Earlier this year I participated in a poll of film critics, enthusiasts and experts to find the 50 greatest films of all time. The results were worthy, of course, and anyone should be proud to have seen or own such a collection of 50 films. But the results were also fairly predictable, and were just about the same as every other film poll, complete with Citizen Kane topping the list. So the listmaster, Iain Stott, came up with a better idea. He invited everyone to participate in another poll, a "Beyond the canon" poll. This time he gave us a list of 300 films that were considered the "canon" films, or the accepted classics. Our job was to vote for up to 100 great or favorite films that did not appear on this list. The final list of 100 posted this week, and it's a great deal more interesting.
First and foremost was a huge surprise in the #1 slot, a film that I thought only I liked: Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. But this proves something that has been true of all of Kubrick's films of the past 40 years. They are never appreciated in their own time. Ten years later, Eyes Wide Shut appears to have a great many more admirers than when it first opened. Happily, Kubrick also appeared at #3 on the list, with his early, low-budget crime film The Killing (1956). David Lynch's Mulholland Drive appeared at #2, though I expect it will place very well in the upcoming "best of the decade" polls and will never again be "beyond the canon." (Incidentally, Lynch was even nominated for a Best Director Oscar for the film.) Also in the top ten, we have two more fairly recent movies that will no doubt earn some classic status very soon, Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) at #4 and Wong Kar-wai's In the Mood for Love (2000) at #6.

Alfred Hitchcock comes in at #5. My personal vote was for his autumn-colored black comedy The Trouble with Harry (1955), but Hitch's own personal favorite Shadow of a Doubt (1943), killer uncle Charlie laying low in suburbia. Hitchcock also placed on the top 100 with Marnie (1964), The 39 Steps (1935) and Rope (1948). The rest of the top ten continues to get interesting, with Terrence Malick's poetic war film The Thin Red Line (1998) coming in at #7, Monte Hellman's existential road movie Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) at #8, Orson Welles' late-career, mind-bending documentary F for Fake (1973) at #9 and Samuel Fuller's anti-Communist film noir Pickup on South Street (1953) at #10. The list continues to reveal all kinds of gems and wonderful films, but given just the top ten, anyone should be proud to have seen or own such a collection.
categories Cinematical