Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Showdown: AFI vs. IMDb (#17)

It’s the Sunday Movie Showdown, The American Film Institute’s (AFI) Top 100 vs. the Internet Movie Databases’ (IMDb) Top 100. 

 #17: The Graduate vs. Fight Club

Let’s not waste any time here. My vote goes to Fight Club. I have less tolerance for The Graduate than I do for E.T., which is saying a lot. Dustin Hoffman’s Benjamin Braddock is such a tool to me in this film – seriously, I had to sit on my hands so I wouldn’t slap the television – that despite the movie’s couple of iconic shots, I just barely was able to sit through it again.

And you may ask yourself: What have I done?
The only redeeming factor of The Graduate is that last scene on the bus when these two incredibly selfish young people are running away together, and there’s a moment of awkward panic in Benjamin Braddock’s eyes. What the heck is he supposed to do now? Hahaha. Suck it up, putz.

Fight Club, interestingly, has a vaguely similar theme as The Graduate: discovering and becoming the person you want to be rather than the one people/advertising tell you to be. The film is about fighting other people, sure, but it’s really about fighting yourself. And accepting that when you fight yourself you’re both the winner and the loser.

I didn’t see Fight Club when it released in 1999. I didn’t see it until 2011, and it helped me slide right smack into the middle into my mid-life crisis. The film spoke to me in ways I would’ve sworn a David Fincher flick never could.

Instead of talking about the film itself (let’s face it, at this point you’ve probably either seen it or never plan to. It’s not necessarily a movie I would suggest to anyone), I’m just going to give you a top ten quotes from Fight Club list (and none of them are "the rules" of Fight Club):

10. You met me at a very strange time in my life.

9. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else.

8. People do it every day, they talk to themselves... they see themselves as they'd like to be, they don't have the courage you have, to just run with it.

7. The things you own end up owning you.

6. I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let... let’s evolve, let the chips fall where they may.

5. No fear. No distractions. The ability to let that which does not matter truly slide.

4. If you wake up at a different time in a different place, could you wake up as a different person?

3. We just had a near-life experience, fellas.

2.  How much can you know about yourself, when you've never been in a fight? I don't want to die without any scars. 

1.  This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.    

Just in case anyone hasn’t seen the movie and does actually plan to, I don’t want to give anything away.  As you can see from the quotes (some of which were edited for language), it’s not a feel-good move. Nothing about Fight Club or the main character Tyler Durden was feel-good.

The thing about Tyler Durden was that he forced people to be what they really wanted themselves to be. Granted, he did so in the most violent and obnoxious way possible.  But he refused to accept people’s pathetic excuses for not living the lives they wanted to live.

Stop being what someone tells you to be and BE WHO YOU ARE. 

(Except there would’ve been two dozen f-bombs in that one sentence, along with some sort of violence.)

Think of it this way. Have you ever seen this inspiration quote floating around on Facebook or Pinterest? 

Fight Club kind of asked the same question but with a different spin:

Deep inside, I think we all sort of wish that someone  – a Tyler Durden, perhaps – would force us to be become the person we most desire to become.  If we were forced (at threat of violence) to succeed then the only option would be…


The movie, at its roots, is about having the guts to completely reduce yourself to your most basic foundation, strip away everything that doesn’t really have permanent meaning in your life, and become who you really want to be, embracing the scars that come along with that process.

Like I said, the movie spoke to me. But I’ll save the true mid-life crisis post for another time.

Enough waxing poetic.  Fight Club gets my vote by a landslide, bringing the overall score to AFI – 46, IMDb – 38.

Next week is Sunset Blvd vs. Casablanca, and since that’s going to be so short (ain’t much that beats Rick & Sam), we’ll probably get to 2001: A Space Odyssey vs. Goodfellas  -- a more difficult choice since I don’t care for either.

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


#11 City Lights (1931) LoTR: Return of the King (2003)

The Graduate (1967)
Fight Club (1999)
The General (1927)
City of God (2002)
#19 On the Waterfront (1954) LoTR: Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Rear Window (1954)
Chinatown (1974)
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Toy Story 3 (2010)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Psycho (1960)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
The Matrix (1999)
High Noon (1952)
Silence of the Lambs (1991)
All About Eve (1950)
Se7en (1995)
Double Indemnity (1944)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Memento (1990)
#31 The Maltese Falcon (1941) LoTR: The Two Towers(2002)
The Godfather Part II (1974)
Sunset Boulevard (1950)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Forrest Gump (1994)
Annie Hall (1977)
Leon: The Professional (1994)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Citizen Kane (1941)
#37 The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) Apocalypse Now (1979)
#38 The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) North By Northwest (1959)
#39 Dr. Strangelove (1964) American Beauty (1999)
#40 The Sound of Music (1965) American History X (1998)
#41 King Kong (1933) Taxi Driver (1976)
#42 Bonnie and Clyde (1967) Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
#43 Midnight Cowboy (1969) Saving Private Ryan (1998)
#44 The Philadelphia Story (1940) Vertigo (1958)
#45 Shane (1953) Amelie (2001)
#46 It Happened One Night (1934) Alien (1979)
#47 A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) Wall E (2008)
#48 Rear Window (1954) Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
#49 Intolerance (1916) The Shining (1980)
#50 LoTR: Fellowship of the Ring (2001) Spirited Away (2001)
#51 West Side Story (1961) Paths of Glory (1957)
#52 Taxi Driver (1976) A Clockwork Orange (1971)
#53 The Deer Hunter (1978) Double Indemnity (1944)
#54 M*A*S*H* (1970) To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
#55 North by Northwest (1959) The Pianist (2002)
#56 Jaws (1975) The Lives of Others (2006)
#57 Rocky (1976) The Departed (2006)
The Gold Rush (1925)
Memento (2000)
#59 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)



  1. Haha, a wasp trying to understand fightclub...and claiming it is better then the graduate? good lord what an idiot

  2. Fight club is the best of all time....