 1 of Greatest American Hero). Of the 10 top 10 lists, I added 17 movies to my queue. Of the remaining 87, maybe a dozen or so were already on my queue, leaving me with 65ish - around 2/3 of the list - that I've already seen.

I'll see the good movies. Yes, I will.


On the other end of the queue - I just watched "Do the Right Thing". Meh. So, racism is bad. Ok. And violence isn't the answer. Or maybe it is. No, it isn't. Well, sometimes. Got it.

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From:rechercher
Date:June 23rd, 2008 03:13 pm (UTC)
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So, there weren't any on the list that made you go "Eeeew, you have got to be kidding"? I was because of the way you said "I'll see the good movies." Somehow, I just couldn't read that sentance without hearing emphasis on the word 'good'.
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From:tsmaster
Date:June 23rd, 2008 03:55 pm (UTC)
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Well, I meant that I still intend to use the AFI's lists as bringing the best of film to the top. There's nothing on the list that I refuse to see, but there are several that I'm in no hurry to see coming to the top of the NetFlix queue. The entire "Sports" category, for example - I'm sure that "Pride of the Yankees" isn't going to turn out to be my favorite movie, but I'll see it just the same.

Part of why I'm doing this is that I don't entirely believe that if I were left to my own impulses, I'd watch the movies that I ought to see. I've got to eat the broccoli and asparagus of film along with the tiramisu. Part of me is even worse than that - once I see the prerequisite "good for me" movies, then I'll be "cultured" and I can go back to watching fluff, and it'll all be OK.

I expect that the way it'll turn out is that when I get out the other end of this project, I'll have exposed myself to a lot of artistic directions that I wouldn't otherwise have paid attention to, and I'll choose a slightly classier stripe of fluff.


I ask myself why I'm going to all this bother for film, and not for paintings, literature, classical music, or theatre. Maybe it's because eating popcorn while reading Moby Dick is problematic.
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From:rechercher
Date:June 23rd, 2008 04:34 pm (UTC)

All the movies you should see?

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So, are you eventually going to try to tackle one of these lists? (Stick to 1-5. Six is definitely not your style. Not unless you've changed A LOT since I saw you last.)
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From:tsmaster
Date:June 23rd, 2008 04:43 pm (UTC)

Re: All the movies you should see?

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I'd be interested to peruse a list of 1000 best movies, but that's a LOT of film to get through. Assuming I had already seen half of the thousand listed, if I were to watch one new film a week, it'd take me ten years. That seems like way more work than I want to embark upon.
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From:rechercher
Date:June 23rd, 2008 05:01 pm (UTC)

Just being awnry

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How many movies do you watch a week? How long are you planning to live?
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From:tsmaster
Date:June 23rd, 2008 05:39 pm (UTC)

Re: Just being awnry

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I probably watch a movie every week, on average, so that part seems reasonable, but that's taking NetFlix movies in with big screen movies and TiVo movies, so if I gave myself the assignment of seeing the 1000 best movies ever before I died, that'd require focusing on those at the exclusion of other movies.

So, whether I die next year, or 50 years out, or if I'm one of the first people to live absurdly long through Kurzweilian advances of medical technology, I think I'd enjoy each of those additional 500 movies less than I have enjoyed the movies from the AFI's top 100 lists.
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From:ginsu
Date:June 23rd, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC)
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I'll have exposed myself to a lot of artistic directions that I wouldn't otherwise have paid attention to, and I'll choose a slightly classier stripe of fluff.

It's interesting -- as a former English major who graduated with honors, I see things in almost the opposite way. I have increasingly come to believe that the artier art, which attempts sophisticated insight into modern culture, is actually a pretty poor fit of tools and task.

Fundamentally, the creator is using made-up people, involved in made-up events, to discuss real-world situations. It simply doesn't work very well. The superior tools for that job are the essay and the camera; unfortunately, essayists and photographers very rarely achieve wealth, social status, and fame.

This last century has been particularly instructive in this regard. Most of the "better" art was actually much worse, in terms of benefiting or improving the world; it was instead more or less just a tedious, if well-written, complaint. Most of what I would call useful forward progress happened in what are today considered genres.

I came across this amusing passage in an Agatha Christie murder mystery last week:

"I thought you wrote novels," said Julian Harmon.

"Well, so did I," said Edmund. "I began writing a novel. Rather good it was. Pages about an unshaven man getting out of bed and what he smelt like, and the grey streets, and a horrible old woman with dropsy and a vicious young tart who dribbled down her chin And they all talked interminably about the state of the world and wondered what they were alive for. And suddenly, I began to wonder, too..."


I believe Ms. Christie had, by 1950, come to much the same sort of conclusions I have.
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From:rechercher
Date:June 23rd, 2008 03:47 pm (UTC)

PS

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How the freak didn't Ratatouille make the Animated list? Shrek should have been #4 and Ratatouille #5.

And if it wasn't for that "A", I'd make Spirited Away #1.
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From:tsmaster
Date:June 23rd, 2008 04:04 pm (UTC)

Re: PS

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Heh, yeah - as much as I'm allowing myself to be controlled by the AFI's lists, I don't believe that any "top 10" list, or even "top 100", is all that definitive - you and I and they will disagree with what belongs on there, and the rankings of what does make the cut.

