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I paid $8 for that?

Sight and Sound magazine has just released their critics poll of top 10 list of best movies of all-time. These type of lists are usually a dime-a-dozen, but Sight and Sound has currency because its list comes out only once every ten years, it started in 1952, and, well, it's Sight and Sound.

The list includes the usual suspects: Citizen Kane, Vertigo, La Règle du jeu, the first two Godfather movies (which they quizotically count as one), Tokyo Story, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Battleship Potemkin, Sunrise, 8 1/2, and Singin' In the Rain. They're all great movies, no doubt about that (although I'd recommend drinking a few strong cups of coffee before re-watching 2001; you'll need it to stay awake), but what's odd about the list is what's missing.

With the exception of Singin' in the Rain, there are no fun movies on the list. The other movies are serious art-house types (some might counter with the vastly popular Godfather I, but my come-back will be to remind them about Godfather II). (And, one must assume the only reason Singin' in the Rain is thought of so highly is because of the humor it pokes at Holllywood.)

I'm not saying, no matter how great it is, that Easy Living should be on this kind of list, but I think, judging from what a movie-lover is subjected to in contemporary movie criticism, the Sight and Sound list is emblematic of the fact that movie critics have forgotten why most people go to movies.

Sight and Sound had no great comedies. No Chaplin, no Keaton, no Duck Soup, no Some Like it Hot, no Tootsie, no Annie Hall, no Fargo. While there are romantic moments in Vertigo, Sunrise and Singin' In the Rain, Sight and Sound had no great romances. No World of Apu, no Titanic, no Affair to Remember, no When Harry Met Sally, no Roman Holiday, no Gone with the Wind, no Doctor Zhivago, no Reds. It had no great action movies. No Raiders of the Lost Ark, no Speed, no The Matrix. Even with Vertigo, it had no real horror films. No Sixth Sense, no Exorcist, no Jaws, no Halloween.

The art-house has its place, and I love every movie on the list, but movie critics have forgotten and they should take pains to remember why we all love movies.


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