Blame me! I was invited to take part in the polling for the BBC's list of the 100 Best American Films and I dropped the ball and was scatterbrained and didn't turn my list in on time. I fucked up, and now we have a list of the 100 Best American Movies that contains absolutely zero Paul Thomas Anderson films but somehow has The Dark Knight listed. Film critics, you so wacky!
The list itself is fine, and the top 25 or so has a lot of the usual suspects (but not, thankfully, The Usual Suspects). It's at the bottom half where shit gets surreal, where Forrest Gump a) makes the list and b) beats Raiders of the Lost Ark, where Heaven's Gate appears but there's no The Deer Hunter. Gone With The Wind languishes right at the end of the list, and The 25th Hour beats Duck Soup by one spot. Some entries are cool - Killer of Sheep at 26! Five Billy Wilders! - and some surprising - Meshes of the Afternoon, a 14 minute experimental short film?!?
It's the exclusions that get me - how is Boogie Nights or There Will Be Blood not on this? How did the Coens get left off? Hell, how did David Fincher not find a place? I hate to keep harping on The Dark Knight but for real, almost any Coen Brothers movie deserves to be here before The Dark Knight. And having The Dark Knight but not having any Michael Mann is sort of like the most ass-backward thing possible.
That is, of course, the nature of polls. You get unexpected results and a lot of good discussion. That's half the fun.
Here's the top 25. For the complete 100, visit the BBC.
25. Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989)
24. The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)
23. Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)
22. Greed (Erich von Stroheim, 1924)
21. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)
20. Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese, 1990)
19. Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)
18. City Lights (Charlie Chaplin, 1931)
17. The Gold Rush (Charlie Chaplin, 1925)
16. McCabe & Mrs Miller (Robert Altman, 1971)
15. The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler, 1946)
14. Nashville (Robert Altman, 1975)
13. North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)
12. Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974)
11. The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942)
10. The Godfather Part II (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)
9. Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)
8. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
7. Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1952)
6. Sunrise (FW Murnau, 1927)
5. The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)
4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
3. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
2. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)
1. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)