Monday, August 13, 2012

Some Arguments I Have with ‘Great Movies- 100 Years of Cinema’ by Andrew Heritage

This is a good book - with wonderful illustrations - but it claims to list the ‘100 best and most influential movies ever made’. It admits ‘many readers will disagree with our final choices’ and I’ll certainly oblige them on that score. I disagree with at least 30% of the 100: The Sound of Music, Mr.Hulot’s Holiday, Last Tango in Paris, Les Enfants Du Paradis, Gone with the Wind, High Noon, The Ten Commandments, The African Queen, Easy Rider, Spartacus, Intolerance, and so on. Because it could perhaps be argued that these films are in any case ‘influential’ even if they’re not any good, I’ll let them pass without further comment. But here are five which I think really shouldn’t have been included on any basis.

  1. Jailhouse Rock. The sad fact is that Elvis never made even a halfway decent movie and, influential as he was in the world of music, his film career was a complete wash-out which inspired no-one.
  2. Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It’s not only a nothing piece of fluff with hardly any story which has inexplicably become a classic based on nothing more than its nifty title and Audrey Hepburn’s nice clothes, it’s actually very offensive and annoying when Mickey Rooney’s Japanese caricature is on screen. And if you’re going to include films just because they were hits at the box office why not then include Airport and Police Academy and Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean?
  3. Pirates of the Caribbean I spoke too soon! No.3 in the top 5 movies which shouldn’t have been included in this book is this passable action romp which spawned three awful sequels.
  4. Grease. Again, it was very popular at the time, but it’s only an intermittantly fun picture and was it really influential? I don’t remember many other 50’s-set musicals coming out in the late 70’s or early 80’s.
  5. Pretty Woman. All I can say about this is: Oh, come on

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