Distrurbing reading? (Empire Magazine's top 50 movies of all time readers poll)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dan Brecher, Oct 14, 2001.

  1. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    I stopped reading this magazine ("The UKs best selling film magazine" apparently), a British publication, some six years ago now for various reasons. Anyone who followed it from its early days through to the mid-90s will probbaly know why, as if the following is not reason enough to stop now.
    Recently, I was sent a newspaper article highlighting a latest issue's "poll" of the top 50 movies of all time as voted for by their readers, a list that screams "farce" as much as one of Channel 4's frequently televised top 100 listings. This is a list I find both funny and disturbing at the same time, and I thought I'd share it...
    Yes friends, welcome to the world where The Matrix is better than Citizen Kane, Titanic is better than Lawrence of Arabia, Return of the Jedi is better than Raging Bull, Jurassic Park is better than Dr. Strangelove and Braveheart is better than 2001. [​IMG] Read on if you dare:
    01) Star Wars: A New Hope
    02) The Empire Strikes Back
    03) The Shawshank Redemption
    04) The Godfather
    05) The Matrix
    06) Fight Club
    07) Gladiator
    08) Goodfellas
    09) Breakfast at Tiffany's
    10) Pulp Fiction
    11) Raiders of the Lost Ark
    12) The Usual Suspects
    13) Jaws
    14) American Beauty
    15) Casablanca
    16) Blade Runner
    17) The Godfather: Part II
    18) Se7en
    19) Aliens
    20) Saving Private Ryan
    21) The Silence of the Lambs
    22) Schindler's List
    23) Alien
    24) Some Like it Hot
    25) LA Confidential
    26) Apocalypse Now
    27) Magnolia
    28) Citizen Kane
    29) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
    30) It's a Wonderful Life
    31) Braveheart
    32) Leon
    33) 2001: A Space Odyessy
    34) Titanic
    35) The Big Lebowski
    36) Lawrence of Arabia
    37) Taxi Driver
    38) Gone with the Wind
    39) Fargo
    40) Return of the Jedi
    41) Singin' in the Rain
    42) Raging Bull
    43) Jurassic Park
    44) The Searchers
    45) Forrest Gump
    46) Grosse Pointe Blank
    47) Rear Window
    48) Dr Strangelove
    49) One Flew over the Cukoo's Nest
    50) Vertigo
    Says a fair bit about the ever decreasing taste we Brits have in movies. Kinda shocking Lock Stock and or Snatch didn't even make that list huh? [​IMG]
    Dan (UK)
     
  2. Brian Harnish

    Brian Harnish Screenwriter

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    What really pisses me off is that 2001 is at #33!!!!! 33!!!! That film easily tops Star Wars and all those that are above it. I find it hard to believe that serious film enthusiasts would place Breakfast At Tiffany's as being better than 2001. What an obvious farce! [​IMG]
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  3. paul o'donnell

    paul o'donnell Second Unit

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    I won't get started because it'll get out of hand. But the elitist bastard inside says continue.
    So all I will say is meh, guh and muh + *sigh*
    Thank you, man of few words.
     
  4. Jesse Leonard

    Jesse Leonard Second Unit

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    quote: Says a fair bit about the ever decreasing taste we Brits have in movies.[/quote]
    Well, it is a Reader's poll. I am actually suprised that as many "classics" made it on the list as did.
    All in all, I would say that it is a pretty good list that contains some highly entertaining films and would make a fine film library for most any household.
    [Edited last by Jesse Leonard on October 14, 2001 at 05:36 AM]
     
  5. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    And yet it strangely lingers sort of close to at least good taste, with a definate weight on the last 10 years. I mean many people are not fond of Magnolia, but it has quite a respectable following too, primarily for it's artistic efforts rather than pop appeal.
    And while I would not put the Star Wars films at the top, at least those 2 are considered to be strong cinema, even if they are focused on fun entertainment.
    I mean, we DO see quality films all over that list, just rather well out of order with the modern stuff mostly near the top. But then Breakfast sneaks into the top 10, go figure.
    I think it would be better if the list was full of Dirty Harry's and American Pies because then we could dismiss the whole thing to wretched taste. Instead it's that timeless truth that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, people that know pretty good films when they see them, yet have no perspective on how films from previous generations affected the world of film art and audiances in years past.
    Why does everything current have to be "the best" or "the greatest"? Just like music lists made up of songs from the last 2 years near the top, songs that somehow leave the top 5 of all-time by the polls 2 years down the road.
     
  6. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    I'm not saying a number of the films listed are bad movies, a lot of them are good movies, great ones even, thats fine, but being a Brit as I am and living in the UK as I do I am aware of a distinct lack of diversity in what many citizens here are prone to liking. This list is proof of that, and to the extent, this is what bugs me most.
    You want to put out a movie here with flashy camera work, techno music and violence it's gonna do well here (Matrix, Fight Club, Lock Stock & 2 Smoking Barrels, Snatch....etc). There's a general magnetic attraction many people have in this country to certain types of movie, movies which may very well be good, but I see people ending up liking movies like Fight Club for the wrong reasons (a "wicked lookin" film with a "well good" soundtrack)...
    It's very hard for me to put into words how I feel, I'm going to sound like some elitist snob whatever the case. It's just become incresingly easy to hear about such a list based around British peoples fave flicks and immediately know that pop culture movies, anything over stylish and anything deemed somewhat "hip" will feature. I am honestly shocked Trainspotting didn't list for these reasons.
    Dan (UK)
    [Edited last by Dan Brecher on October 14, 2001 at 06:16 AM]
     
