Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday Showdown: AFI vs. IMDb (#62)

I’ve been on a sort of anti-George Lucas kick for the past few months. Well, to be honest, it’s been a bit longer than that…since around May 23, 1999, you know, give or take.  But I tried not to let my ever consuming hatred  – er,  disappointment in – George color my viewing of American Graffiti.

Graffiti is sweet and optimistic, showing a world utterly different than the one we live in now. Nostalgia at its fullest. It’s a good story; good acting. The type of movie I like to recommend to my parents or anyone who doesn’t want to feel like they’ve been through an emotional wringer after watching a film. It’s a feel-good film of a by-gone era; sort of the coin’s flipside of The Last Picture Show (AFI’s #95).

Requiem For A Dream is the polar opposite of sweet and optimistic. It’s a film about addiction. Addiction to drugs. Addiction to food. Addiction to fame. Addiction to addiction.  And how those addictions drive us to our knees – literally, figuratively, emotionally, spiritually, utterly.

The movie is not subtle in any way. But then again, addiction is rarely subtle.

Written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, who has since brought us fabulous films like The Wrestler and mind-benders like Black Swan, I supposed I shouldn’t be surprised that Dream is both compelling and troubling.  I wish it concentrated a little more on the less-obvious addictions portrayed in the film (like our overwhelming need for attention and love) and less on the drug addiction. But if it did Aronofsky wouldn’t have been able sledgehammer the audience at the end with the scenes he no doubt took perverse pleasure in subjecting the audience to.

Am I glad I watched Requiem for a Dream? No. Will I ever watch it again? No.  But Dreams wins over Graffiti. Sorry George.

So the score is now AFI -21, IMDb - 19

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

The Gold Rush (1925)
Memento (2000)

American Graffiti (1973)
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Cabaret (1972)
Das Boot (1981)
Network (1976)
The Third Man (1949)
The African Queen (1951)
L.A. Confidential (1997)
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)

Another toughie next week: the screwball-comedy-with-a-twist Sullivan’s Travels vs. the quirky Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind.


  1. I always felt that AG was over rated. It's fine, but in the Top 100 of all time? Even when I wasn't anti-Lucas it never did anything for me.

    As for these... Requiem is my least favorite Aronofsky movie (in any use of the word "favorite").

    For next week... eek, I've never seen Sullivan's Travels. I might need to rectify that.

    1. I had never seen Sullivan's Travels either, nor heard of it, honestly. But I enjoyed it a great deal. And it proved to me that Veronica Lake was a real person. I thought she was just a character they made up in L.A. Confidential.