Brazil facelift sceneI dislike the American Film Institute (AFI) Top 100 lists, starting back with their first list of 100 top American movies, which was predictably topped by Citizen Kane and didn't include Brazil. (One might argue that Brazil is not a U.S. film, but it has appeared on subsequent AFI lists, so go figure.) At least that was a list with a sensible theme. Over the years, the AFI lists have become sillier and sillier. They're centered around TV specials, so nothing controversial or disturbing is ever included.

This time, the AFI has announced that it is compiling a list of "inspiring" and "uplifting" films because we Americans need such a list after various national tragedies in the past few years. The list's name is especially cheesy this time: "100 Years, 100 Cheers." The AFI sent a list of 300 nominations to its jury of filmmakers and critics, who will whittle the list down to its traditional top 100.

The AFI hasn't yet published all 300 nominations, but many of the films listed in its press release sound sappy, formulaic, and unworthy of distinction to me: Seabiscuit, Dead Poets Society, and Rain Man among them. All very safe for TV. The edgiest, most controversial movie is probably The Passion of the Christ, which doesn't strike me as being all that uplifting. We all know that It's a Wonderful Life will top the list, anyway.

Admittedly I would be a terrible jurist for this list; my idea of an inspiring movie is, well, Brazil. If I were feeling sentimental I might add Matilda, Ed Wood, Holiday, and Baaadassss! My boyfriend suggested Kinsey, which is quite inspiring if you're a geek type.

Kinsey makes me think ... I wish the AFI would compile a different kind of "uplifting movie" list. Wouldn't you rather see a lavish TV special on the top 100 sexual turn-on scenes in Hollywood films? At least we'd be spared Seabiscuit.
categories Awards, Cinematical