19 June 2008

No Top Ten Sequels?

I know, I shouldn't have bothered but I watched the latest AFI special. Capitalizing on the success of their top 100 special 10 years ago they've been scrambling for ideas to come up with for yearly specials ever since. One year it was movie quotes, another it was top stars, another it was greatest thrills. This year's was ten top tens. The ten best films in ten different categories.
Here's how stupid it was, they couldn't find a category for their own #1 film, Citizen Kane. There was no category for Jaws, Psycho, Singing in the Rain, Cabaret, Top Hat (they've never heard of musicals), Raiders of the Lost Ark, Grapes of Wrath, Bringing Up Baby, Duck Soup, or any movie made before 1930. That's not the worst, their top ten courtroom dramas included Kramer vs. Kramer (there was a short courtroom scene or two, I think, I mean honestly who remembers that movie?) but NOT Inherit the Wind. Top ten courtroom dramas and no Inherit the Wind. Unbelievable.
While there was no musicals or pure comedies category (they had romantic comedies) they had top ten sports movies. Seriously. And get this, Jerry Maguire and Caddyshack were on it but not The Natural. They also had animated films. So we get Finding Nemo but no category for Casablanca.
So really this is not just me disagreeing with the omission of Big Sleep from the mystery category or My Darling Clementine from the Westerns, these people at AFI just opened themselves up for ridicule.
I'm afraid to ask but: what will the AFI think up for next year?


Anonymous said...

Hey Richard,

Great blog. I agree with your criticism regarding the omissions from AFI's 10 genres.

However, having looked over the past AFI lists, I think the reason that there are no top 10 musicals, top 10 romances, or top 10 comedies is that these genres have already been covered in 100 years of Musicals, 100 years of Passions, and 100 years of Laughs.

For example, we can already see what AFI thinks about Top Hat, Cabaret, and Singing in the Rain (these films are Numbers 15, 5, and 1 in the 100 years of Musicals).

-- Casablanca (#1, 100 Passions)
-- Jaws (#2, 100 Thrills)
-- Psycho (#1, 100 Thrills)
-- Raiders of the Lost Ark (#10 100 Thrills)
-- Bringing Up Baby (#14 100 Laughs)
-- Duck Soup (#5 100 Laughs)

I guess the reason for the omission of Citizen Kane is that it doesn't really fit into any genre. The same is probably true of Grapes of Wrath (although AFI has included it in their greatest Cheers list).

VP81955 said...

I just want to say, in lieu of an e-mail address, how much I enjoy this blog, for your writing style, knowledge and love for films. (Mick LaSalle gave you a plug.)

Now I wish to return the favor by inviting you and your readers to visit my blog dedicated to classic Hollywood. It's called "Carole & Co." after my all-time favorite actress, Carole Lombard -- and while she's the focal point, we discuss plenty of topics, including people she knew and worked with. You'll find many rare photos, too. We've been around for slightly more than a year, with at least one entry every day -- so our archive is considerable. I try to blend a historian's perspective with a fan's enthusiasm. Please check us out at