Mr. Movie

Entertainment Weekly ranks its 'new classics'

Every year, the American Film Institute publishes a top 100 movies of all time.

Most are older than dirt and the treasured few in the top 10 pretty much remain the same year in and year out. Citizen Kane is always the No. 1 movie of all time.

Once in awhile AFI will slide a new flick onto the 100 list but not often enough. I don’t know about you but I’m bored with the whole thing. Entertainment Weekly is obviously bored, too, and the magazine did something I didn’t do. They acted.

The July issue focused on what EW calls the “new” classics. These are films from the last 25 years. Though I don’t agree with the entire list, it is a focal point where we can start a discussion.

Below is their top 10. I added my comments to their picks. You can get the magazine if you want to read theirs.

Films I’d rather see in the top 10 follow. Then, I comment on films that are missing. Following that is EW’s entire list.

Let’s dialogue on this one. The subject of favorites is varied and fascinating.

Just going through the Oscar best picture lists for the last 25 years you can see other good films that were left out and that will help crank up the debate:

1. Pulp Fiction — Quentin Tarantino turned pulp fiction into pulp movies and introduced a concept that has been copied ad nauseam. It is violent and disgusting and has dialogue and situations unheard of before 1994. Outrageous and original, EW gets no argument here.

2. The Lord of the Ring trilogy — Again, no argument. The ultimate in fantasy films with a special effects and character style that will be copied for decades. For five years, Peter Jackson’s name generated a hushed reverence among those who love movies. We were in awe of his three films. All the Oscars from year three’s The Return of the King are deserved.

3. Titanic— James Cameron’s ice-water-in-his-veins gamble paid off. The one film in Entertainment Weekly’s top-10 list that fits the classic AFI classic movie mold. Titanic had it all — a throwback to the old days hero, an independent heroine, a world-class villain and stunning sets and effects.

This is where EW’s list gets iffy.

4. Blue Velvet — Picking this as No. 4 makes about as much sense as a David Lynch movie. Those familiar with Lynch’s creations will find that funny as well as correct. Though I love the movie, it wouldn’t be on my top 10.

The EW No. 5 pick isn’t bad. I wouldn’t put it in the top 10 but you can argue that Toy Story did put Pixar on the map

5. Toy Story — Yes, being the first entirely computer-generated animated feature is extraordinary. Even more remarkable is the film’s terrific script, child-like sense of humor, and the animated vocal efforts of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and the rest of a stellar cast rocked.

6. Saving Private Ryan — Good pick. In fact, it could easily be higher on the list. Steven Spielberg’s D-Day landing scenes are the most intense and inventive battle sequences ever done. Normally when movies end, the chatter starts and the cell phones light up. I’ve been to funerals that are noisier when people got up to leave. The stunned silence said it all. And this is the performance that should have netted Tom Hanks an Oscar, not Forrest Gump. In fact, it may be the best Hanks ever.

EW takes another left turn here.

7. Hannah and Her Sisters—I love Woody Allen movies, and this pick could be interchanged with three or four other Allen classics. There is no doubt about Allen’s ability to create rich, complicated characters and to turn common problems into extraordinary explanations of life’s deepest mysteries. Those skills make him the best screenwriter of his generation. Hannah wouldn’t be in my top 10, but I can certainly understand how it got there.

8. The Silence of the Lambs—The only film on the entire list that competes with Pulp Fiction for a legitimate shot at No. 1. No villain in movie history measures up to Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter. And Jonathan Demme’s ramps the tension level up to heart attack territory and keeps it there.

9. Die Hard—The granddaddy of the current crop of big-budget action flicks is also the most fun of the Die Hard movies and maybe the most fun of any action flick in the last 25 years. Maybe. One thing is clear no one—not even Bruce Willis—has been able to duplicate its success.

The last number in the top 10 is the biggest head-scratcher of all.

