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 imdb.com’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.