This Weekend’s Film Festival Celebrates AFI 100 Newbies Part I

9 08 2007

A few months back the American Film Institute announced its 10th anniversary edition of its 100 Years 100 Movies List of the best American films of all time. Taking a note from Sight & Sound’s famed best of all time list, AFI will be revamping the list every 10 years to allow in newer films that were not eligible previously as well as gauge changing thoughts on cinema. Films moved up and down the list and 23 films were replaced with other films. Only three films that fell off really surprised me. THE THIRD MAN, REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE and PATTON really deserve to stay on the list. With GIANT falling off too, does it mean that James Dean has lost some of his iconic status in the last 10 years? Other films that fell out of favor, which deserve the place as the best of all time include AMADEUS, FANTASIA, CLOSE ENCOUNTER OF THE THIRD KIND and FARGO. But I’m not going to shed any tears that JAZZ SINGER or AN AMERICAN IN PARIS dropped from the list.

The AFI list will inspire several lineups over the course of the year. Four will be dedicated to the great new films that made the list. Maybe I’ll go out on a limb and pick the five best films that fell off the list. The best new films to join the coveted list include IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN, 12 ANGRY MEN, DO THE RIGHT THING, BLADE RUNNER, SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and TOY STORY. The weakest include TITANIC and INTOLERANCE. The later is a make up vote for people feeling awkward for including BIRTH OF A NATION on the original list. INTOLERANCE isn’t completely worthless, but on a filmic level it’s not as good as NATION, but it makes people feel better about themselves. If you don’t want to embrace the racism of NATION, but want to honor D.W. Griffith, there are much better films on his resume that could have been chosen. I love THE SIXTH SENSE, but I wouldn’t consider it one of the 100 best American films of all time. Though not my favorite Buster Keaton film, THE GENERAL comes in at #18, fixing the awful Keaton omission from the original list. There are three films on the new list that I haven’t seen — CABARET (#63), SPARTACUS (#81) and SUNRISE (#82). But for this week’s lineup I chose the two highest ranking new films (that deserve to be on the list), two of the best films from the ’60s that are new to the list (that I’ve seen) and another deserving correction of an omission from the first list.

Read the rest of this entry »