Well, I know what I'll be doing tonight! The American Film Institute is announcing its new "100 Years...100 Movies" list this evening, and as much as I tend to disagree with their annual lists, I can't wait. The special airs at 8PM on CBS, and will be hosted by...you guessed it, Morgan Freeman. Yes, they already did this list once before, in 1998. Tonight's special marks the 10th anniversary, and there was an entirely new vote conducted this time out. The previous list caused quite a controversy because of what it included (British films on an American list?) and what it left off, specifically films by black or female directors (the snub of Do the Right Thing still stings). 1998's top ten were as follows: 10) Singin' in the Rain, 9) Schindler's List, 8) On the Waterfront, 7) The Graduate, 6) The Wizard of Oz, 5) Lawrence of Arabia, 4) Gone with the Wind, 3) The Godfather, 2) Casablanca, 1) Citizen Kane. It's hard to imagine tonight's top ten list will change drastically, although I'd expect Schindler's List to drop a few spots.
As limited in scope as these lists can be, I eagerly look forward to every one. I can recall excitedly printing out the 1998 list and seeking out the few I hadn't seen. The lil' film fans of today need this sort of thing to know where to start with an appreciation of American film. The AFI intends to "refresh" the list once a decade -- 43 newer movies are in contention this time that weren't last time around, including The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Finding Nemo, L.A. Confidential, Fight Club, Spider-Man 2, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Brokeback Mountain, Chicago (Oh please), Crash (Oh please!), and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Oh, puh-leeeeease!!!). Over at AFI.com, you can watch videos of stars talking about their favorite movies, as well as download a ballot for yourself, select your favorite 100, and see how well you match up tonight.