I imagine this is how the conversation went at the American Film Institute a few months ago. Picture a bunch of film critics and academics hanging out in the Smart Guy Lounge, nursing their remote control-induced tendonitis and comparing Criterion Collections.
"Hey, you know what we haven't done since 1998?"
"Compile a list of the 100 Best Movies of the last 100 years?"
And then they took all of the film titles from the 1998 list, put them in their commemorative Charlie Chaplin bowler hat, jumbled them around, tossed them in the air, then had an underpaid TA type up whatever fell behind the sofa.
I'm convinced this is how the "AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies -- 10th Anniversary Edition" came to be. What other reason could there be for yet another list of the 100 best movies from the EXACT SAME GROUP...give or take a few scholarly types?
I wouldn't normally feel hostile about a list of movies except they put Citizen Kane at the top again. Why, in the name of Gene Siskel, do they keep doing that? Does it absolutely earn a spot in the top ten? Sure, I'm all for it. But number one, over and over and over again on every list ever made in the history of mankind? At this rate, it's happened so often I wouldn't be surprised to hear it was the original first commandment. Yes, it's a great movie but surely there must be something else out there to give it a run for its money, right? Right? Maybe something French and obscure? Or old and obscure? Or something from Scorsese to make up for his one measly Oscar? At this point, if it's anything short of a Corey Feldman movie, I'm ready to consider it.
Here's the list itself (it's a download) if you want to try to find your own new best picture nominee for the next time they do the list...which at this rate will likely be next month.