Sunday, January 29, 2012

AFI vs IMDb Showdown: #100 & #99

A couple a weeks ago I started the AFI vs. IMDb top 100 showdowncomparing the American Film Institute’s (read: scholar’s) list and the Internet Movie Database’s (read: masses’) list*. I basically decided to compare the two films as they are ranked on each list, from #100 to #1 and choose a favorite each week. My thinking was I would vote for one film each week, and at the end would see which list I more agreed with.
Of course, my husband (the engineer) said we could do just a slightly more complex statistical analysis by weighting each vote in inverse order so the top movies will receive more statistical weight and therefore give a more “accurate reflection of what I’m truly attempting to achieve.”  Whatever. He lost me at whichever word had something to do with math.
So anyway, when I finish watching all these movies I will be able to tell which group I more agree with – Da Scholars or Da Masses.  And then some sort of math something.
Okay, I jumped in two weeks ago with #100:  AFI – Ben Hur; IMDb – The Elephant Man. And I hit my first snag.  The Elephant Man could not be found on Netflix, Blockbuster, any of my local friends, or my local library.  I had not ever seen The Elephant Man so I was disappointed.
Ben Hur (dramatic head turn)
Ben Hur I had seen, but I watched again with hubby and our 11-year-old daughter. That movie was really, really long, and full of dramatic pauses and turning away of heads. The good guys owned white horses, the bad guys black ones and every time the Romans were on screen music that sounded remarkably like the Imperial March from Star Wars played.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the pageantry of it, as well as the amazing chariot race, but it was just so predictable.
But, because The Elephant Man basically forfeits since I can’t watch it, I guess my vote for #100 goes to the AFI.
This past week comparing #99 was pretty ridiculous:  AFI – Toy Story; IMDb – Unforgiven. Seriously, how do you compare these two? It would be like comparing, say, a children’s animated film to a western.  Oh wait, that’s exactly what it is. The only similarity is they both had a cowboy.

Toy Story's Cowboy Woody

                     Cowboy Munny
                              Unforgiven's Cowboy Munny

I mean both are great for what they are: Toy Story was the first ever feature-length movie made entirely with CGI and was also the first Pixar full length film. Plus Joss Whedon was one of the screenwriters (a huge plus for me). Kids have been screaming “To infinity and beyond!!!” to each other for years because of this stupid movie.
Unforgiven is a dark western, directed, produced and starred in by Clint Eastwood. It won Best Picture for 1992 (certainly a step up from the last “Western” to win Best Picture before that – Dances With Wolves  in 1990). It is obviously Clint Eastwood’s hat-tip to the Spaghetti Westerns where he got his start. And it was added to the National Film Registry’s list of films to save in case of a zombie apocalypse or something like that.
How to choose, how to choose?  Neither genre is my favorite.  I find it difficult to become emotionally invested in animated films.  Westerns I usually find pretty boring – Unforgiven, for all its positive qualities, was no exception. (Although Eastwood's William Munny does get Father of the Year award for leaving his two young children alone on the farm for weeks while he went off chasing some bounty).
But I have to choose, so my vote goes to AFI again this week for Toy Story. (Don’t worry any Unforgiven fans, it’s going to show back up at #68 against The Treasure of the Sierra Madre – that should be a good pairing).
So far the score is AFI -2, IMDb – 0.

AFI’s Top 100
IMDB’s Top 100 (as of 1/1/12)

Toy Story (1995)
Unforgiven (1992)
Ben Hur (1959) by forfeit
The Elephant Man (1980)

This week #98: Yankee Doodle Dandy (AFI) vs. The Maltese Falcon (IMDb). Sigh. Here we go again.

* - the IMDb list changes often. I used the top 100 of the “IMDb Top 250 As Voted by Users” list as it stood on 1/1/12.


  1. What a great idea for a series of posts! I only tried to watch Unforgiven once, and I just couldn't get into it. So, yeah, I vote for Toy Story too, though like you said, it's hard to compare the two. :)

  2. Not sure how to compare "Unforgiven" and "Toy Story". One is an interesting story about an aging cowboy who leaves home with a new young friend. They face an implacable foe who has killed many of their kind before and struggle to overcome adversity in an unfamiliar surrounding. In the end he just wants to get home . The other is "Unforgiven".

  3. Blahahahaha. Lane, who knew you were capable of cleverness?