10. Moulin Rouge—huh? Clever. Funny. Yes. But a top-tenner? Nope. Writer/director Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom from 1992 is a better movie and if you have to pick a Luhrmann movie, it makes more sense than Moulin Rouge.

I’d stick The Matrix and GoodFellas in the top 10 for sure. And would be tempted to put Schindler’s List and Fargo there, too. There is even an outside argument for putting The Sixth Sense into the top-10.

There are also some glaring omissions. The most notable is The English Patient. I wouldn’t have included it either but this is the kind of movie these publications go ga-ga over. Also not on the list: Braveheart, Forrest Gump, and Philadelphia.

I’m also disappointed to not see Jurassic Park and Independence Day. Or Monster’s Inc.

Outside of A Room with a View there aren’t too many artsy-fartsy films.

Just going through the Oscar best picture lists for the last 25 years you can see other good films that were left out and that will help crank up the debate:

The Big Chill

The Right Stuff

Terms of Endearment


Prizzi’s Honor

Dangerous Liaisons

Working Girl

Born on the Fourth of July

Dead Poets Society

Field of Dreams

My Left Foot

Dances with Wolves



The Prince of Tides

The Crying Game

Scent of a Woman

The Shawshank Redemption


As Good as it Gets

Good Will Hunting

Life is Beautiful

Shakespeare in Love

American Beauty

Erin Brockovich


The Gangs of New York

Mystic River


Million Dollar Baby


The Queen

Some of these definitely belong in a list of new classics. What do you think?

And I also really loved Charlie Kaufman’s screenplay for Adaptation. I could keep going, but you get the gist.

What else do you think is missing? What would you subtract? And give me your own top 10s.

For a reference point, here is the rest of Entertainment Weekly’s list:

11. This is Spinal Tap

12. The Matrix

13. GoodFellas

14. Crumb

15. Edward Scissorhands

16. Boogie Nights

17. Jerry Maguire

18. Do the Right Thing

19. Casino Royale

20. The Lion King

21. Schindler’s List

22. Rushmore

23. Memento

24. A Room with a View

25. Shrek

26. Hoop Dreams

27. Aliens

28. Wings of Desire

29. The Bourne Supremacy

30. When Harry Met Sally

31. Brokeback Mountain

32. Fight Club

33. The Breakfast Club

34. Fargo

35. The Incredibles

36. Spider-Man 2

37. Pretty Woman

38. Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind

39. The Sixth Sense

40. Speed

41. Dazed and Confused

42. Clueless

43. Gladiator

44. The Player

45. Rain Man

46. Children of Men

47. Men in Black

48. Scarface

49. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

50. The Piano

51. There Will be Blood

52. The Naked Gun: From the Files of the Police Squad

53. The Truman Show

54. Fatal Attraction

55. Risky Business

56. The Lives of Others

57. There’s Something about Mary

58. Ghostbusters

59. L.A. Confidential

60. Scream

61. Beverly Hills Cop

62. Sex, Lies and Videotape

63. Big

64. No Country for Old Men

65. Dirty Dancing

66. Natural Born Killers

67. Donnie Brasco

68. Witness

69. All About My Mother

70. Broadcast News

71. Unforgiven

72. Thelma & Louise

73. Office Space

74. Drugstore Cowboy

75. Out of Africa

76. The Departed

77. Sid and Nancy

78. Terminator 2: Judgment Day

79. Waiting for Guffman

80. Michael Clayton

81. Moonstruck

82. Lost in Translation

83. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn

84. Sideways

85. The 40-Year Old Virgin

86. Y Tu Mama Tambien

87. Swingers

88. Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

89. Breaking the Waves

90. Napoleon Dynamite

91. Back to the Future

92. Menace II Society

93. Ed Wood

94. Full Metal Jacket

95. In the Mood for Love

96. Far from Heaven

97. Glory

98. The Talented Mr. Ripley

99. The Blair Witch Project

100. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut