Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Cahiers du Cinema's Top 10 Movies of 2014: 'Goodbye to Language,' 'Under the Skin,' 'Love Is Strange' Cahiers du Cinema's Top 10 Movies of 2014: 'Goodbye to Language,' 'Under the Skin,' 'Love Is Strange' Daily Reads: The Epic Uncool of Philip Seymour Hoffman's Career, How Scarlett Johansson Subverts Her Good Looks and More Daily Reads: The Epic Uncool of Philip Seymour Hoffman's Career, How Scarlett Johansson Subverts Her Good Looks and More 'The End of the Tour' Sundance Reviews: Jason Segel Impresses as David Foster Wallace 'The End of the Tour' Sundance Reviews: Jason Segel Impresses as David Foster Wallace Why the Unanimous Praise for 'Boyhood' Is Bad for Film Criticism — and for 'Boyhood' Why the Unanimous Praise for 'Boyhood' Is Bad for Film Criticism — and for 'Boyhood' 'Girls' Outrage Tracker: Season 4, Episode 1, 'Iowa' 'Girls' Outrage Tracker: Season 4, Episode 1, 'Iowa' Now Streaming: 'The Interview' and Other Movies That Didn't Get Us Threatened Now Streaming: 'The Interview' and Other Movies That Didn't Get Us Threatened 'Strange Magic' Reviews: Yup, That's Late Period George Lucas, All Right 'Strange Magic' Reviews: Yup, That's Late Period George Lucas, All Right 'Going Clear' Sundance Reviews: A Scorching Takedown of Scientology 'Going Clear' Sundance Reviews: A Scorching Takedown of Scientology Not at Sundance? Watch 14 Festival Films Via Sundance's #ArtistServices Not at Sundance? Watch 14 Festival Films Via Sundance's #ArtistServices David Bordwell Shows How Aspect Ratios Matter David Bordwell Shows How Aspect Ratios Matter Love or Hate 'American Sniper,' We're Brought Together By Its Bad Fake Baby Love or Hate 'American Sniper,' We're Brought Together By Its Bad Fake Baby 'Girls' Outrage Tracker: Season 4, Episode 2, 'Triggering' 'Girls' Outrage Tracker: Season 4, Episode 2, 'Triggering' The Scrambled Sexuality of 'Frozen's "Let It Go" The Scrambled Sexuality of 'Frozen's "Let It Go" Meet the Indiewire | Sundance Institute Ebert Film Criticism Fellows, 2015 Meet the Indiewire | Sundance Institute Ebert Film Criticism Fellows, 2015 Daily Reads: Movie Monsters That Look Like Genitalia, Why It Feels Like There's Too Much TV and More Daily Reads: Movie Monsters That Look Like Genitalia, Why It Feels Like There's Too Much TV and More 'Disney Deaths' and 'Big Hero 6': How Children's Stories Process Loss 'Disney Deaths' and 'Big Hero 6': How Children's Stories Process Loss 'Dope' Sundance Reviews: A Smart, High-Energy Comedy 'Dope' Sundance Reviews: A Smart, High-Energy Comedy How Kids Change the Way Critics Watch Movies, Why It's Hard to Fight for Gender Equality in Hollywood and More How Kids Change the Way Critics Watch Movies, Why It's Hard to Fight for Gender Equality in Hollywood and More 'Z for Zachariah' Sundance Reviews: M for Mixed 'Z for Zachariah' Sundance Reviews: M for Mixed First Reviews of Johnny Depp's 'Mortdecai': Scraping Bottom With a Waxed Moustache First Reviews of Johnny Depp's 'Mortdecai': Scraping Bottom With a Waxed Moustache

The Insidious Dullness of 'Hollywood's 100 Favorite Films'

Photo of Sam Adams By Sam Adams | Criticwire June 25, 2014 at 1:55PM

An entertainment industry poll of favorite films reveals predictable choices, and a near-total lack of interest in movies that aren't made by, and largely about, white men.
26
Al Pacino in "The Godfather," #1 on the list of "Hollywood's 100 Favorite Films"
Al Pacino in "The Godfather," #1 on the list of "Hollywood's 100 Favorite Films"

The Hollywood Reporter asked a group of "studio chiefs, Oscar winners, and TV royalty" to pick the 100 greatest films ever made. What happened next will surprise you—if you harbor any illusions that the industry is interested in anything other than English-language stories made by, and largely about, white men.

The results of any poll boil down to conventional wisdom: Once you go above half a dozen or so participants, the idiosyncrasies of individual taste drop out and you're left with blandness that increases proportionally with sample size. But even so, the results are astonishing in their failure to astonish. Next to this group, the American Film Institute's notoriously vanilla lists of top movies look like the work of an obscurantist film blogger.

Let's run a few numbers. According to the Reporter's version of the entertainment industry's 100 favorite films comprise:

  • One film by a female director.
  • Two films by a non-white director.
  • Zero documentaries (h/t Tim Horsburgh)
  • Three films in a language other than English. (Four if you count "Slumdog Millionaire" or "The Godfather: Part 2."
  • Five films released before 1950
  • 15 movies released in or after 2000.


Consider those last two figures for a moment. According to them, three times as many great movies have been made in the last 14 years than in the first half-century of cinema's existence. How fortunate we are to be living in this purported golden age!

Equally alarming is the pathetic showing of films directed by or about people of color, or directed by women. Female protagonists are trickier to count—does "Casablanca" count, or "The Breakfast Club"?—but the number is, generously, around one quarter of the total. Is it any wonder that, as Melissa Silverstein recently pointed out at Women and Hollywood, less than five percent of the studio films made during the last five years have female directors? (Silver lining: That's more than their one percent representation on the list.)

Lists are boring by nature, but this one is insidiously dull, revealing a pronounced lack of interest in anything but the same kind of stories Hollywood has always told from the people who, in theory, are in a position to change that.


E-Mail Updates