Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Showdown: AFI vs. IMDb (#63)

#63 Cabaret (AFI) vs. Das Boot (IMDb)
For those who came in recently: Each week I’m comparing the American Film Institute’s (“The Scholar’s”) Top 100 films against the Internet Movie Database’s (“The Masses’”) Top 100 films.

So last week’s Sunday Showdown didn’t happen. I blame it on yet another three hour long war movie. Seriously, this makes about five now – or at least it feels like it.  When I saw the running time on Das Boot, I kept putting it off and putting it off. I even thought about cheating…only watching part of the movie to get a general gist of it.

I’m happy to report that the better angels of my movie nature prevailed.  I watched Das Boot in all its director’s cut epicness. And I’m glad I did, for the most part.  If you haven’t seen it, it’s about a Nazi submarine crew. It’s directed by Wolfgang Petersen, of Air Force One and The Perfect Storm fame.

I am not much for war-time intrigue or, really, war-time anything. But I must admit that Das Boot captured the utter claustrophobia of submarine life pretty darn well. Definitely enough to make me feel panicked just watching it. I had to go open a window.

But perhaps the film’s greatest feat is that it makes you forget that the submarine crew you begin to root for half way through the movie are actually Nazis. You cheer for their victory as they sink ships until you remember – oh wait, that was our side they just sunk. Damn Nazis. Good for you.

And the end is brilliant. Because they are, after all, Nazis.

All that compared to… Cabaret.  You know, the Broadway musical about the gay guy and the straight girl and the singing and dancing and the…Nazis. I’ll admit Bob Fosse’s classic is not my favorite.  Compared to what Rob Marshall did with Chicago, I believe Cabaret leaves a lot to be desired. It’s jerky and choppy and, well,…sing-songy. 

So, mark this day in your calendar. The drama major – who loves musical theatre – picks a war film over a classic musical: Das Boot over Cabaret. Damn Nazis. Good for you.

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

The Gold Rush (1925)
Memento (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)

So the score stands AFI – 21 to IMDb – 18. Next week is American Graffiti vs. Requiem for a Dream. I would’ve sworn nobody could traumatize me more than George Lucas has…but have you seen Requiem?

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