(Page 2 of 2)
Apocalypse Now — Also known as “Apoplexy Now.” A totally incoherent movie. If this one is, as advertised, a remake of Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad’s estate should sue. Coppola should switch to decaf.
Bonnie and Clyde — Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs lend some great banjo music to a pointless celebration of two incompetent, homicidal sociopaths with machine guns.
The Graduate — Ben Braddock is not jut a moron, he’s a pluperfect moron. Mrs. Robinson is supposed to be one of the heavies. But at least she knows what she wants to do with her time.
Easy Rider — Fonda and Nicholson ride around and smoke dope to no purpose. Dennis Hopper does his twitchy, dirt-bag shtick. (He’s very good at this — hardly seems to be acting at all.) At least the movie has a happy ending.
The Deer Hunter — Another incoherent movie about Vietnam. Or at least the Vietnam phantasms of a bunch of New York/L.A. film drones who’ve never been closer to the military than an Independence Day parade.
The Grapes of Wrath — Really more of a political pamphlet than either a movie or a novel. It’s hard to imagine how an adult could watch or read either one.
Platoon — Wherein we learn that every G.I. who served in Vietnam was a drug-crazed, homicidal maniac.
Goodfellas — A waste of time and celluloid, as most already knew that gangsters say m—————r. A lot.
The Shawshank Redemption — At least this movie establishes beyond doubt that Morgan Freeman has star quality. Otherwise it just makes heroes out of a bunch of crooks.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? — Should have been called, “Who Gives a Rat’s Patootie About Virginia Woolf?” Or about Liz and Burt, come to that.
Sophie’s Choice — Choose something else.
I COULD GO ON, but you get the idea. It’s a peculiar list, taken all around, demonstrating how peculiar film types have become. Hard to imagine the same person having a high regard for Casablanca and The Bridge Over the River Kwai while also grooving on The Deer Hunter” and The Graduate. Clearly two very different world views animate these very different movies. Casablanca is a favorite of normal people. While Citizen Kane and the gloomy, post-everything stuff seems to be esteemed by film majors and various other humbugs.
It’s nice that AFI types honor Casablanca. But it seems unlikely that in a Hollywood populated by AFI graduates a movie like Casablanca could be made today. In Casablanca 2007, the themes of patriotism and sacrifice would doubtless be replaced by smarmy sermonettes on racism, multiculturalism, and the futility of war. Sydney Greenstreet’s role would be played by a cross-dresser.
I’m working on my list of the 100 biggest humbug organizations. Don’t be surprised to run across AFI somewhere near the top.