Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Showdown: AFI vs. IMDb (#54)

It's the Sunday Showdown: continuing my comparison of the American Film Institute's and Internet Movie Database's Top 100 films.  #54: M*A*S*H* (AFI) vs. To Kill A Mockingbird (IMDb)

This was my first experience with the movie M*A*S*H*. As a matter of fact, until about 10 years ago, I didn't even know that there was a movie M*A*S*H* - I thought it was just a TV series from when I was a kid that I hadn't been allowed to watch. I wasn't looking forward to viewing the movie, to be honest. Sandwiched around so many other war films – The Deer Hunter, The Pianist, Paths of Glory – I thought this would be another tear-jerker about the atrocities of war.

Uhhh… nope.

I have to say, I quite liked it. A black comedy; quite irreverent; very sassy.  Right up my alley.  Talented cast (that did not include Alan Alda, to my surprise), quick-witted script. But do I think it was worthy of being in the top 100? I just don’t know. I don’t think so.

And it’s up against To Kill A Mockingbird the great classic about justice and prejudice. About race and class and the building of a new America.  Everything opposite of irreverent and sassy.

Yawn. Did you say something?  I was dozing during all the pro-justicing and anti-prejudicing.  

'To Kill a Mockingbird' Anniv.To Kill A Mockingbird was fine. My 8-year-old watched it with me and liked it pretty well - after all the story is, at it's heart, one about a daughter's relationship with her father and brother. Gregory Peck  gave a commanding performance – as always.  It’s a fitting film for Harper Lee’s autobiographical classic.

But it didn’t really do anything for me cinematographically. So again I have to ask the question: Top 100? Really??  Not only that, it’s #54 on the IMDb list, but it’s #25 on AFI’s list (against The Usual Suspects, if you’re curious). Top 25 movies of ALL time? Definitely not for me.

So… in what I’m sure will be an unpopular decision amongst my three movie-fanatic friends who actually read the Sunday Showdown (hey Denise, I’m including you in that three!): I choose M*A*S*H* as my pick. 

In a world full of nobility, justice, and truth, somebody has to stand up for the irreverent and sassy. 

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

M*A*S*H* (1970)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
The Pianist (2002)
Jaws (1975)
The Lives of Others (2006)
Rocky (1976)
The Departed (2006)
The Gold Rush (1925)
Memento (2000)
Nashville (1975)
City Lights (1931)
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)

So five in a row for AFI.  Score is 26-21. Next week The Deer Hunter vs. Double Indemnity. Russian Roulette vs. Billy Wilder.  Hard choices.


  1. My problem is that I liked the series MASH far more. I didn't find the movie nearly as sassy or irrelevant.

    And, more importantly, how do you go against TKAM? I haven't watched it in...15 years? Perhaps I need to revisit to give correct thoughts.

    1. I'm finding more and more of these "classic" movies that at one time I would've said I would never vote against are not holding up well since I'm watching *so many* classics for this challenge.

      Taken alone, I would've said TKAM is a great film. But in the midst of watching it with North By Northwest, West Side Story, Double Indemnity and Paths of Glory all within the same 10 days, I found TKAM to be... dull. Dry.