In part, the value of the lists is exactly to spur conversations like this.

In my own list of best movies, I'd put the animated movies in with every other kind of movie (black and white, color, 3d, silent, Technicolor, Cinerama, Cinemascope, IMAX), and there'd be more Pixar representation.

And, my list of movies wouldn't be constrained to American or United States films, so, yeah, Miyazake would get his due respect.

Shrek, however, would end up closer to the other Mike Myers vehicles, like "So I Married an Axe Murderer".
[User Picture]
From:rechercher
Date:June 23rd, 2008 04:40 pm (UTC)

Re: PS

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Not a Shrek or Austin Powers fan, huh? I bet you can't wait to see him screw up this</i>.
[User Picture]
From:tsmaster
Date:June 23rd, 2008 04:50 pm (UTC)

Re: PS

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Nope. For me, Myers' career peaked at Wayne's World.

Also, for what it's worth (and pay attention Mike and Eddie): Alec Guinness did a fine job of the multiple characters, one actor gimmick in "Kind Hearts and Coronets". Treading that territory since then is just tiresome.

It reminds me of someone's harsh reaction to Phil Collins singing his own backing vocals. Seriously, just because you can do a thing doesn't make that thing worth releasing.
[User Picture]
From:rechercher
Date:July 5th, 2008 11:41 pm (UTC)

Cause I'm too cheap to subscribe to lj

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So, ignore the crappily formatted previous version.

Why didn't you like Shrek?

Also, since you don't read my journal, this is how I talk to you.

A long time ago -- I'm sure it's been over a year by now -- you said that if a year had passed without you trying any new IF games, then you would play a game of choice. If you remember that, and you are still willing, please try Shrapnel. It's short, easy, and if it doesn't show you that modern IF has something to offer I promise to shut up forever on that topic.

Last but not least, I'm hoping my favorite movie nut is going to be posting a review about Wall-E soon.
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From:tsmaster
Date:July 6th, 2008 12:35 am (UTC)

Re: Cause I'm too cheap to subscribe to lj

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You all right? Normally, you don't go this long without posting.

Yeah, I'm fine - busy with one thing and another, and none of it rising to the level that I think merits a real post. I stumbled on a book a while ago with a title something like "Nobody Cares What You Had For Lunch" - being a book about trying to make ones blog a little more inspired, and that about catches me where I am these days.

Random snippets from my life:

- I got an exercise bicycle recently, and am challenging myself to watch the odometer, trying to reach San Diego by the end of the year. That seems like an eminently reachable goal.

- A similarly reachable goal seems to be my NetFlix/AFI movie quest. I watched Full Metal Jacket, Tootsie, and The Untouchables almost all in one sitting this weekend. A mere 19 movies remain on my list for 2008. Over 100 on the big list, but still, I'm making good progress.

As to Shrek, I'm not a fan of Dreamworks in general, and I'm especially not a fan of Mike Myers. Also, Eddie Murphy. A few years ago, I heard that the original plan was for Chris Farley to be the voice of Shrek, which would have been an entirely different direction for the movie.

Mom was asking me recently about what age group Pixar aims their movies at, and I'm convinced that they take in a number of different target moviegoers as they make their movies - making sure that the kids enjoy it, and the parents, and probably even the older brother who couldn't sneak off to see something else. I don't get that sense with Dreamworks. Or, perhaps, it's just that the way that Dreamworks tries to appeal to older audiences completely misses me (Woody Allen, Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy).

That said, I found Kung-Fu Panda fairly entertaining.

I'll check out Shrapnel and I'll make a point to chat about WALL/E, too.



[User Picture]
From:rechercher
Date:July 6th, 2008 03:46 pm (UTC)

Re: Cause I&#39;m too cheap to subscribe to lj

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Sounds like you haven't seen Shrek. If I'm wrong, stop reading this comment.

I know that Eddie Murphy is usually out of control and often ruins the movies he's in because of that. For Mike Myers, you can say the same thing pretty much a googol times moreso.

That said, Myers is contained in Shrek. (Look! Is that a pig flying?) Murphy isn't, but he still manages to be a manic in a way that is appropriate to the role instead of overrunning it.

So...if you are still reading this, do me a favor. Just try it. Watch for fifteen minutes and if you still hate it, stop watching and make a post ripping me to shreds. I'm not gonna guarantee you'll like it (I hated Shrek 2), but I still feel confident.

Thanks

Oh, and as for "Nobody cares what you had for lunch.", I find the quality of the writing trumps the content. It's different if you're going for a mass audience, which I could see you doing. Then you'll need both.
[User Picture]
From:tsmaster
Date:July 6th, 2008 06:24 pm (UTC)

Re: Cause I&#39;m too cheap to subscribe to lj

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If I'm wrong, stop reading this comment.

Too late.

Actually, I did see all of Shrek, and I still find each of Myers, Murphy, and Diaz tiresome. And I won't say I found it hateful, but neither did I enjoy it.

For what it's worth, I expected to find "Kung Fu Panda" tedious and grating, but (a first for Dreamworks films), I found it enjoyable.
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