Monday, June 17, 2013

Sunday Showdown: AFI vs IMDb (#40-37)

It’s once again the Sunday Movie Showdown, The American Film Institute’s (AFI) Top 100 vs. the Internet Movie Databases’ (IMDb) Top 100. Trying to see who I agree with more – the Scholars or the Masses.

Four Showdowns this Week:
#40 The Sound of Music vs. American History X
#39 Dr. Strangelove vs. American Beauty
#38 The Treasure of the Sierra Madre vs. North By Northwest
#37 The Best Years of Our Lives vs. Apocalypse Now

#40 The Sound of Music vs. American History X. This is possibly the most polar-opposite- matching- while-still-having-a-similar-theme pair of the Showdown so far. X came out in 1998 and I had never seen it. On purpose. For 15 years I avoided watching that film. I knew it would be hard to watch, I knew it would
Ed Norton - gleefully violent
be violent, I knew Edward Norton would be wonderful. All true. I loved that the film ended by screaming the question: WHAT WILL HAPPEN NOW – MOVE FORWARD OR TURN BACKWARDS? And providing no answers.

But overall, I don’t feel like American History X deserved to be in a Top 100 spot. Especially not against a classic like Sound of Music. Seriously, who would pick skinheads over Julie Andrews? So my vote goes to Sound of Music. And not even because I’m going to be living near there soon.

American Beauty
#39 Dr. Strangelove vs. American Beauty. Honestly, I’ve seen Strangelove a couple of times in the last few years. I get it. It’s a farce. War is bad. The World Superpowers are idiots.  I am so sick of Stanley Kubrick. If I never have to watch another of his films, that will be just fine with me. So I definitely choose American Beauty. If you haven’t seen it, watch it right now. I had forgotten what a wonderful , witty, dark film it is.

#37 (We’ll come back to #38 in a minute) The Best Years of Our
 Best Years
vs. Apocalypse Now
. I had never seen the 1946 classic The Best Years, about three veterans return to small-town life after WWII. It’s a lovely, touching movie, well worth a viewing if you haven’t seen it. It’s a bit long (nearly 3 hours), but you’re drawn in to the lives of these three men and the women who love them.

But against Apocalypse Now? Just can’t do it. We all love the smell of napalm in the morning too much. Apocalypse is the best of the many Vietnam films I’ve watched for the Showdown (Full Metal Jacket, M.A.S.H., Platoon, The Deer Hunter...). It’s bat-sh*t crazy, but it’s a great movie.

Which leaves us with: #38 The Treasure of the Sierra Madre vs. North By Northwest.

Sierra Madre
North By Northwest

Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time in a year and a half of doing the Showdown, we have a tie. That’s right, I could not choose between these two fantastic films. I pondered this showdown for days and every time I thought I could give it to one of the two, I would think of something else with the other that was just as great.  Both of these have been in the Showdown before (North By Northwest won against The Pianist in #55 and Sierra Madre won against Unforgiven in #68). I could not choose. Maybe I’ll watch them both again in a few weeks and see if that brings any clarity, but for now we’ll have to call it a draw.

So, IMDb takes two this week, and AFI takes 1, bringing the total score to: AFI – 37, IMDb – 29. 

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


City Lights (1931)
LoTR: Return of the King (2003)
On the Waterfront (1954)
LoTR: Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
LoTR: The Two Towers(2002)

Apocalypse Now (1979)
North By Northwest (1959)
American Beauty (1999)
American History X (1998)
King Kong (1933)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Vertigo (1958)
Shane (1953)
Amelie (2001)
It Happened One Night (1934)
Alien (1979)
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Wall E (2008)
Rear Window (1954)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Intolerance (1916)
The Shining (1980)
LoTR: Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Spirited Away (2001)
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)
Goodfellas (1990)
Up (2009) 
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, Bridge on the River Kwai vs. Citizen Kane. And Annie Hall vs. The Professional. I'm pretty sure I already know what my vote is for both of those.

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