The boys over at Battleship Pretension have posted the listener-generated list of the top 100 movies of all time (well, minus the top ten, which they’ll be announcing next week on the show I think). I like the list, except for two inexcusable exclusions. The first is The Maltese Falcon. If Memento is on the list, then this should be. Okay, the story is not deep, the style is not revolutionary, the themes (if there are any) do not tap into some zeitgeist. But the characters are archetypal for the genre of film noir, the cast, acting, and dialogue are superb, the story is tight, not a moment of it is boring, and when I thing of tough-guy private detectives I inevitably think of Bogey as Sam Spade. Come on, people! The kicker is that I voted for this list, and I left it out, too. You could only pick 10 films, and I was trying to be objective, and so I picked Casablanca (which much of the same cast). Big mistake, apparently. I wonder how many other voters had it at number eleven.
The second exclusion is Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, which I did in fact vote for. It’s cold, it has no human characters, really, and the ending is still pretty bewildering. But this movie revolutionized what movies could be about, what they could say and how they could say them. The thing is, no other film has really gone down the trail blazed by Kubrick and co-writer Arthur C. Clarke, least of all any science fiction film.
On the show they also lament the presence of any documentaries. I forgot to include any in my voting, but let me now suggest Terry Zwigoff’s Crumb, Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man, and almost anything by Errol Morris, but especially The Fog of War.