End of year movie tally: 89 of the AFI Top 100

I picked up a copy of the updated American Film Institute Top 100 Movies and am pleased to say that I have almost seen them all. I’ve seen 89 of the top 100 movies. Here’s what’s left:

Schindler’s List (#8)
Having gone to weekly classes at Temple for years when I was young, including the obligatory films about the fate of Jews in the concentration camps during World War II, well, I just don’t have much enthusiasm for movies in that genre, even though I have heard time and again how wonderful this movie is. In the end, it might be the one movie I don’t see on the list…

The Searchers (#12)
A John Wayne movie? How did this ever get on the Top 100 list anyway? I mean, Wayne is certainly an American archetype, the lone cowboy, but he’s identical in every movie and represents a type of American that I frankly find quite offensive. Will I see this some day? Yeah, probably, just to try and complete the list, but still…

The General (#18)
This one surprises me: a classic Buster Keaton movie from 1927 and I haven’t seen it? I’m not a huge fan of silent slapstick comedy a la Keaton, but , well, it’s on the Netflix list now…

The Best Years of Our Lives (#37)
Again, a mid-40s film directed by William Wyler and I haven’t seen it? Easily remedied, even if its theme isn’t one that I’m too enthused about…

Intolerance (#49)
I think – I assume – that the film on the list is the 1916 version directed by D.W. Griffin, in which case I have, in fact, seen it, but there are two other movies by the same name listed in IMDB, so until I get clarification, I’ll assume that I haven’t seen this one. But maybe I’m batting 0.90 here? 🙂

The Gold Rush (#58)
I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this as it’s widely considered one of the very best Charlie Chaplin movies, but maybe not, so onto my Netflix list it goes…

Sullivan’s Travels (#61)
Preston Sturges directed this 1941 classic, but truth be told, I hadn’t even heard of it until I looked through the AFI list. It certainly sounds interesting, though: “Sullivan is a successful, spoiled, and naive director of fluff films, with a heart-o-gold, who decides he wants to make a film about the troubles of the downtrodden poor. Much to the chagrin of his producers, he sets off in tramp’s clothing with a single dime in his pocket to experience poverty first-hand, and gets some reality shock.”

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (#67)
Truth be told, I might have seen this classic film with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton from 1966, but the main theme is alcoholism and destructive relationships and, well, that’s not a topic very high up on my list of film themes at this point, so this might well be a miss for a few months (or years?) regardless…

Unforgiven (#68)
A Clint Eastwood western, I have to say it’s probably very cool, so it’s on my Netflix list. Clint’s a great actor and – even more so – a great director who has produced a series of superb films recently, including Flags of our Fathers, which was one of the most intelligent war movies I’ve seen in the last few years.

The Shawshank Redemption (#72)
Hate to say it – again – but I might have seen this. Frankly the storyline of “redemption in prison” has been visited and revisited so many times in Hollywood that I just can’t get very enthusiastic about this one, though, yes, I have heard very good things about this one.

Sunrise (#82)
This is a weird entry in the list. Even the AFI people don’t seem to have much on this and I’m not entirely sure, but believe that it’s a 1925 silent film, though I can’t dig up any sort of plot synopsis. This wasn’t on the list when it first came out, so I’m not sure what to say about it. It’s probably the 1927 film with the subtitle “A Song of Two Humans”, but, maybe not…

Anyway, maybe I should have some deeper goals for 2008, but I’ll certainly admit this one: I’d like to crack 95% by this time next year. And perhaps even more, depending on whether I can handle John Wayne, an alcoholic couple falling apart and a film about Jewish persecution in WWII Germany…
Meanwhile, I will add a few of my own favorites that aren’t on the Top 100 list, but are well worth watching anyway. In no particular order: Nine Queens, The Spanish Prisoner, The Battle of Algiers, Bowfinger, The Conversation, Dark City, Dr. Zhivago, Enigma, Good Night and Good Luck, Monsoon Wedding and Rififi. That’ll keep you busy too, dear reader, for quite a while.
And Happy New Year to you all too!

3 comments on “End of year movie tally: 89 of the AFI Top 100

  1. I am impressed! I am no where near 89 of the top 100. But, I must say, I can’t believe you have never seen the Shawshank Redemption. Please make that your first movie from the AFI 100 this year. You won’t regret it.

  2. Dave:
    Just found your blog. Very interesting.
    Let me get the full disclosure out of the way: I am a consultant working for Weber Shandwick’s Tokyo office and I have been tasked with researching social media.
    Otherwise, I’m just another geek and movie freak.
    The Searchers is not your typical Wayne flick, just as Unforgiven is not cookie-cutter Eastwood. Both are highly recommended. (Since you liked Flags of Our Fathers, check out Letters from Iwo Jima, made simultaneously with FOOF and generally well received here in Japan; I live in Omiya, Saitama Prefecture — home of the fictional baker in this movie.)
    The Best Years of Our Lives — wow, excellent film due to the issues it deals with: a disabled vet (hands were blown off) struggling to reenter society; his fiancee, trying to convince him that he’s not damaged goods; the businessman who returns from the Pacific with a Japanese sword — a sword his son refuses to accept because he understands its importance to the family of the deceased Japanese soldier; etc. Not at all maudlin. Given the attitudes prevailing in America at the time (1946)I’m amazed this film was even made. Sullivan’s Travels — another winner.
    Pretty sure Intolerance is DW’s film. And Shawshank Redemption is worth it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *