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February 19, 2024

Greatest Movies of the Century? Yes, and Emphatically No

By Bernie Pilarski

Since it is the time of year for such things, the BBC published a list of the 100 greatest American films of the 21st Century as picked by 177 professional film critics from around the world. These were the movies made from the year 2000 until now. Just for the heck of it, you might want to take a look at the list to see if you agree or not. One of things I looked at the list for was to see how many of the films I actually saw, and I was a little amazed at how few that was. I had seen:

Moonrise Kingdom, #95 on the list
Ratatouille #93
A.I. Artificial Intelligence #83
Zero Dark Thirty #57
Moulin Rouge! #53
Inception #51
Brooklyn #48
12 Years a Slave #44
Inside Out #41
Dark Knight #33
WALL-E #29
The Grand Budapest Hotel #20
Mad Max: Fury Road #19

Thirteen. In the past seventeen years, I've seen only thirteen of the 100 greatest American films. I liked a lot of those films, nine to be precise, although I wouldn't necessarily agree that they were among "the greatest." Brooklyn, for instance, the story of a young Irish immigrant girl in 1950's Brooklyn, was sweet tale, well done and entertaining, but I don't think was one of the greats. The two Wes Anderson movies -- Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel -- are movies that I liked a lot, but are very quirky. They are kind of like watching old home movies of the play your kids wrote and performed, but they were really, really talented kids.

Inside Out deserves to be on the list, but maybe higher up, probably above WALL-E, while Ratatouille is good, but not necessarily "greatest" quality. Zero Dark Thirty was a really good movie, but it shouldn't be on the list. It sold itself as the story of the killing of Osama bin Laden, and yet it was based on totally fictional characters -- definitely not on my list. 12 Years a Slave is another questionable choice -- great story, lousy movie.

Mad Max: Fury Road? Okay, this is where I have a break with reality. Concerning its popularity and critical acclaim when it first came out, I wrote in my review, "I haven't been as shocked and confused about what Americans think since the re-election of George W..." I thought it was a loud, ugly, pointless film and still do. But the world being what it is, I can now be shocked and confused about what the British think.

The number one greatest film according to this BBC article, by the way, was Mulholland Drive. I never saw it, so I can't comment, other than to say I will make it a point to watch it. I hope it's a really good movie, and does not for me become, like Mad Max, a Bizarro World Arts Council award winner.

Do you have a candidate for the greatest films of the 21st Century? Go to the comments link below and let me know.

Article © Bernie Pilarski. All rights reserved.
Published on 2017-01-02
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