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November 01, 2006

Movie Poll Results

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Inspired by Andy Horbal, I recently ran a "Best American Fiction Movie of the Last 25 Years (the Critics Be Damned)" poll. Results are now in and -- shamed into action by Annette -- I've finally pulled them together.

Some technical notes. 41 different participants took part -- an excellent turn-out. So as not to give too much weight to the votes of those (er, those of us) who listed dozens of titles, I decided to grant each person a maximum of ten votes; I simply took the first ten movies each person named. I made one substantial ex-cathedra decision: that no movie by the Coen Bros., Woody Allen, or Tim Burton would be allowed. After all, the Coen Bros., the Wood-man, and Mr. Burton are nothing if not critics' darlings.

Other judgment calls required finer discrimination. "Body Heat," for example -- was it enough of a popular/anti-critic movie to belong on this list? If so, then how about "Bull Durham"? I tried to err on the side of generosity, but in some cases lowered the boom anyway. Finally: How exactly do we count 25 years? Should the films of 1981 (the year of both "Raiders of the Lost Ark"and "Body Heat") be included or not? I decided to let 'em in.

A few observations that occurred to me as I did my tallying:

  • Boys love voting for these kinds of lists more than girls do.
  • The top crowd-pleasin' auteurs of the past 25 years appear to be James Cameron, Tom Shadyac, and the Farrelly Bros.
  • Many Americans aren't as fond of sex-themed films as I am. What's wrong with you people?
  • Sci-fi wasn't as prominent as I'd have expected it to be either.
  • Comedies especially are more highly valued by us Real People than they are by the critics.
  • Action-adventure movies and romantic comedies are too.

Are you listening, Critical Establishment? As Ron wrote in a comment:

"One thing that strikes me as I look at these lists is how influential many of these movies have been. Internal Affairs, Basic Instinct, Evil Dead, Die Hard, The Terminator, Point Break, Dumb and Dumber, Speed, Fast Times at Ridgemont High: for better or for worse, these movies have cast long, long shadows."

The biggest surprise for me: "Ishtar" receiving not one but two votes.

The Profile in Courage Award for most-embarrassing / revealing choice took a lot of consideration. It was nothing if not a close race. Annette's fondness for the Brat Pack special "About Last Night" was certainly a hard one to beat. But the very sensitive and cultivated Flutist loves "Meet the Fockers" ... Dan confesses to being a fan of "Con Air" ... And Jewish Atheist loves "Karate Kid." A tough set of competitors!

J. Goard signed on for "Frankenhooker" and "Home Alone," and Dr. Weevil nominated "Cherry 2000" and "Killer Klowns from Outer Space." Striking choices -- but, shhhh, I suspect them both of amusing themselves making filmbuff-style mischief.

Andy Horbal -- Poll-Man himself -- confessed to spending time in the gutter with "Bloodsport," "Encino Man," and "Rocky 4."

But the true heavy hitters, it seemed to me, were Ron, with "I Know What You Did Last Summer," "The Goonies," and "She's All That," and Damian with "Van Helsing," "Hudson Hawk," and "Mr. Mom." It takes guts to admit to being fans of those movies, fellas!

Still, pondering this list, one clear Profile in Courage winner emerged: Gareth, who placed his vote for the entire oeuvre of Tony Scott. Dude, hats off to you.

A special award of some kind goes out to Alec, who tried to sneak in a vote for R.W. Fassbinder's 15 1/2 hour depressive German extravaganza, the 1980 "Berlin Alexanderplatz." Thought I wouldn't notice, eh, Alec?

But on to the poll results themselves. What a range of movies! So large that, in fact, no huge winner emerged, while dozens and dozens of films accumulated one vote each.

The envelopes please.

With four votes each -- drumrolls, flashbulbs, sweaty palms -- the two films that share the 2Blowhards "Best American Fiction Film of the Last 25 Years (The Critics Be Damned)" Award are ... "Dumb and Dumber" and "Die Hard."

The runner-up position (three votes each): "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle," "Galaxy Quest," and "Ace Ventura, Pet Detective."

Attention, shoppers: Four of the top five best-loved movies in this poll were comedies. As someone who loves comedy -- and who thinks it's almost always undervalued -- I can't tell you how much satisfaction this fact gives me.

