Thursday, July 5, 2007

25 Important Films

Today, USA Today published a list of 25 films that have had an impact on culture and the film industry.

The first thing that has to be commented on is the fact that The Lord of the Rings trilogy is considered by the staff of USA Today to be the most important film in the past 25 years. I understand it in principle, as it was a high-grossing movie with a lot of special effects Oscars. But, I'm having problems agreeing with it. They were interesting, but I can't watch them again. Firstly because they are too long. Secondly because the stories weren't really that engaging. I saw all of these movies out of my dome, and they tripped me out. But, sober, I couldn't stand them. I haven't been able to watch them again since the first viewing.

Also, I can't be the only person who hated Titanic with a passion, enough so to have a disagreement with it being the 5th most important film of the past 25 years. I wholeheartedly disagree with that choice. It didn't even launch DiCaprio into the public sphere. The Basketball Diaries and What's Eating Gilbert Grape were far better performances from him and showed his true talents as an actor. Also, Kate Winslet was magical in Heavenly Creatures. So, this is clearly a monetary decision more than an actual acting decision.

Along with all of this, I disagree with The Cable Guy being on this list. I saw The Cable Guy when it came out. It was a waste of a matinee ticket. Seriously, if I could get back the money I didn't pay for it, I would. I didn't expect it to be The Mask, but I also didn't expect it to suck. USA Today justifies its choice by saying that it was the first movie to pay an actor $20 Million dollars. While that may be true, it has also sunken Hollywood into an era of overpaid actors making mediocre films with bloated budgets. Waterworld anyone?

Also, I am not OK with MI:III being on this list either. Tom Cruise's ode to himself is justified by the writer as being what can happen when an actor becomes a fanatical religious zealot*. But, it is a bad film. I would think that Top Gun would be a better film that doesn't appear on this list. How many movies can you think of that take off the spirit of Top Gun? I don't know....THE WHOLE DIE HARD SERIES! And this only one. Top Gun is the modern action movie personified: overly melodramatic, seething with sexual tension (man/man and man/woman) but having tons of actually good action sequences. I don't know how this movie couldn't be considered, but MI:III is. This is clearly them wanting to stick it to Cruise for being a Scientologist.

Also, as much as I may like Pretty Woman (I do. It's a nice romance story. I don't watch it all of the time because Julia Roberts upsets me, but I don't think that it's a bad movie.), I don't measure anyone against Julia Roberts as a newly rising actress. She's not that nice. Apparently, USA Today believes that she is the young woman that all are measured against when coming into Hollywood. If this is true, can Helen Mirren save us all? Maybe Judi Dench or Cate Blanchett? What about Kate Winslet? All maybe be British, but they are all better than Julia Roberts in my book.

While I may have slammed a lot of this list, I don't actually disagree with a lot of them as good films, although I think that Goodfellas, The Matrix, and Batman should have been a little higher. But, in the end, I don't really agree with a lot of their justifications; I think they are a lot of bullshit that are more based around making money than actual artistic reasoning. But, then again, this is also why I hate reading USA Today: it is a dumb paper that plays to the most basic of instincts. I'd like to see this list in a forum that I actually respect like, I don't know, Video Hits One's Best Week Ever or E! The Soup.

*This term "religious zealot" is relative; you have to believe that Scientology is an actual religion. I don't, so this is a relative term for me.