Aug 6, 2012

The Greatest

Once I wanted to be the greatest
No wind or waterfall could stall me
And then came the rush of the flood
The stars at night turned deep to dust
 - Cat Power

That quote has nothing to do with this post. I just dig the song and the artist, so there ya go. Nope, I'm talking the greatest movie of all-time! Sorry, let me repeat....THE GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL-TIME!!! And genuflect when you read that if you will, dear readers. No, I'm not talking about Roadhouse, although it is a perfect film (except or Patrick Swayze's silly dancing martial arts kicks). I'm talking about the new king on Sight and Sound's annual survey of critics, academics and distributors. And for the first time in 50 years, it isn't Citizen Kane.

  1. Vertigo (1958, Alfred Hitchcock) - I'm a fan of Hitchcock. Not a die-hard fan, but I generally enjoy his films. Mostly because I generally enjoy suspense, and Hitchcock loved him some suspense. It might not be my favorite Hitchcock film, that's probably North by Northwest, Rear Window or Dial M for Murder, but Vertigo is a fantastic film. Certainly deserving of the top spot on many critic's lists.
  2. Citizen Kane (1941, Orson Welles) - Or Second-Citizen Kane, amirite? Feh. So I remember the first time I saw this film. It was in a High School film class in 10th grade. After the credits rolled, our teacher jokingly asked the class what Rosebud was. I wasn't quick to answer simpleton questions, so I looked around the class and saw 25 or so completely blank faces. The teacher started to look worried, so he asked again. Finally, I raised my hand and answered the question. At which point he started to freak out that so many kids couldn't answer the most obvious question about something that they had seen 5 minutes previously. I hate people.
  3. Tokyo Story (1953, Ozu Yasujiro) - I love foreign films. Even more specifically, I love Japanese cinema. But I have to admit that this film never came close to making it onto my radar. Probably because my Japanese cinema phase came in my early 20's, and I wasn't really into dramas about family and loss back then. I'm still not really into those kind of films, so it may be a while before I check this one out.
  4. La Règle du jeu (1939, Jean Renoir) - I've seen several Renoir films, and I honestly couldn't tell you if this was one of them. I just wasn't into French cinema from that period. I dig the current Horror flicks coming out of France, but that's because I'm a child. So there.
  5. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927, F.W. Murnau) - Going back to me being a child, how does one select a Murnau flick and it isn't Nosferatu? I'm beginning to think this list sucks balls.
  6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Stanley Kubrick) - OK, I get it. I understand why so many people would pick this film over so many other masterpieces that Kubrick produced. It was ground-breaking and it actually still holds up pretty well as a science-fiction piece. And of all of his films, it probably is his greatest technical achievement. But is it as good as Dr. Strangelove or A Clockwork Orange? I dunno about that.
  7. The Searchers (1956, John Ford) - Here is one that would probably be a bit higher on my personal list, but I ain't complaining. John Ford's greatest film and John Wayne's greatest performance. How could you go wrong with that? Maybe I'm just a silly fan of Westerns and John Ford, but for me it doesn't get any better than this.
  8. Man with a Movie Camera (1929, Dziga Vertov) - Honestly, I've never heard of this film before. Never. Ever. I have absolutely nothing to say about it. Moving on.
  9. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1927, Carl Dreyer) - What's with all of these films from the 1920's? I call bullshit. I'm sorry. Sure, I'd love to see me some baseball from the 1920's, but cinema? Not my bag, man. Not my bag at all.
  10. 8 1/2 (1963, Federico Fellini) - Here's a little Verdant Dude trivia for ya. For the longest time, probably until 1 minute ago, I thought the dude's first name was Fredirico. Ahem. So yeah, this was a good one. I think I've realized the greatness of just about every Fellini film I've ever seen. Satryicon freaked me out a little, but then again I think it was supposed to do just that. So I get why it's on this list. It just wouldn't be on MY list.
So there you have it. 10 films, of which I've seen 5. Maybe 6. I'm just not sure about that Renoir flick. And here's the thing. I don't really want to see any of the films I haven't seen yet. I think this list is way too snooty by wide mile. In the wake of the release of this new list, a bunch of elite filmmakers were also asked to submit their Top 10. Directors like Woody Allen and Martin Scorcese and Francis Ford Coppola. You can see all those lists here. And many of them are as snooty as the list above. Not all, but many.

My two favorite lists in that article? South Korean director Boon Joon-Ho and Quentin Tarantino.  Their lists, while they wouldn't match mine, are at least reflective of my tastes. Sean Durkin, Edgar Wright and David O. Russell have some fun lists as well. I was going to say Michael Mann too, but he picked Avatar and that calls for immediate ridicule. Great achievement? Sure. Great film? I don't think so.


white rabbit said...

If you've seen 'How To Lose Friends and Alienate People' the Simon Pegg character advances the proposition that the greatest film of all time is 'Con Air'.

I forget why.

RW said...

My all time best movie remains the Bogart flick, "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre."

I wish we didn't just dismiss silents though, but I've always felt they needed a category to themselves because it isn't the same art form without sounds. I have a bunch of silents in my personal collection and faves, but it's kind of silly to put them up against talkies. I saw Abel Gance's "Napoleon" with a full orchestra the one time it went on tour, and it was unforgettable - but would it have been as much without the live music? Not sure. It was a great film, and you saw a lot of things in it that were done for the first time.

But I'm also a big Spike Lee fan, so whaddaya want...

Heff said...

I personally dig "Savage Fury II" starring Christy Canyon, but I didn't figure it would make the list....

Verdant Earl said...

Wabbit - You mean it isn't the greatest film of all time?

RW - I like several silent films (and several Spike Lee films), but I agree that it is difficult to judge them versus what came after. And I dig TTotSM too.

Heff - The thing is, Savage Fury II answered all those questions that we had from the first Savage Fury film.

Paticus said...

"Harley Davidson & The Marlboro Man" does not appear on this list, therefore, the list is null and void.

Verdant Earl said...

Paticus - You know, I watched that film 3 or 4 times before I realized it was a remake of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. And one that I kinda enjoy for what it is.

sybil law said...

I've seen Vertigo and Citizen Kane. Liked both.
Most movie lists are pretty snooty.

Paticus said...

Earl- Great way to put it. I love that movie for what it is.

Kevin McKeever said...

I have never made it through 2001 without falling asleep.

Verdant Earl said...

Sybil - I can go both snooty and non-snooty when compiling my lists, but the non-snooty ones are much more fun.

Paticus - And for Big John Studd in the Ted Cassidy/Harvey Logan (Lurch) role.

Uncool - It's not the easiest film to get through.