As reported by Angry Pregnant Lawyer, CBS aired "100 Years... 100 Cheers" Wednesday night. Members of the American Film Institute are given a list of 300 films and choose the ones they find the most inspirational. The 100 highest vote getters comprise the heavily hyped but ultimately meaningless list. You can find the complete list here, but the top ten are:
1. It's a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946)
2. To Kill a Mockingbird (Robert Mulligan, 1962)
3. Schindler's List (Steven Spielberg, 1993)
4. Rocky (John G. Avildsen, 1976)
5. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Frank Capra, 1939)
6. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (Steven Spielberg, 1982)
7. The Grapes of Wrath (John Ford, 1940)
8. Breaking Away (Peter Yates, 1979)
9. Miracle on 34th Street (George Seaton, 1947)
10. Saving Private Ryan (Steven Spielberg, 1998)
And the Spielberg bias rears its ugly head. I'll let E.T. slide, but Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan? Seriously? Great movies, but not overwhelmingly inspirational. I guess I should feel silly if the two-plus hours of dark moments stuck with me. These so-called experts can't seem to follow directions. I hate that.
Why should I care? Long-time readers will remember that I belong to the American Film Institute, and I cast my votes late last year. Some of my choices made the cut -- eventually -- but my main complaint is that this list looks like any other list of 100 films. Also? No Speed. That film gets me out of a funk every time, and it wasn't even among the 300 choices.
The silver lining is that the AFI was as excited by Russell Crowe as your average hotel clerk, waiting until #93 to decide, "Oh yeah, we're supposed to like A Beautiful Mind." Whatever.
Put me in charge of Hollywood and you'll see a different list. And more Indian people.