Two Lists From Film Comment


Picked up the new issue of Film Comment yesterday, and they have two lists I thought might spur discussion. First is the Readers’ Poll of Best Films of 2011. I’ve starred those films that did not appear on the critics’ list. Understandably, the readers were more welcoming of mainstream fare:

1. The Tree of Life
2. Melancholia
3. Drive*
4. Hugo
5. Midnight in Paris
6. The Artist*
7. Certified Copy
8. The Descendants
9. Meek’s Cutoff
10. A Separation
11. A Dangerous Method
12. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy*
13. Shame
14. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
15. Take Shelter
16. Moneyball*
17. Le Havre
18. Martha Marcy May Marlene*
19. The Skin I Live In
20. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo*

I’ve seen 15 of these (not seen: Certified Copy, Uncle Boonmee, Shame, Le Havre, The Skin I Live In).

Secondly, and more controversially, is their list of the “Worst Winners of Best Picture Oscars”

1. Crash
2. Slumdog Millionaire
3. Chicago
4. Forrest Gump
5. A Beautiful Mind
6. Gladiator
7. American Beauty
8. Shakespeare in Love
9. Braveheart
10. Titanic
11. Driving Miss Daisy
12. Dances With Wolves
13. The Greatest Show on Earth
14. The King’s Speech
15. The English Patient
16. Amadeus
17. Around the World in 80 Days
18. Chariots of Fire
19. Gandhi
20. Mrs. Miniver

I have seen all but one of the Best Picture Oscar winners (except for Tom Jones). I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that the compiler(s) of this list have not. The top 12 are all post-1990, and 17(!) of the 20 are post-1980, which means of the past 31 winners, more than half are on the top of the suckitude scale.

The section this list appears in is “Film Comment’s Trivial Top 20,” so I suspect there’s some kind of joke going on here (as with them leaving off Schindler’s List from the 20 Best Black and White films since 1970). That, plus snobbishness, as these are films that beat out the precious films that they thought deserved to win. To anyone who has seen all of the films, to suggest that Cimarron, Cavalcade, Broadway Melody, and The Great Ziegfeld are better than any of the 20 films above (except for The Greatest Show on Earth, which is indeed the worst) is ludicrous.

This is a case where the most recent has shoved out the old. It happens all the time in lists of great sporting events where the recent take precedence over the old, if only because those voting weren’t alive to witness the old ones. (Gabby Hartnett’s 1938  “Homer in the Gloamin'” never gets the respect it deserves).

When I finally catch up with Tom Jones, I’ll compile my own list of Best Picture winners.


About Jackrabbit Slim

Location: Vegas, Baby! I’m much older than the other whippersnappers here, a baby boomer. I tend to be more snobbish about film, disdaining a lot of the multiplex fare for “cinema.” My favorite films: Woody Allen’s oeuvre (up until about 1990), The Godfather, The Graduate, A Hard Day’s Night, Pulp Fiction. Politics: Well, George McGovern was my political hero. I’m also a prickly atheist. Occupation: Poised to be an English teacher in Las Vegas. For many years I was an editor at Penthouse Magazine. My role on this blog seems to be writing lots of reviews and being the resident Oscar maven.

7 responses »

  1. That Oscar list reads like it was put together by Dave Kehr or Armond White or someone. Seems randomly assembled.

  2. How can you have a list of 50 worst BP winners, considering there have only been 80 or so? Even a list of 20 is stretching it a bit.

    As JS says, that original list of 20 seems pretty ordinary because it’s as if those who compiled it have totally ignored the 1930s films and there are several entries there that aren’t highly regarded today. If you don’t see them all, don’t bother.

    Which leads me to think JS should do a list of his worst top 10 BP winners once he’s seen Tom Jones. At least he’ll be qualified to do such a list.

  3. Just stumbled upon this. Now that I’ve seen Tom Jones, here’s my top 10. When I have some extra time I’ll rank them all.

    1. Annie Hall (77)
    2. The Godfather (72)
    3. Casablanca (43)
    4. Oliver! (68) guilty pleasure
    5. The Silence of the Lambs (91)
    6. On the Waterfront (54)
    7. The Godfather, Part II (74)
    8. Lawrence of Arabia (62)
    9. The Apartment (60)
    10. Unforgiven (92)

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