Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Lists are Overrated

The September issue of Premiere magazine includes a curious list. The list of the 20 most overrated films of all time.

According to them anyway.

But people like a good list. And opinion lists are good for a few things. They’re provocative, they give us something to talk about and debate other than politics and human rights issues. And they can end in fisticuffs, which is always entertaining.

But they are also a way for the general population to gauge their “normality factor.”

I’m not saying that most people gain their self esteem from “best-of” lists. But it’s comforting to know that you’re not the only person on the planet that thought 2001: A Space Odyssey was an incredibly boring movie.

But still. Why do things like this make the national news (which is where I saw it)?

Lists can generate cliques. Oh, sure, cliques are bad. Nobody like cliques. They’re exclusive. We should all just get along, right? “Clubs” good… “Cliques” bad. Look, we thrive on cliques. Humanity demands them. Humans will form cliques over the size of their genitals for crying out loud.

We need our cliques. We don’t need to kill each other over them. But I’m a proud member of the “Clerks was a great film” clique.

And my clique could kick your “Clerks was juvenile, obscene and pointless” clique’s sorry ass any day!

Let’s all form some cliques right now! Here’s the list.

2001: A Space Odyssey
A Beautiful Mind
An American in Paris
American Beauty
Chariots of Fire
Easy Rider
Field of Dreams
Forrest Gump
Gone With the Wind
Good Will Hunting
Jules and Jim
Monster's Ball
Mystic River
The Red Shoes
The Wizard of Oz

I am happy to see that none of my most beloved films were on the list. Not that I would really care if they were. But I get tired of backlash groupies. They have a tendency to say incredibly inane things to me like “Citizen Kane was sooo boring. I fell asleep! What’s the big deal about it anyway?!”

Not too harsh, but inane nonetheless. And how do you convince them that the movie really has merit and deserves its place in history when they never even saw the entire thing in the first place?

You don’t. You sneer at them (while they smile back smugly) and then go about your life, forever feeling superior to them in every way.

But this list didn’t give ammunition to anyone against my favorite pictures. In fact, I agree with most of them. I never saw Monster’s Ball, but any film where Hale Berry gave “a brilliant, Oscar-caliber acting performance” is obviously overrated.

I will only take issue with three of the movies on the list. Clerks (obviously), Forrest Gump and The Wizard of Oz.

“Clerks” is near impossible to defend. I’ll just tell you that it changed my life. Seriously. Not the content of the film. The fact that the film existed changed my life. The best film that Kevin Smith ever made. One of my all-time favorites. The only reason I ever gave a try at making my own movies. So even though the film is crude and dumb at times and spawned three horrible films from me and countless horrible films from Kevin Smith, it still deserves to be considered wonderful.

“Forrest Gump.” I will never forget the way that movie made me feel the first time I saw it. I wish everybody would stop bagging on it. Get over it! It beat “Pulp Fiction” for the Oscar that year! It’s done! Get on with your sad lives! Yes, poor Quentin Tarantino! How will he ever survive?! Sour grapes.

And “The Wizard of Oz?!” What kind of sad world do we live in when even beloved classics can’t escape the scrutiny of the disenfranchised malcontents from the forgotten generation X?

Now you know how I feel. But is any of it even important? Or is it just an ironic way to make the film industry seem like a worthwhile, cerebral endeavor so that we’ll all feel better wasting so much of our time on it?

Who cares? Like the films on this list, my opinion is highly overrated.

But only by me.

Oh, and Moonstruck sucked.

Fun Fact: The most underrated film of all time is “Newsies.” Laugh if you will, but it rocks and you know it does!

What other movies are woefully left out in the cannon of great films? Why not post a comment and let us all know what we should put in our Netflix queues.

No, really, post a comment! What does a dude have to do around here to get comments?! Threaten suicide?!

Sorry. You don’t have to comment if you don’t want to.

I will keep myself busy by blowing out the pilot lights on my stove…

Oh, and the latest TAM Cartoon is up! Suicideisnotfunnysational!

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