What do these three films have in common? Besides possible guest appearances by Clint Howard? (I'd have to see them again to be sure...) They're all featured in the "Top 5 Movies of All Time List" in the New York Press's baffling The Film Issue, out this week. Of course, there's nothing wrong with the layman's approach to criticism (delineated in Jim Knipfel's largely pointless reminiscence about not being hired as a film critic for....the New York Press), and man-on-the-street "what's your favorite flick?" surveys can be fun, but in the days of imdb and Yahoo Movies et al., where we're all one click away from some drooling moron saying: "Vertigo is BORING! I liked the original...when it was called TWELVE MONKEYS!" or "Re: The New World? I want my money back!", why splash more Opinions from Guys Who Like Movies That Show Weekly on TNT all over a New York print alt-weekly? Or as Gary Indiana now famously called it to Armond White's face (oh wait, no, it was passive-aggressively, in an email slapfight): fishwrap.
In case you were wondering who these everydude movie junkies are, well, it seems to just be a list of the Press editors' buddies...or perhaps also-rans from the Press's annual 50 Most Loathesome New Yorkers spittle-fest (If we keep bashing you, Press, can WE get ON that list?). Hmmm...sculptor George Higham thinks that the 5 greatest movies of all time are Moulin Rouge, Die Hard, Seven, The City of Lost Children, and The Pirates of the Caribbean. Now, I'm not asking for Beau travail to top everyone's list, but a little bit of snottiness is in order when not only are your favorite films cribbed from the imdb top 100 (where is The Shawshank Redemption???!?!?!) but that the old-timey classic on your list is 1988's Die Hard....I remember seeing a REALLY good, but kinda faded, print of it at the Film Forum a couple years back...but ah, it's a distant memory now. "Comedian" Robert Kelly takes the time to sing the praises of The Crow and True Romance, while R&B singer Mario cites Wedding Crashers as his #1. (Troy and Harlem Nights also made the cut.)
Rounding out the Press's forehead-crinkling Film Issue are a bunch of summer retro recommendations in which everyone's favorite self-proclaimed non-critic urges you to get theeself to the Kubrick fest at Museum of the Moving Image. Of course he can't help but take a dig: How dare the Museum sully the purity of its Kubrick lovefest by allowing hacks like Ophuls and Spielberg into the mix?! FYI, in a rather inspired sidebar, the Museum is showing Max Ophuls's Schnitzler-based La Ronde and Spielberg's Kubrick epitaph A.I. Artificial Intelligence to accompany the usual Full Metal Jacket and Clockwork Orange offerings. Nevermind that La Ronde and A.I. are far better films than half of what Kubrick was able to make in his lifetime...But, I mean, as Knipfel points out himself, he knows nothing about film.