Tag Archives: field of dreams
The cinematic powers-that-be tend to decree that Citizen Kane is the best movie ever made, or sometimes Raging Bull. I don’t have a problem with that appraisal. It’s fun. Lists are fun—they expose people to cool movies they may not have heard of, and cause debates over who’s the most badass horror villain from the 80s, or what the best movies for libertarians are.
However, what is annoying is that whenever these movie freemasons decide that Vertigo is the third-best movie of all time or something, it causes all the opinion-scavenging cinephiles-in-training to rant their little hearts out about how The Rules of the Game or whatever really deserves to be ranked third-best. These lists also do a good job of tricking people into thinking The Godfather is artistically superior to Back to the Future, which is ridiculous.
I’ve tried to write this essay a million times. In fact, I was trying to write this essay since before Cody and I even started this site. I’m still not exactly sure why it’s been so hard, but I think it has something to do with the inherent difficulty in explaining paradoxes—in this case, the paradox of knowing a movie is gonna bad before you’ve even seen it, but also knowing that it could, technically, be good, but also knowing that it will be bad.
Every movie is a product on a shelf. And the job of the people selling the movie is to try to convince you that it’ll be good. But they almost always do a terrible job. It’s not their fault, really. I mean, how can one capture the depth and complexity of Big in three minutes? The social security number joke just wouldn’t play in the context of a trailer. So the powers that be are forced to not only tell you the premise, but also give you some universally funny moments that entice you to see it. This is why the least funny scenes are in the trailer, and why stupid people laugh at these scenes like Pavlov’s dogs.
Field of Dreams. The undisputed king, for sure. But here’s ten other great ones.
It was a really tricky thing putting this together because they’re ranked on niceness, not goodness. Number two and number five are the best movies on the list. But they aren’t the nicest.
Niceness is even harder to define than coolness. Niceness is a warm and fuzzy feeling that a lot of art can generate. Probably the most popular example would be Norman Rockwell paintings. Niceness, like coolness, taps into our primal brains somewhere. We’re wired to feel it because it connects us to each other. But the problem with niceness is that it borders so heavily on cheese. Cheese done right is transcendent. But cheese done wrong is, well, cheesy.
After Earth (2013)
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Screenplay by Gary Whitta and M. Night Shyamalan
Story by Will Smith
Tommy Lee Jones once said that the secret to being funny is standing next to Will Smith. Like any leading man, Smith is classically handsome, cut from steel, infinitely charming, and possesses an inexplicable charisma that glues your eyes to him. His son does not. Jaden Smith’s eyes are like Vin Diesel’s—boring and lifeless. And his acting is about ten billion times worse.
A Rebuttal to a Rebuttal: Favorite Equals Best, or, Why Back To The Future is Better Than The Godfather
I’ve been interested in movies for as long as I can remember. The story I tell is that Jurassic Park started it all. It certainly didn’t hurt, but movies had definitely been on my mind for way longer than that. And my parents and grandparents were both movie buffs, so when the AFI released their ill-conceived 100 Best Movies of the First 100 Years of Movies, it was the talk of our family for an entire Thanksgiving dinner. I was ten or twelve at the time. By the time I was fifteen, I had seen 92 of the movies listed.