Monday, June 3, 2013

Sunday Showdown: AFI vs IMDb (#44-41)

Ah, can’t believe I’ve been letting real-world, potentially life-changing stuff affect my getting the Sunday Movie Showdown up the last few weeks. I’ve been watching the movies, just haven’t had time to write.

Here’s who’s on deck:
#44: The Philadelphia Story vs. Vertigo
#43: Midnight Cowboy vs. Saving Private Ryan
#42: Bonnie & Clyde vs. Terminator 2: Judgment Day
#41: King Kong vs. Taxi Driver

Seriously, saw this 100s of times
Let’s start with the easiest: #42 Bonnie & Clyde vs. Terminator 2: Judgment Day .  I liked B&C okay, but seriously, no contest there. Arnold wins, hands down. T2 was like only the most awesome movie ever to come out in the early 90s. I happened to work at a movie theater during that time. We saw Arnie lowered into that molten steel dozens, maybe even hundreds, of times. “The unknown future rolls toward us. I face it for the first time with a sense of hope…”

King Kong vs. Taxi Driver wasn’t much more difficult. Have you seen King Kong lately? That’s just a great film, even better because it was made in 1933. The horror. The terror. The giant ape vs. giant dinosaurs. People getting crushed everywhere.  Plus a  love triangle (will she choose the man or the ape?).  It was all wonderful.  No matter how crazy Robert DeNiro got in Taxi Driver, Kong was a better film.

1969's Midnight Cowboy I didn’t really like at all. I had never seen it, surprising given its topic – a male prostitute and his search for fortune in NYC. But seriously, Jon Voight’s Joe Buck was so overplayed it was nearly laughable. I mean, I guess NYC’s Naked Cowboy has Voight to thank, but none of the rest of us do. I’ve already stated how I’m not a big Dustin Hoffman fan here. His showy performance just confirmed my dislike. So although Saving Private Ryan isn’t my favorite, it definitely wins over Cowboy.

For me, the only real contest came down to The Philadelphia Story vs. Vertigo. Screwball comedy, romance, wit and Jimmy Stewart  vs. psychological thrill, suspense, erotic obsession and Jimmy Stewart.

This, perhaps, has been the hardest decision I’ve had to make so far since starting the Movie Showdown.

Philadelphia Story
It’s unbearable to me that Philadelphia didn’t make it onto the IMDb list at all. To not have this as one of the 100 films in anybody’s universe is wholly inconceivable. I could instantly name half a dozen films on the IMDb that I would gladly replace with The Philadelphia Story (The Prestige, Life is Beautiful, Downfall – just off the top of my head. And pretty much anything of Stanley Kubrick’s). What's the matter with regular people, to not have it on the list at all?

But against Vertigo? Eeek. Vertigo’s  not even my favorite Hitchcock, but it’s still stellar. Spooky and sexy at the same time. Vertigo is #44 for IMDb, but it’s #9 for AFI. Whether or not I’d call it a top 10 of all time I’ll tackle later. Right now I just had to decide whether I like it more than Philadelphia.

Ultimately, we redheads have to stick together. Katharine Hepburn (and Cary Grant and Jimmy) was entirely too wonderful not to get her man. And my vote. Philadelphia wins by a nose.

So, two votes for AFI (Philadelphia Story and King Kong) and two for IMDb (Saving Private Ryan and T2: Judgment Day), bringing the score to AFI – 36 and IMDb – 27.

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)

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 some real mind-benders: #40: The Sound of Music vs. American History X (a fitting choice given the big announcement I should be making soon); #39: Dr. Strangelove vs. American Beauty; #38: The Treasure of Sierra Madre vs. North By Northwest (our first complete repeat – both have already been in the countdown) and #37: The Best Years of Our Lives vs. Apocalypse Now (aka: War is Hell vs. War is Hell).

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