Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday Showdown: AFI vs. IMDb (#67)

AFI’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? vs. IMDb’s Chinatown
I saw Chinatown for the first time in 2011. I’m not sure quite how I missed it in all my years of film viewing.  I think for a long time I got it confused with Big Trouble in Little China.  Or maybe I just didn’t like Roman Polanski. (Chinatown is probably the only Polanski film I’ve ever seen – that’s right, I haven’t even watched Rosemary’s Baby.  But I think The Pianist is coming up on the list soon, so I guess I’ll see a second one.)

I have to admit; I liked Chinatown better when I watched it for a second time this year, than when I watched it last year.  The ending packed much more of a punch for me this time, even knowing the big secret.  It’s beautiful noir and John Huston’s character is just the most evil SOB ever – on every possible level.

I had never seen Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Once again I’m glad I’m doing this challenge because it caused me again to watch a great film I may never have seen otherwise. The movie, so obviously based on a play (which it was, by Edward Albee), has a complete cast of four. But what a great four they are. Everybody in it was nominated for an Oscar. I think Elizabeth Taylor and Sandy Dennis won; Richard Burton and George Segal were robbed.  The movie was painful to watch - made you squirm in your chair. It drew you in and you felt like you were also at this couple’s house witnessing their completely inappropriate behavior – you just can’t look away.

So I liked both of these movies because they made me feel so… icky.   But in the end I had to give it to Chinatown. Although only by the slightest of margins.

So the score stands: AFI -19, IMDb - 17

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

The Gold Rush (1925)
Memento (2000)

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
Chinatown (1974)
Unforgiven (1992)
The Treasure of Sierra Madre (1948)
Tootsie (1982)
Modern Times (1936)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Life is Beautiful (1997)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Monty Python & the Holy Grail (1975)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Back to the Future (1985)
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: The African Queen vs. (ironically) L.A. Confidential. I can almost not bear the thought of choosing between these two.

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