Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday Showdown: AFI vs. IMDb (#53-#52-#51)

It's the Sunday Showdown: continuing my comparison of the American Film Institute's and Internet Movie Database's Top 100 films.  I’ve got a Triple Play for you this week, since I’ve been such a slacker and , dammit, I need to get through this list.


#53: The Deer Hunter (AFI) vs. Double Indemnity (IMDb)
#52: Taxi Driver (AFI) vs. A Clockwork Orange (IMDb)
#51: West Side Story (AFI) vs. Paths of Glory (IMDb)

Okay, Deer Hunter v. Double Indemnity.  Deer Hunter is yet another movie about the Vietnam War, and evidently the rampant Russian Roulette that occurred there at the time.  I spent the first half of the movie KNOWING that director Michael Cimino was going to kick me in the teeth at some point. But that didn’t stop me from spitting teeth when the kick finally came.  The first half of the movie and the second are entirely different  -- like two different films. But honestly, I didn’t like either of them too much.

I love a great femme fatale.
And then there’s Christopher Walken. Sorry, but I am now unable to watch a movie with Christopher Walken without thinking of Pulp Fiction. Sad, but true.

Double Indemnity I love. So cynical. What a femme fatale. And no Christopher Walken.  It wins hands down.

Taxi Driver vs. Clockwork Orange.  Believe it or not, I had never seen Taxi Driver.  (Collective gasp! Even I was shocked I hadn’t seen it.)  It wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. I’m not a huge DeNiro fan; I’m even less of a Scorsese fan. But this, I liked. DeNiro was perfect crazy… unlike Clockwork Orange where everyone is just kill-yourself crazy.  Clockwork Orange showed up on the list at #70 for AFI. I didn’t like it then; I didn’t have to watch it again to know I don’t like it now.  So the vote definitely goes to Taxi Driver.

West Side Story vs. Paths of Glory. OMG, more Kubrick? Seriously, somebody just kill me. Paths of Glory is the most anti of his anti-war drama. But after watching The Pianist just a couple of weeks ago where hundreds of Jews were shown bravely (or at least stoically) facing their certain death, watching these few pansies’ ridiculous histrionics about the firing squad made me just roll my eyes. Die with a little dignity.

Although, I must admit, Kubrick’s last shots of the German girl being forced to sing for the pleasure of the French soldiers, was pretty masterful.  For me, without that scene, the film would’ve been a total wash. Either way, I get Kubrick’s oh-so-obvious message: in war, it’s the innocent who suffer the most.

Even if I didn’t dislike Paths of Glory so much, I’m not sure it would’ve won against West Side Story. I’m a musical theatre fanatic. And this is one of the best.  It proved that a musical could survive – and flourish – in a move from stage to screen.

So, two wins for AFI this week and one for IMDb, bringing the total score to: 28-22.

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

Paths of Glory (1957)
Taxi Driver (1976)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Double Indemnity (1944)
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)

Next time another triple play.  I’ll be jumping a little out of order as I look at all three of the Lord of the Ring movies and their challengers (Spirited Away, The Maltese Falcon, On the Waterfront).

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