Sunday, April 18, 2010

A New Beginning: Looking at the AFI Top 100

Who I Am: Robert Taylor. 25 years old. I’m currently in the midst of my first year as a Screenwriting Fellow at the American Film Institute Conservatory.

What I’m Doing: Over the next several months, I intend to watch every one of the films AFI has ranked as the Top 100 American Films. After finishing a film, I will write a critical essay on it, exploring every facet of the film from writing to direction to acting and everything in between. Does it deserve classic status? Why does this film have a place on AFI’s top 100? I have seen most of the movies on the list, but in some cases it’s been many years and they are beginning to fade from my memory.

There have been two “Top 100” lists released by AFI and I’m working from the newer one. I’m writing about the films in no particular order, because the ranking is so subjective. For example, “The African Queen” ranked in the top 25 when the first list was released and tumbled almost off the newer list, probably because it was not released on DVD and therefore was not as much in the public consciousness. Another example is that the controversial “Birth of a Nation” has been replaced by “Intolerance,” not necessarily because “Intolerance” is a better film but because we are in a different place politically.

After every five or six essays, I’ll publish a special essay about a film I feel has been overlooked by AFI and deserved inclusion.

Why I’m Doing It: I’ve always been a film buff, and though the hours are long and filled with writing, crewing and classes, I refuse to allow myself to walk away from the classic films I love. I’m surrounded by everything film related and will be for the next year-and-a-half, don’t you think I should embrace it as much as possible?

Your Thoughts: I’d love to hear your feedback on the essays and read your opinions and memories of the classic films I’m talking about, whether they agree or disagree with my assessments.

1 comment:

Pop Culture Heretic said...

Since you'll be adding movies to the list, you should pick a movie that is already on it that perhaps does not belong on the list that it will be replacing. Not necessarily in rating/rank order (takes too long to try to figure out), just as you add movies, you'll have to remove movies. So perhaps write something brief about the movie you're removing and why it doesn't belong. Just my thoughts.