notes from
the MUCK . . .

How does your garden grow? With muck, muck and more muck! I spent much of today finishing the final muck box and then shifting muck from one box to the next. The first box, which the Big Lad is enthusiastically pointing out, has been rotting down for two years now and once we’d removed the top quarter of unrotted material, we found we’d hit the pay dirt.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Greatest Films Of All Time (?)

I find Total Film's list of the 100 greatest movies ever made both refreshingly subversive and completely idiotic. In regard to the latter, can anyone over the age of 15 truly say that Fight Club is better than, oh I dunno, the first two Godfather movies? Or, more to the point, can anyone really argue that it's one of the top 5 films of all time.

Top 5. Of all time. Seriously?

And that's just one example of how bizarre this list is. It reads like the rough draft of some pimple-faced teen's "bad ass" movie list, drawn up on notebook paper some dateless Friday night (trust me, I still have mine somewhere). It was spawned in some esoteric, alternate universe where The Matrix is better than Hoop Dreams, Donnie Darko is better than Psycho...The Wizard of Oz is better than Donnie Darko. Let's not even mention all the movies that were left out. I could go on and on. We all could.

Maybe that's the problem: this list offends everyone. It's too personal, rather than general. Of course, the very idea of such a list is stupid, but if an organization takes on the challenge I expect a little more consideration for objectivity. That was the approach taken by AFI when they made their top 100 list several years ago. No one agreed with all the details of the list, but nobody was shocked, either. It made sense. On the other hand, it was also totally fucking boring. So, there is a part of me which respects the spirit of Total Film's attempt at shaking things up, but they really could have made some smarter choices. There are far too many contemporary, too many testosterone-driven works here. The whole thing seems geared towards one set of tastes, one demographic. That's all fine, as long as it's placed in that context, but it wasn't.

I'm still waiting for a fresh, intelligent, and provocative approach to the ongoing problem of establishing a film canon. As in literature, it's debatable whether such a canon is ultimately a good idea or not, but there's something else to consider here. The art form of cinema is so very young, a mere 100 years old, and it's got a long way to go. While I recognize that the creation of a satisfactory top 100 list is a futile and meaningless task, I also believe that the debates which inevitably accompany such an endeavor help to get the ideas flowing about what qualities a great film should have. The answer is always elusive, but the exchange of opinions and philosophies on the matter might propel the growth of the art form to a more exciting state.

In light of all this, but mainly just for fun, I've decided to create my own top 100 list. I hate making these things because I can never decide what to exclude, but I'm going to take a stab at it anyway. I also hope that some of you will make your own lists. I'll post mine here when I get it finalized. In the meantime maybe someone can help me figure out exactly which Crash is the number 21st movie of all time. Way to be specific, Total Film.