Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

AFI Recap: #21 – #30

21. The Grapes of Wrath (1940) – This is the ultimate American story about the great depression.  It is well directed and has some real moments of gold.  But for all that it can be quite dull and dreary.


22. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – A true masterpiece, yet I still find it a hard movie to recommend.  Why?  Because its such an unconventional movie that it can turn a lot of people off.  Yet there are those who see it for the genius work it is: a feast for the senses as well as the imagination and the psyche.  starstarstarstarstar

23. The Maltese Falcon (1941) – It is the prototype of  Hollywood film noir and provides a lot of  iconic imagery.  Bogart sets a standard for movie detectives, and though the plot is not quite as intricate as one would hope for, it still provides some solid entertainment. star starstarstarnostar

24. Raging Bull (1980) – I don’t get it.  I just don’t get it.  This film is hailed by cinephiles almost everywhere you look.  And in fact, in the revised AFI list which came out in 2007 (and was a joke, by the way) it was even upjumped all the way to #4.  Really?  For a movie about despicable characters with no redeeming values?  There was nothing I could latch on to here.   starstarnostarnostarnostar

25. E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial (1982) – One of my all-time favourite movies.  E.T. is highly nostalgic for me, yet when I watch it today I recognize that my love of this film doesn’t only come from this nostalgia; it comes from E.T. being a genuinely fantastic movie.  Very few films are able to tug on my heartstrings like this one does; in fact, no other film is able to.


26. Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) – In my opinion this is Kubrick’s greatest film and may just be the greatest comedy of all time.  Peter Sellers gives three ingenious performances while George C. Scott hams it up as they all face nuclear disaster.  This is the perfect black comedy.  The subtlety of the jokes is balanced just right and I still laugh out loud when I watch; especially with the presidential phone call, Dr. Strangelove’s analysis, and anything to do with Col. Mandrake.  starstarstarstarstar

27. Bonnie and Clyde (1967) -Bonnie and Clyde is one of those turning point movies in film history whose courage to be true to its nasty, violent self ushered in a new age of gritty and realistic films.  Its hard not to respect the film on those merits and admire its determination to tell the story the way they want.  Yet I did find the characters rather annoying which prevents me from hailing it as one of the great films.


28. Apocalypse Now (1979) – Visually stunning, psychologically haunting, and unexpectedly comedic at times, Apoc Now is a masterful epic.  As the army boat sails down the river, the surrealism of Copolla’s visionary war film sinks in deeper and deeper as we the audience are pulled into the same thick fog of madness as the characters we are following.  The tension becomes more and more palpable.  Only the greatest of  films can do that.


29. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) – I only watched this movie for the first time recently, and I’m not sure why.  Its a movie I’ve always wanted to see but never got around to it.  But when I did watch it, I found myself finding a lot more in this story of patriotism and corrupt politics than I expected to.  You can read my full review here.


30. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) – A great adventure in the mountains of Mexico with some interesting characters, and underlying it all is a great study on the corruption of greed.  Walter Houston gives a great performance and his son John’s photography is nice and crisp.  I just have to say that, although I’m an advocate of black and white photography, I can’t help but wonder what this movie would have been like in colour.  starstarstarstarhalfstar

My favourite of the ten: E.T.:The Extra Terrestrial

5 Responses to “AFI Recap: #21 – #30”

  1. great blog, but I myself thought Raging Bull was a great movie.

  2. Collectively, I think my husband and I slept through at least half of 2001: A Space Odyssey, so it isn’t your mainstream film. But we did have a fun time trying to figure out the special effects.

    Raging Bull is a well done film, but so many people don’t like it for the same reasons you didn’t. You need to be in the right mood for it…but I can’t really describe it. Disenchantment perhaps, mixed with anger and a need to punch.

  3. 2001 is a film I really need to watch again. One I first saw it, I don’t think I really “got it”. Gonna have to disagree with you on Raging Bull though, one of my all time favourites.

  4. I totally agree with you on Dr. Strangelove. The ending left me without words, and with plenty of unbelieving laughter. Peter Sellers and George C. Scott both gave phenomenal performances.

    I also agree on No. 22. I loved 2001, and I hate it when people say, “Oh, there’s not enough dialogue!” or “It’s so boring!”. Personally, I was glued to the screen throughout the entire first viewing.

    Can I agree with you on one more thing? I despise the 2007 AFI list. Patton TAKEN OFF?? Ben-Hur as No. 100? Singin’ in the Rain AND Raging Bull above Gone With the Wind? *sigh*

    • Yeah, there was a lot of pandering going on in that new list. That’s why Lord of the Rings and Titanic were on this list. Now, I love Lord of the Rings, and I think Titanic is great movie, yet I know that the only reason they were there is their popularity.
      Thanks for the comments!

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