I Am the Problem
I'm sure you've read about it. Everyone has something to say about the OFC Top 100. Almost all of it is negative. My first response upon reading these criticisms was one of personal offense. After all, I included All About Eve, Pandora's Box, and two Pedro Almodovar films on my original list. Clearly I am not at fault, right? Sadly, I am. I am a 20 year old white male. I included The Usual Suspects (#22) and The Incredibles (#74) among my original list, excluding, say, The Passion of Joan of Arc or The Rules of the Game, which I recently watched and rewatched, respectively. Without a doubt, after a third viewing of The Rules of the Game, it would make my Top 100, but that latest viewing came after I submitted my original ballot. I am sure that in a year, my list will be more adventurous. Films like Men at Work will fall by the wayside as I discover more about films.
It's interesting though, to see which films people complain about when they talk about how this list isn't what it could have been. I've heard Ed Wood, The Shawshank Redemption, and American History X thrown around, but not The Big Lebowski or Fight Club. If we're going to blame the shoddiness of the list on the demographic, then why not talk about all the "mistakes" that were made.
I personally think It's a Wonderful Life shouldn't be on that list, but that's just one opinion. Do I fault the voters? No. Most people like that movie. I'm just heartless. I do wonder, though, how Ghostbusters ended up on that list while the collective works of the Marx Brothers and Mel Brooks didn't. More than anything else, though, I found this list helpful in raising some films on my "To See" list. 8 1/2 and Nosferatu are now at the top of my Netflix queue, or they would be if I had a Netflix queue. But this sort of list can help someone like me actively seek out films.
My movie-watching habits are very passive. I wait for something to come to theaters or appear on TCM. TCM is helping me significantly connect with old Hollywood, but the foreign films are much harder to come by. Occasionally, I will seek out a film, but it must be something I really want to see. This sort of a list helps greatly in giving me reasons to be an active consumer. For that reason alone, I think this list is a good idea.
I have ideas for experiments involving this list. First, I think it would be interesting to take the same 55 people who contributed to this list and ask them a year from now to resubmit lists and go through the procedure again. See if the adolescence that many people complain plague this list slowly dissolves. Second, I think we should open it up more. Truly make it an event. I only knew about it because of Edward Copeland, and the whole process felt a bit rushed (we had one week from the announcement to submit our original lists). If we open it up more, publicize it for everyone to know about, and give more time for people to think about the films they've seen, then the list can be even greater. And maybe then less people will blame the young white men for dooming the list.
At least this list has more than one Orson Welles film. What about that? If we're going to complain about The Princess Bride, then shouldn't we praise the few risks that were taken? Complain if you want that only one Howard Hawks film is on there and it's at #95. At least it's on there. Maybe now someone will look at him who wouldn't have done so before. That's all we can hope for. And really, that's what this list is about.