For some reason, Sight and Sound didn’t ask me to contribute to their once-a-decade Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time survey. Perhaps it’s because I have no real qualifications as a film reviewer or director (being neither a film reviewer or director). Still, I forgive them. So, in case anyone was interested, here is my list of the ten best films of all time.
- Stalker (Tarkovsky, 1979)
- Idiocracy (Judge, 2006)
- Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)
- The Battle of Algiers (Pontecorvo, 1967)
- Ikiru (Kurosawa, 1952)
- Come and See (Klimov, 1985)
- Aguirre, the Wrath of God (Herzog, 1977)
- Children of Men (Cuaron, 2006)
- The Life Aquatic with Steve Zizzou (Anderson, 2004)
- Andrei Rublev (Tarkovsky, 1966)
Too recent to be added but one I’m keeping my eye on: Moonrise Kingdom (Anderson, 2012)
A few thoughts about the list:
- Critics and people who vote for awards treat comedies like crap, even though comedies are much, much harder to pull off. I think people also don’t hand out awards to comedies because there is a perceived lack of “seriousness” to a film whose goal is to make people laugh. But that’s just stupid. Idiocracy is one of the bravest films ever made–a scathing critique of popular culture in America, far more serious and thought-provoking than almost every Oscar winning film from the last twenty years (and I include Schindler’s List).
- TV is today far more powerful a medium than film. The best TV show of all time, The Wire, is better than every film on this list (as are Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Firefly, Louie, The Venture Bros., Community, Parks & Recreation, 30 Rock and a few others). TV has the time to tell a great and complex story that film doesn’t, there’s almost no technical difference anymore between making TV and making film (same people routinely do both, and equipment is mostly the same), and (thanks to cable channels like HBO, Adult Swim, and FX) shows that would never have been given a green light in the past are now not only given a chance but given the time to develop an audience (if Joss Whedon had put Firefly on HBO, we’d still be watching it).
Bonus: 3 WORST films of all time (that I’ve seen, anyways)
- Hiroshima, Mon Amour
- Mission: Impossible 2