  7. paul o'donnell

    paul o'donnell Second Unit

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    Most of the Empire readers I've had experience with (and Im trying not to making generalisations here) have the outlook that cinema starts and stops with the 90s, and any films before that are either oscar winners or highly respected ones that get votes because every other list has them.
    Again no offence intended, Im sure there's plenty of readers who don't fit that criteria.
    I think the reason I find this list distressing, and probably Dan too is that this is the film enthusiast list, no joe six pack's.
    If it were full of American Pie's and so on then yeah, we could just ignore it and look down on the voters. But this is representative of the film followers in the UK.
    It doesn't bother me as much as it used to because people can like whatever they want, and like I said before, if I replied it would get out of hand and i look up at 5 paragraphs and realise...it has.
    *shuts up*
     
  8. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    Would my argument make any more sense if I said, should you pluck one of these voters and ask them to reveal why they voted for say, The Matrix (and remember, this is a poll of what are allegedly the top 50 films of ALL TIME), getting a response other than "it looks well good and its got some wicked fighting in it" is going to be a miracle?
    It's a general sense of falseness that frustrates me about the whole thing, again this feeling of people liking these movies but not really knowing why, and theres TV stations here that I truly feel play to this majority (Channel 4 and it's FilmFour spin off). Obviously such a statement does not speak for everyone, far from it (thankfully) but Paul I am sure would back me up in saying that this is a very general feeling of many film goers in this country. I was surrounded by them in college!
    "thats great you love Gladiator so much, just give me a good reason as to why...other than 'it looked really nice with some wicked fights!'"
    Dan (UK)
    PS: Interstingly, Channel 4 are due to screen their own top 100 movies televised poll this winter, as voted for by the general public. I'm expecting much the same results without good discussion as to why such and such a movie deserves to be at such and such a position.
    [Edited last by Dan Brecher on October 14, 2001 at 06:48 AM]
     
  9. Jesse Leonard

    Jesse Leonard Second Unit

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    I guess I am a little confused by your argument. You claim that British film enthusiasts don’t understand good cinema and the films that they do love they can’t explain why. You choose Gladiator as a movie that has not much going for it, other than looking nice and having great fighting, to illustrate the British’s film lover’s lack of taste. Yet Gladiator won Best Picture at the America Academy Awards.
    So if the British should be “disturbed” then us Americans should be ENRAGED! I saw a biography on James Garner (who is a voting member of the Academy) and he discussed the films of today. He claimed that he couldn’t even finish most of the films sent to him to screen before he votes! He doesn’t even watch them before he votes!! And I am sure that he isn’t the only member that does this.
    What should be more disturbing: A list put together by a magazine or a list (Academy Awards) put together by people for the purpose of recognizing and awarding an entire industry?
    I may be missing your point, Dan, but that list you posted looks pretty good to me. Like Seth said, a few seem a little out order and some could be argued as having no place on the list. But overall I feel far greater mistakes have been made by members of a certain Academy than subscribers to that magazine.
     
  10. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Dan, that was a great list! Much better than the AFI one. Ok, I'm nuts, but not. It's a list of what they liked. It is just as biased as any other list, and just depends on who is voting.
    As for the Academy Awards, their results do not influence my purchases at all. It just depends on the competition. If Star Wars: A New Hope came out the same year as Gladiator, which one do you think would get more awards?
    What if Gone With the Wind came out this year? If they did a Die Hard 4 about terrorists blowing up the WTC, would it even get mentioned? (Boo, boo, hiss, hiss)!
    Glenn
     
  11. Greg Ambrose

    Greg Ambrose Auditioning

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    The one that really shocks me is 46 - I thought I was the only person who loved Grosse Pointe Blank!
    But really, I think if you take a step back and look at the list, it's a lot better than it could have (and maybe should have) been. I am suprised Citizen Kane rated as high as it did, seeing as how so few people that I know have actually seen it. I have friends that can't be bothered to watch a black and white movie, which depresses me to no end.
     
  12. Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Cinematographer
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    As an Empire reader myself, I don't see what is particularly wrong with this list. I don't necessarily agree with it (I agree that it predominantly 90s based, which is a shame), but it is only a poll, and the majority of films in there are great films (though not necessarily of all time).
    I understand this poll was also run with the News of the World as well, and that speaks volumes to me!!! [​IMG]
     
  13. Darren Davis

    Darren Davis Stunt Coordinator

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    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon better than One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest...how does that happen?
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  14. Nate Anderson

    Nate Anderson Screenwriter

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    Yeah, there are a lot of recent blockbusters on the list, but there are also a good number of classics that routinely show up on these lists, that says maybe, just maybe peoples tastes aren't as bad as we think...
    I still don't think Star Wars is the greatest movie ever made.
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  15. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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  16. Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Cinematographer
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    Dan
    I see what your saying and I do agree with you for the most part. I tried having an conversation about the Matrix with a friend of mine, and he rated it as the best film he had ever seen.
    When I asked him why, he just commented on the fights and special effects and the "slow motion bullets".
    But the poll is just that, and many people who did vote probably voted for the right reasons as well. [​IMG]
    As I said, though, if the News of the World were polling as well for this, I am amazed that the list is as good as it is.
    (Sorry, but I cant stand News of the World)
    BTW, I actually voted on this as well, but I voted for "movies" (e.g Star Wars) rather than "films" (e.g. The Godfather, Memento) It is difficult to explain, but I categorise things I go an see into "movies" and "films" and rate them accordingly. Sorry if this is a bit off topic, but does anyone else do this ? It did affect the way I voted on the poll as it was a "movie poll" [​IMG]
     
  17. Brian_J

    Brian_J Second Unit

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  18. Brian_J

    Brian_J Second Unit

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  19. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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    This list is pretty terrible (ie. Star Wars at #1).
    This list seems to be the opposite of AFI's list.
    AFI has much too many older films on it's list, and this list has way too many modern films.
     
  20. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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