Monday, July 2, 2012

Sunday Showdown: AFI vs. IMDb (#74 & #73)

#74: Silence of the Lambs vs. Pan’s Labyrinth
#73: Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid vs. The Prestige

Okay, if I have to watch it...
Let’s start with Butch vs. Prestige.  I do not feel like either of these films should be on the top 100 – The Prestige especially. Prestige is an example of the sort of thing I feared would happen often in a list based on the voting of the “masses” like the IMDb list is. That it would just become a popularity contest, whichever en vogue director/actor/movie could get the most votes.  So far that hasn’t happened much, so I’m not going to sweat it. 

But I definitely give my vote to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid over The Prestige.  Butch is charming in that pure entertainment sort of way. An early buddy-cop… er, buddy outlaw… movie.  And Paul Newman and Robert Redford are definitely easy on the eyes.  The Prestige (Hugh Jackman also no hardship on the eyes) was a good movie and I liked it, but a Top 100 movie? No. Sorry Nolan fans.

Let’s get to the real showdown: Silence of the Lambs vs. Pan’s Labyrinth

I was excited about this pairing because for the first time in a while it felt like I was comparing apples to apples. Both movies are definitely creepy in the very best sense of the word.

 I had never seen Pan’s Labyrinth. Loved it.  Biggest difficultly was deciding who was scarier: the evil fanciful characters or the evil realistic ones. Set in Francoist Spain (so yes, another sub-captioned movie) it’s about a little girl and her search for escape.  Complex and captivating.  A fairy tale, but definitely not for kids.

But… against Silence of the Lambs?

I hadn’t seen Lambs in a while, although I cut my teeth on it in the early 90s and watched it regularly while in college. It had been at least 10 years. I was concerned it wouldn’t hold up as well in a world that had changed so much and gotten pretty scary on its own since 1991. But I’m happy to report that Sir Hopkin’s Hannibal Lecter is still as bone-chilling 20 years later.  Scary to the point that when I visited Madame Tussaud’s on Hollywood Blvd a couple of months ago, I could not stand directly in front of the wax portrayal of Lecter – lest he, in all his wax glory, decide I be his dinner guest. 

Who would you rather have show up at your house?

So it was a tough call. I enjoyed Pan’s creativity, but I just have to give it to Lambs. Talk about an anti-hero  -- perhaps the most brilliant one in the history of cinema.

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

The Gold Rush (1925)
Memento (2000)

Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid (1969)
The Prestige (2006)
Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
Raging Bull (1980)
Forrest Gump (1994)
Cinema Paradiso (1988)
All the President’s Men  (1976)
Singing In the Rain (1952)
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: Back to the Future vs. Shawshank Redemption. Back to the Future has been called by some of my (moronic) cinema guru friends as a “perfect” film. Cue my rolling of eyes and snickering.


  1. BttF is perfect. I dare you to find a realistic fault with it.

    The problem is that Shawshank is too. Don't know if there's a real loser there.

    As for above - dead on with the Prestige. It's solidly good - but not top 100. Nolan shouldn't have more reps on this list than Spielberg. That's crazy. Really, after Inception... I'm not sure Nolan should be on the list (I can begrudgingly accept TDK but I really don't think it is Top 100 worthy).

    1. Oh, there's a real loser. Just look a little closer... :)