Thursday, June 15, 2006

Triumph of the Swill

The American Film Institute is busy with another one of its specials that celebrate what I think is called a 100 Film Lists for 100 Years of Film...wait till we get to the Top 100 Films We Have Yet to List List!

Actually, the current installment is almost that bad, as it's called "100 Years...100 Cheers," a title shortened, luckily, from "3 Cheers a 100 Times, For It's a Jolly Good Celluloid." Here's the actual criteria from the AFI website: "Movies that inspire with characters of vision and conviction who face adversity and often make a personal sacrifice for the greater good. Whether these movies end happily or not, they are ultimately triumphant--both filling audiences with hope and empowering them with the spirit of human potential."

Basically, then, this is a list of films that make you cry, then vomit, because you realize you've cried at glop. Most are the filmic equivalent of yanking out a nose hair (not that I have any). Yep, that's Sound of Music at 41 on the list, as the film is triply inspiring, for after it you know how to solve any fashion problem if you have enough drapes, you know how to escape from a convent if you aren't quite the nun-kind, and you can sing your way past the Nazis (how much easier it would have been for the folks in #3's Schindler's List if they only could have been in a musical).

Of course there are numerous head-scratchers on the list, too, as if the voters decided if they cried then it must be an inspirational film, even if it's hard to say what #17's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest would lead folks to do beyond be sure they had a big Native American around to snuff out their lives that aren't really worth living anyway because you can't tell the crazy from the sane. Heck, at that rate The Blair Witch Project should be on the list as it inspires folks not to go into the woods with only black and white film. And I guess #20 Philadelphia inspires us to know that if you're going to die from AIDs, make sure your lover is Antonio Banderas (just don't be seen smooching him; Hanks got to inspire actors by playing both his character and the Virgin Mary at once, with the kings of Hollywood bringing him Oscar gold.)

Sadly, many of the films I've found most inspiring over the years didn't make the cut. Is there any moment more hopeful in the annals of cinema than the one when Woody Allen's Zelig, a man who adapts to fit into to whatever scenario he's in and thereby becomes an inadvertent WW II era hero, exclaims: "But I've never flown before in my life, and it shows exactly what you can do if you're a total psychotic!"


Anonymous Tessitura said...

I wish I had not looked at that list.

6:32 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

eXTReMe Tracker