Time critics pick Almodóvar's Talk to Her as best film of the '00s to date
A list of the greatest films of all time without North by Northwest? No Annie Hall, Bicycle Thief, or Apocalypse Now? Take a deep breath and relax. This is supposed to be fun. The movie critics for Time magazine, Richard Schickel and Richard Corliss, have compiled an unranked list of the 100 greatest films. It was posted Sunday on the magazine's Web site. Included are traditionally acclaimed flicks like Lawrence of Arabia, Casablanca, and Citizen Kane as well as more atypical choices like Finding Nemo, Star Wars, and the 2002 Brazilian gang story City of God.
Disagree? Schickel says that's the idea. " 'One hundred' lists are fun to discuss, fun to argue over," Schickel told the Associated Press. "I don't think anybody should say, 'That's it, that's the final 100! No disputing this for the rest of eternity!' You know, stuff changes. Life changes. You change." That perspective is even more difficult for contemporary movies, says the critic, who has also produced many documentaries and led the acclaimed reconstruction of Samuel Fuller's 1980 war pic, The Big Red One. Recent films on the list include Pedro Almodóvar's Talk to Her, the Lord of the Rings trilogy and, of course, Pulp Fiction.
Schickel acknowledges some regret for a few older reviews of his--like not trumpeting Bonnie and Clyde more or failing to immediately recognize Chinatown as "close to a perfect movie." All the original reviews from Time will be linked on the subscription Web site--but perusing old opinions can be a cringe-inducing experience for a critic. Though it was before Schickel's time, the original 1942 review of Casablanca, for example, read, "Nothing short of an invasion could add much to Casablanca." "If you’re involved with movies, they are a living organism in your memory," Schickel says. "It's like some creature in a sci-fi movie that keeps shape-shifting."
The most popular director turned out to be Martin Scorsese, who has three films on the list. Scorsese's frequent actor of choice, Robert De Niro, leads actors with five. Since Schickel and Corliss also have divergent tastes, much of the finalized list is one of compromise. "Most '100' lists are the product of a single sensibility, and this is a compromised list, because his sensibility and mine, I think, agreed between 40% and 50% of the time...and then it gets to a wrangle."
In Monday's issue of the magazine, the two critics also name the best film from each decade since Time began: Metropolis (1927), Dodsworth (1936), Citizen Kane (1941), Ikiru (1952), Persona (1966), Chinatown (1974), Decalogue (1988), Pulp Fiction (1994), and Talk to Her (2002). But Schickel still says to reserve any great reverence for the result of their toil. "In a way this is supposed to be fun.... The notion that any kind of movie reviewing or movie commentary is an opinion handed down from on high by somebody in judicial robes is nonsensical. They're all kind of first opinions and depends on, I don't know, what you ate for breakfast that morning." (AP)