Monday, June 4, 2012

Sunday Showdown: AFI vs. IMDb (#78)

Two Sunday Showdowns this week since running around sunny CA all last week prevented postings. But forewarning: I’m doing some reviews out of order since my dog ate the copy of #79 The Wild Bunch, er…  #79 The Wild Bunch was damaged in transit from Netflix and I’m waiting for the new copy.

#78: Modern Times (AFI) vs. Some Like It Hot (IMDb)

First let me say, it was great to have a week where my task was pick out the funniest movie, rather than the usual pick the movie I most enjoyed even though I sobbed through both.

My family begged to watch it again
There are very few things you can count on in life. Knowing that placing Charlie Chaplin in a movie with an assembly line, cocaine, and a job as a waiter is going to result in hilarity, is one of those things you can count on. My entire family rolled on the floor, literally, watching the Tramp being fed by the automated feeding machine in Modern Times. Hilarious, indeed.  I give it double kudos for being a silent movie seven years after the shift to talkies. That’s gutsy. 

Of course, Some Like it Hot was pretty gutsy also. And has been called the greatest American comedy film of all time - screwball at its best. When I first saw Hot many years ago, I wasn’t impressed  -- screwball silliness isn’t my favorite. But this time I enjoyed it much more. 

Both films show up again later in the countdown: Modern Times as IMDb’s #69 against, ironically, Tootsie and Some Like It Hot as AFI’s #22 against Raiders of the Lost Ark.   Since almost nothing beats Raiders of the Lost Ark for me, I’m going to give my vote to Hot this week, recognizing its almost-certain demise when it shows up again against Raiders.

The "roll dance" - brilliance
I also jumped ahead to #58 since both happened to be available on Netflix Instant: AFI’s The Gold Rush vs. IMDb’s Memento .  Christopher Nolan makes an appearance a total of five times on the list, always on the IMDb side, never AFI.  A lot of people love Memento, but I find it rather gimmicky. I enjoyed Nolan’s first film Following much more. Same sort of mind-twist but not told completely backwards. 

Comparing Memento to Chaplin’s The Gold Rush is a mind-twist in and of itself. But once I saw the famous “roll dance” I knew my vote was going for Charlie. That my 8-year-old watched the entire film all the way through just proves its endurance.

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

The Gold Rush (1925)
Memento (2000)

Modern Times (1936)
Some Like it Hot (1959)
The Wild Bunch (1969)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
The Apartment (1960)
Rashomon (1950)
Spartacus (1960)
All About Eve (1950)
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
Amadeus (1984)
Titanic (1997)
Once Upon A Time in America (1984)
Easy Rider (1969)
The Green Mile (1999)
A Night at the Opera (1935)
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Platoon (1986)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
12 Angry Men (1957)
Inglorious Basterds (2009)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
The Great Dictator (1940)
Sixth Sense (1999)
Braveheart (1995)
Swing Time (1936)
The Bicycle Thief (1948)
Sophie’s Choice (1982)
The Apartment (1960)
Up (2009)
Goodfellas (1990)
The French Connection (1971)
Downfall (2004)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Gran Torino (2008)
The Last Picture Show (1971)
Metropolis (1927)
Do The Right Thing (1989)
The Sting (1973)
Blade Runner (1982)
Gladiator (2000)
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Toy Story (1995)
Unforgiven (1992)
Ben Hur (1959)
The Elephant Man (1980)

Next week I’ll hopefully get another copy of The Wild Bunch so I can compare #79. But I’ll already tell you, The Wild Bunch is going to have to be something pretty special to beat Bridge on the River Kwai for me.

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