I may not have mentioned this before, but I am a member of the American Film Institute. You know those Lifetime Achievement ceremonies given to some superstar actor or director? And those occasional top 100 lists of the greatest movie lines or heroes or songs? Well, the people who vote for that are my peeps.
Joining AFI came about as a favor to Courtney over at From Here to Maternity, who needed to access the organization's database for a few silent films as part of her academic research. But it's turned out pretty well for me, too. With membership comes not only database access but quarterly newsletters and a subscription to Premiere. Best of all: I get a membership card, which works wonders when I try to pick up women.
While the AFI has not yet asked for my input for any Lifetime Achievers -- certainly, I would have suggested Billy Dee Williams before Sir Sean Connery, their newest inductee -- I did get an e-mail today inviting me to pare down a pre-selected list of 300 films into the 100 most inspiring of all time. This is for next year's televised presentation of 100 Years... 100 Cheers.
So I voted. I thought the list was a bit heavy on Russell Crowe movies, and I hardly find that guy inspiring. I exerted a distinct bias toward more recent films, but steered clear of heavy-handed Spielberg fare like Saving Private Ryan, Amistad, and Schindler's List, which I'm sure have their inspiring moments but don't exactly bring a smile to your face. I also found that I have a soft spot for sports-themed films, which tend to excel in telling uplifting stories about unlikely competitors.
Once I finished the online survey I got this confirmation screen, which I found curious (click to enlarge):
And I thought there were no wrong answers. Apparently, the AFI can quantify how different my tastes are. But I don't care; I'm sure those other 58 were too emotionally manipulative to enjoy.