Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday Showdown: AFI vs. IMDb (#61 & #60)

I have been slacking on my Sunday Showdown duties. Shame on me.  Too much running and writing excitement lately. But I will make more of an effort not to neglect my poor movies. Movies need love too.

Two sets of movies this week:
#61: AFI’s Sullivan’s Travels vs. IMDb’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
#60: AFI’s Duck Soup vs. IMDb’s Aliens

I had never seen Sullivan’s Travels and I loved it. It’s a screwball comedy that takes a turn for the serious as a rich Hollywood director and a struggling actress decide to leave behind their lives of privilege and try living among the poor and homeless for a while. A socially-conscious screwball comedy – how often does that happen?

I’ll admit I appreciate Sullivan’s Travels more for the drama than the comedy. But the ultimate moral of the story: comedy and lightness is important and Hollywood shouldn’t take itself so seriously – is a great one to see on-screen.  Plus this is the movie in which I discovered Veronica Lake was a real person, not just a made-up character in L.A. Confidential.

I also like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  It’s a quirky, unusual story. It poses the question: Will true lovers always find each other? Or maybe the actual question is: Would we make the same relational mistakes over and over if given the chance?

Actually, I think the real question this movie poses is: Are both those things the same?

It’s a love story told backwards as a man has the memory of his girlfriend erased. It’s a great concept, but gets a little muddled at the end. Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet both give fantastic performances; plus there’s a stellar supporting cast: including Mark Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst, and Elijah Wood.

It’s difficult to choose between Sullivan’s Travels and Eternal Sunshine.  I truly like them both.  But I’m going to give it to Sullivan’s Travels. Although if you ask me tomorrow, I might change my mind.

So let’s move on to Duck Soup vs. Aliens.

Are you kidding me? DUCK SOUP  vs. ALIENS? 

Don’t waste my time. Aliens. All the way. First of all, Aliens is one of my favorite movies of all times. It is definitely the one I quote most often.  James Cameron at his finest. Action, suspense, romance, witty banter, a strong lead female character kicking butt – Aliens has it all.

Duck Soup, on the other hand, has the Marx brothers running around and acting stupid. In a country called Freedonia no less.  I don’t know how anybody could even find this funny.  If this is the best the Marx brothers have to offer, I’m never going to be a Marx brothers fan.  This movie has got to go.

As a matter of fact, I think we better nuke the whole thing from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

So both AFI and IMDb gain one vote this week, making the score: AFI -22, IMDb – 20.

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

The Gold Rush (1925)
Memento (2000)

Duck Soup (1933)
Aliens (1986)
Sullivan's Travels (1941)
Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind (2004)
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)

Next week is AFI’s Nashville vs. IMDb’s City Lights. I haven’t seen City Lights yet, but there’s not too much that could be as bad as Nashville, so I think IMDb is going to gain another vote.

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