Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Did you say something?


The American Film Institute has released a list of the top hundred movie quotations (or 'quotes' as they refer to them - sigh...).

It's easy to knock such events. It's easy to pick out 'obvious' things that 'should' have been included (why was there no room for Samuel L Jackson's contributions in Pulp Fiction? - of the several candidates, my personal favourite is "this is a tasty burger!" but I imagine most would go for his quotation from Ezekiel, or possibly "I'm gonna get medieval on your ass" - anyway, take your pick from here).

In the end, though, such exercises merely extend the pointlessness of polls, awards, and any attempt to try and categorise art (and cinema is an art) in order of merit, when it's the subjectivity of the experience, the attitudes brought by the viewer and the viewer's perception of the experience, which is the essential element - and that's something that can't be reproduced in a situation like this. But perhaps it's reflective of our need to know who's the best, our need to agree or disagree with someone else's opinion, our need for guidance in our own choices which is most exposed by the vogue for Top Tens and Best Ofs. As another famous movie quotation (also not on the list) goes: "There can only be one winner, folks, but isn't that the American way?" (from They Shoot Horses, Don't They?).

I have a list of favourite films and a list of what I consider to be the best films from each decade. There's a lot of overlap, but also a lot of distinction (no one would claim that the Marx Brothers' Monkey Business was a great film, but I find it hysterical). My list of quotations would be quite different, but that only illustrates the point that movie history is too big to squeeze into the tiny Hollywood box (notice, for example, that none of the quotations is from a film not in English).

Still, things like this do no harm, perhaps, and help to fill up column spaces in newspapers, magazines and ... er... blogs...

UPDATE: Paul Hamilos in the Grauniad also finds the list rather odd.


Blogger Kay Ballard said...

Are you being coy here? Must we beg to see your list? If so, consider it done!

4:46 pm  
Blogger Oscar Wildebeest said...

Oh, God, I hadn't anticipated that, I'm going to have to think of one, now... ;)

10:56 am  

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