Movie Crazy

I’ve been poodling with my nominees for my Alternative Top 100 Greatest Movies list. I still feel I don’t have enough to make the list (I’ve got around 215 nominees. I’d like at least 300.), so I wonder. What movies do you think are the greatest?

Here are my requirements:
1. In English, and here’s why. This is a list to compliment/offer alternatives to the AFI Top 100. Rather than call them the Greatest American Films (it’s kind of hard to discern country anyway. What makes a film American? Not location. Not language. Is it the producer?) Also, English is the only language I speak and because of that it’s the only language in which I can pick up nuance, puns, etc. I don’t want foreign films to have to accomodate my lack of knowledge for this particular list. It’s not fair to the foreign films. But then, some might say, if a movie leaps the language barrier for me, it deserves a place on the list. Yes. But then it makes me questions the English language choice and it all becomes a damn mess.
2. Feature length. There are tons of short films and miniseries (John Adams? Pride and Prejudice? Angels in America? Pixar shorts?) out there that are fabulous, but I’m only one person. So at this point, I’m sticking to feature length.
3. No documentaries. I love and adore documentaries, but I think it would be like comparing apples and oranges to include them.

I am particularly interested in non-dominant cultures (I know I know, my English rule is flawed. But again, I’m only one person. If I include foreign film in this list it won’t ever happen. Can you tell I feel guilty?), women directors/writers, lgbt, etc. However, that is not to say that is all I will watch. Everybody knows Cary Grant is my fave. He is white male dominant and straight as a line.

I also am trying to avoid, although not entirely writing off, movies that have been adapted from books and true stories. The reason I say this is because underneath it all, it might be the book that is the true winner, rather than the film. For that reason, I don’t include the movie The Grapes of Wrath, for example. The movie is wonderful, but it’s the book that matters. There are many many exceptions to this rule. ALl That Jazz is based upon Bob Fosse’s life. But it’s not a straight-shot, chronological film. To Kill A Mockingbird is a better book than movie, but the movie is a lesson in the art of adaptation and casting. So again, I’m not trying to write off adaptations and true stories, I’m just a little hesitant about them.

So tell me. What are your favorite movies? What movies do you think are truly the greatest? I’ll take foreign suggestions, of course. They just won’t be included in this one list. And then, if you please, tell me why you think they are the greatest. Do me a fave and don’t censor yourself. I could do an hour lecture on the merits of Don Knotts’ cannon. Trust me. Any flick’ll do, if you think it’s worth it.

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7 thoughts on “Movie Crazy

  1. My all-time fav movie is The Big Lebowski. While it’s not exactly “non-dominant culture” by your given standards, I think it serves as a creative, outside-the-box expression of the lower-middle class. There are certainly elements of non-dominant culture peppered in there (e.g. fine art, pornography, drug use). Plus, it’s a great example of a pseudo-“buddy flick” before the genre was diluted by the likes of Seth Rogen.

  2. It’s A Wonderful Life has been and always will be my favorite film of all time. I even found an ancient diary entry from my childhood recording the first time I ever saw it. It’s the perfect American movie- perfect writing, perfect casting, perfect direction, perfect lighting- a dynamite director/actor combo who came through the war together and made something beautiful and life-affirming. I have seen this film thousands of times, know it by heart, and it never fails to move me and give me hope.

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