The ’Fellas

by robbiefreeling
October 25, 2005 3:57 AM
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Now, we don’t take this seriously, and we’re not hopping mad. And we’re not tickled pink. And we’re not even interested. But we are mildly amused by the fact that, as yahoo reports, the GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME has again been chosen. As if cinema appreciation 101 needed more evidence of being completely in the thrall of little lost boys and stunted male geekdom, here comes another one of those wretched “British magazines” (you know, the big thick mounds of magazine like Empire, with the kablam (!) red font and kapow (!!) photo placement you pick up at Barnes and Noble and thumb through for literally six seconds before tossing it back with a disinterested sigh after realizing that literally nothing registered in front of your eyes) to tell us that the “GREATEST FILM EVER MADE” is none other than….Goodfellas?

Though I admit to liking this film very much, even going so far as often singing the praises of its rabid quasimodoed cousin, Casino, and though none of us need to or will take this latest pointless LIST even remotely seriously, looking down the rest of the risible titles mentioned on this yahoo wire hanger-on is disheartening all the same . Dredging up bad memories of the AFI Disaster of 1998, it’s just another example of moviedom being monopolized and compartmentalized as a male-centric medium. Nothing revelatory here, but think about this. On the AFI List, a bevy of boy’s-life adventures and romanticism: Lawrence of Arabia (#5), The Graduate (#7), Bridge on the River Kwai (#13), Star Wars (#15), The African Queen (#17!!!!!), Treasure of the Sierra Madre (#30), High Noon (#33)….etc. etc. The case could be made for any and via any ideological avenue, yet can anyone truly make the claim that On the Waterfront is that much more important politically than Imitation of Life? Does Manchurian Candidate truly have more to say about social codes than Letter from an Unknown Woman? And, of course, if we think about it, besides the obvious direct influence on American narrative modes, should Goodfellas time and again be considered seminal while Scorsese’s own spectacular Age of Innocence gets nary a mention anywhere? Perusing this new list is even more disheartening....Fight Club makes a conspicuous bow at number 4, a few slots ahead of Tokyo Story, the placement of which makes you realize that some critics actually were involved in the process...all the more shocking. Then there's the usual Lord of the Rings and Star Wars bullshit, soon to be seen on TNT "The New Classics."

Poll or survey, critics or audiences, the ongoing listmaking represents the sad truth about the frat-like groupthink of popularized cinephilia. It’s reflected in every major release…Clooney’s efficient boys’ club Good Night, and Good Luck is acclaimed beyond all reason while the simultaneously released, overwhelmingly emotional yet equally technically rigorous women’s pic Nine Lives gets some polite nods. It’s not simply that melodrama isn’t respected as a genre, but that’s top 250 (where Shawshank Redemption is always perched at the top of the heap), AFI, and now this Goodfellas bronzing, wherever it may have come from, keep on co-opting film for the treehouse crowd. The occasional mention of Amelie, which you begrudgingly admitted had “cool shots….for a chick flick,” just doesn’t cut it, boys.


  • filmenthusiast2000 | October 27, 2005 6:51 AMReply

    To: Reverse Shot staffers
    Re: Quibbling needlessly over latest utterly irrelevant list-making excercise.

    STFU plz, thx.

  • les | October 27, 2005 2:53 AMReply

    Why dump on the AFI list as "boy centric" etc. AFI CEO JPF is not only a woman, but is also a woman's woman...

  • clarencecarter | October 26, 2005 8:59 AMReply

    And, as everyone knows, movies like The Wind Will Carry Us, Millenium Mambo, Werckmeister Harmonies, Vera Drake, etc. definitely don't belong in the same company as Spiderman 2....

  • robbiefreeling | October 26, 2005 8:25 AMReply

    American Splendor. Capturing the Friedmans. Spiderman 2. Dorktastic-- these jokes write themselves.

  • brotherfromanother | October 26, 2005 7:34 AMReply

    The good news: according to Stylus, The Son, which is one of my favorite movies, is very good indeed ("Bresson"-good, in fact). The harsh truth: isn't quite as good as In the Bedroom, which is better than all but two of the films made in the last five years. And I thought it was hooey. Geez. I've been way, way off base in my thinking. Thanks, Stylus.

  • eshman | October 26, 2005 5:00 AMReply

    You guys talk silly talk. These Stylists have it nailed: in twenty, thirty years, all else will fall away and film discussions will fixate on the unprecedented, spine-tinglingly joyous metatextuality of American Splendor. Actors playing nerds who watch the film Revenge of The Nerds and then mill about the studio with the *real* nerds. Clarence, who needs foreign films when all the bases are covered right here?

    And robbie, can you really dispute that drinking coffee and watching television are the same damn thing as putting a spike into your veins and double-ramming a dildo in public for a buck? I myself have been drinking too much Diet Coke lately - maybe I should look into electric shock therapy...

  • robbiefreeling | October 25, 2005 4:34 AMReply

    O Brother Where Art Thou and Almost Famous are two of the most self-serving idiocies of the decade. God, please don't let this decade be remembered as the Era of Aronofsky, Meirelles, and Cameron Crowe. We might as well shoot ourselves now. haha....and Ellen Burstyn's finger-in-an-electric-socket work in REQUIEM is remembered as one of the defining female roles so far this decade. Pray for us all.

  • clarencecarter | October 25, 2005 4:26 AMReply

    And on the other end of the spectrum, a fey, idiotic hipster list I noticed a few weeks ago:

    Nearly a solid quarter of this list is legitimately worthless (O BROTHER, ALMOST FAMOUS, CITY OF GOD, AMORES PERROS, REQUIEM FOR A FUCKING DREAM!!!), and the list, drawn up entirely by men, of course, gives off a certain whiff of "we're not so into subtitles and cultures we don't immediately recognize." A Top 50 films and only 11 of them aren't in English? You idiots need to get out more.