Wednesday, August 1, 2012

New "Sight & Sound" lists

Critics’ Top 10 Greatest Films of All Time

  • 1. Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
  • 2. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
  • 3. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
  • 4. La Règle du jeu (Renoir, 1939)
  • 5. Sunrise: a Song for Two Humans (Murnau, 1927)
  • 6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)
  • 7. The Searchers (Ford, 1956)
  • 8. Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
  • 9. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1927)
  • 10. 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)
Directors’ Top 10 Greatest Films of All Time
  • 1. Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
  • 2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)
  • 3. Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
  • 4. 8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)
  • 5. Taxi Driver (Scorsese, 1980)
  • 6. Apocalypse Now (Coppola, 1979)
  • 7. The Godfather (Coppola, 1972)
  • 8. Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
  • 9. Mirror (Tarkovsky, 1974)
  • 10 Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, 1948)


Tulkinghorn said...

A movie critic born in 1962 probably didn't begin seeing movies in a film critic/crazy way until college age, the way most of us did -- to be fair, call it 1979.

This means that a critic who has been seeing 50-100 new movies a year for thirty plus years -- assuming a full critic/crazy load and a long career-- has only seen two top ten movies on their first release.

Thousands of current films, and only two that make the grade....

Makes you wonder what critics are in love with. Three movies were released between 1927 and 1929 that were better than anything released since 1980.


BTW, the Rolling Stone Top 50 album list is similarly limited

Tulkinghorn said...

Also Apocalypse Now is a silly, in fact, stupid, movie. But that's just me.

Everybody on the critics' list is dead, and only Scorsese is active from the directors' list...

There's got to be a better way.

David Chute said...

Tulkinghorn said...

Thinking about this at greater length, I have realized that the fallacy here is that we're dealing with the hive mind -- and that what counts is consensus and not individual choices. This might seem obvious, but it leads to a couple of important results:

1) A lot of recent movies will be on individual lists, but with fewer clear vote magnets.

2) Directors without clear masterpieces will be passed over entirely, like Fassbinder or Kieslowski, whose best films may have been television series or trilogies, or Almodovar, who is mostly loved for his work, not any individual movie.

3) Some of the snubs are perfectly justified: Cassavetes, Malick, for god's sake.... Tulkinghorn favorite Michael Haneke misses the list for good reason, I'm afraid...

David Chute said...

Christian Lindke said...

Let's see...

1) Vertigo -- Good thing that this and the 7th Voyage of Sinbad don't have the same score...oh wait.
2) Citizen Kane -- Can they tell us why? I agree, but it deals with technological and cinematographical advances.
3) Tokyo Story -- Glad they were paying attention in their film studies classes. Not like they could have selected the High and the Low.
4) Renoir...yawn.
5) Sunrise -- Have they really watched this predictable tale of temptation? This is the 5th greatest film of all time? Oh...okay. It's good, but c'mon.
6) 2001 -- Higher than Clockwork? Wrong. Anyone's top 10?
7) The Searchers -- It's like Red River...only racist and not as good.
8)Man with a Movie Camera -- no comment. Need to see first.
9) The Passion of Joan of Arc -- okay. This is actually magnificent, and you can see how much so when you compare the recent "remake" with Dustin Hoffman as the inquisitor.
10) 8 1/2 -- "Here I am yelling from the rooftops like I'm in a Fellini film" If only for that moment in the wonderful Author! Author! I'll allow this.

1) Tokyo Story -- Man, these guys must have all sat in the same Drew Casper class that I did.
2) 2001 -- Star Trek: The Slow Motion Picture it's dull and has overpowering music?
3) Citizen Kane -- Again why? I think it's magnificent as I wrote above, but I'd rather watch The Third Man -- the Lorre version.
4) 8 1/2 -- Because we all want to be this self-indulgent when making films.
5) Taxi Driver -- Have to throw in the nihilistic 70s somewhere right? There is a difference between cool and great.
6) Apocalypse Now -- Umm...okay...If only because it inspired Tropic Thunder.
7) The Godfather -- Yes. A true work of art.
8) Vertigo -- Because no one watches The Lady Vanishes, Stage Fright, or the 39 Steps.
9) Mirror -- If we don't select films no one has watched, then this isn't a real list. Besides, we couldn't put The Conversation this high or anything.
10) Bicycle Thieves -- If we don't have enough foreign movies, we look narrow and jingoistic. And M wouldn't have counted.

Tulkinghorn said...

Locus on-line, the SF news site, notes hopefully that four of the fifty are SF movies -- 2001, Metropolis, Stalker, and La Jetee....

Christian Lindke said...

Completely leaving out...

Forbidden Planet
The Thing
The Andromeda Strain
Star Wars
The Wizard of Oz

The critics list included Blade Runner, and I agree that it is wonderful as it was theatrically released. The problem with lists like these, is that they are shaped too much by wanting to "get it right."

As Tulk, pointed out these are products of consensus written to fit within a consensus. Who wants to be the person who writes that Wizard of Oz is the greatest film of all time -- which I almost believe. It comes in second to Singin' in the Rain.

God save us from a world where people believe Vertigo is better than Suspicion.

David Chute said...

In looking over both complete lists, I find I'm not terribly offended. Most of the titles that should be are there somewhere. No regrets for David Lean, and if anything Peckinpah and Almodovar win additional respect for still being outsider. Likewise the genre termites, from Todd Browning to Budd Boetticher. "We don' need no stinkin' list."

Christian Lindke said...

"Most of the titles that should be there..." you tempt me to make arguments in favor of GREASE 2

The whole point of subjective critics lists is that there shouldn't really be a title that "should" be there. Surprise me. Help me learn something I might have missed. Don't quote from translated copies of French critical journals from the 50s and 60s or Sarris/Kael. Show me your opinion.

Don't give me the "It's good because it's old" schlock. Don't tell me that BRINGING UP BABY -- which is wonderful BTW -- is somehow better film making than THE WEDDING CRASHERS or TALLADEGA NIGHTS. It isn't, nor is PHILADELPHIA STORY better film making than THE BREAK UP.

To state otherwise is to be a kind of rigid filmic reactionary.

David Chute said...

You mis-read me, sir. I'm suggesting that the whole notion of compiling a list is stodgy and reactionary, and we should embrace the fact that some of our favorite films, from "The Tall T" to Point Break," will never be so certified.