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Movie List FAQ

Who's your favorite director?

Since 3 of his films are in my Top 10 list, there is no question. Stanley Kubrick is God.

Where is Star Wars on the list of top movies?

Gone are the times when it was not on my list. I've now gotten generous and given it a 7.5. As for the sequels/prequels, they don't merit a rating. Watch the original Star Wars and watch 2001: A Space Odyssey. And see which has the better special effects. If someone were to tell me that 2001 was made in 1999 and I didn't know any better, I'd believe him/her. Star Wars, in my opinion, is a highly overrated formulaic film whose only redeeming feature was pioneering special effects that appear highly dated today.

What's wrong with the AFI ratings?

They are too caught up in the past. And seem to be confused about whether they want to talk about the All-Time Great films or Landmark films. It seems to me that there is a huge difference. All-Time Great films must, of necessity, withstand the test of time. I can't imagine sitting through The Wizard of Oz, The Jazz Singer, King Kong or even Gone With The Wind today, without wincing every now and then at the extremely amateurish narrative style or the poor special effects or the non-existent visual style that turns the films into nothing more than a recorded version of a stage play. I guess one can't really complain about the absence of non-American films, since the list is drawn up by the American Film Institute.

My final complaint against the AFI is their tendency to ignore the more "commercial" films, although they seem to love Casablanca for some reason. I just can't figure out why. As far as I can see, Casablanca has nothing going for it as a movie, except that its release during WW2 was carefully timed to afford it the greatest box-office success and a place in the hearts of a generation of Americans. And all based on corny lines like "Here's looking at you, kid" and "Is that the sound of cannon, or is it just my pounding heart?"

What's wrong with the IMDB ratings?

It tends to swing to the other extreme, giving ultra-high ratings to the newer movies, probably because not enough people have seen the older ones. And, of course, averaging everyone's ratings is not a very good means of determining the quality of a film.

What about your favorite stars?

Cary Grant, Kevin Spacey, Jack Nicholson, Robert de Niro, Peter Sellers, Al Pacino, Guiletta Masina, Thora Birch, Meg Ryan, Jodie Foster, Kate Hepburn and Nicole Kidman.

What do you think of the Oscars ?

What can you say about an awards ceremony that picks Gandhi over E.T, My Fair Lady over Dr. Strangelove... , Oliver! over 2001:... , Forrest Gump over Pulp Fiction AND The Shawshank Redemption, and never hands out a best director Oscar to Hitchcock or Kubrick. And, last of all, a ceremony that hands out 11 Oscars to a certain film going by the name Titanic.