Tied with two votes apiece: "Back to the Future," "The Shawshank Redemption," "Austin Powers 1," "The Nutty Professor," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Night Shift," "Babe, Pig in the City," "Ishtar," "Starship Troopers," "Tootsie," "Red Dawn," "Office Space," "Aliens," "Remo Williams," "The Frighteners," and "Zorro the Gay Blade."

Films that received one vote each: "Night of the Comet," "Pee Wee's Big Adventure, "Robin Hood: Men in Tights, "Dodgeball," "The Mask," "My Favorite Year," "Highlander," "The Whole Nine Yards," "Terminator 2," "Rumble in the Bronx," "Pretty Woman," "Forrest Gump," "When Harry Met Sally," "The Karate Kid," "To Live and Die in LA," "Bull Durham," "SuperTroopers," "Basic Instinct," Wild Things," "The Wrong Man," "Wet Hot American Summer," "The 40 Year Old Virgin, "Old School," "Prince of Darkness," "Big Trouble in Little China," "The Kill Bills," "First Strike," "Bound," "Two Days in the Valley," "This is Spinal Tap."

Deep breath. OK, onward:

"Trading Places," "History of the Wolrld Part One," "True Identity," "Without a Clue," "Ghostbusters," "Entrapment," "Rising Sun," "Cruel Intentions," "I Know What You Did Last Summer," "She's All That," "The Pelican Brief," "Sleeping With the Enemy," "Gladiator," "Dead Man on Campus," "Me, Myself and Irene," "There's Something About Mary," "Hudson Hawk," "Blade 1 & 2," "The Mummy 1 & 2," "Austin Powers 3," "The Rocketeer," "Dracula 2000, "Private Eyes," "Van Helsing," "Mr. Mom," "Eraser," "Tremors," "Robocop 1&2," "Time Cop," "Conan the Barbarian," "Bruce Almighty," "Liar Liar," "Lawn Dogs," "Crimson Tide," "Top Gun," "Spy Game," "Enemy of the State," "Tron."

Deep breath. Onward yet again.

"First Blood," "Southern Comfort," "Encino Man," "Bloodsport," "Rocky IV," "The Edge," "Black Rain," "True Lies," "Princess Bride," "Rumble in the Bronx," "The Incredibles," "Remember the Titans," "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," "Pirates of the Caribbean," "My Best Friend's Wedding," "Broadcast News," "Postcards from the Edge," "About Last Night," "Stake Out," "The Fugitive," "Altered States," "Moonstruck," "Frankenhooker," "Gremlins," "Con Air," "Kingpin," "Shallow Hal," "Dave Chappelle's Block Party," "Kwik Stop," "CQ," "Mission to Mars," "Raising Cain," "Home Alone," "Overboard," "Devil in a Blue Dress," "Let It Ride," "Spartan," "Nadine," "The Zero Effect," "Happy New Year," "Captain Ron," "A Very Brady Sequel," "Dirty Work," "Fast Times at Ridgmont High," "Anchorman," "Don Juan de Marco," "Alien," "Cherry 2000," "Killer Klowns from Outer Space," "Adventures in Babysitting," "Blade Runner," "Body Heat," "Dazed and Confused," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "Finding Nemo," "Heat," "Minority Report," "One False Move," "Re-Animator," "48 Hrs," "Extreme Prejudice," "Wild Bill," "The Long Riders," "Fried Green Tomatoes," "Steel Magnolias," "The Lost Boys," "Star Man," "Showgirls," "Joe Vs. the Volcano," "Internal Affairs."

Note to self: Time to catch up with "Remo Williams" and "Joe Vs. the Volcano."

Thanks to Andy Horbal for kicking this madness off. You can see the results of Andy's higher-brow-than-ours poll here.

What should the movie studios learn from this poll? What should the critics take away from it?



posted by Michael at November 1, 2006


What should the movie studios learn from this poll?

Probably what William Goldman famously told them 30 years ago: "Nobody knows anything."

Or H.L. Mencken: "Nobody ever went broke by underestimating the taste of the American public."

Posted by: Rick Darby on November 1, 2006 5:46 PM

Unfortunately, I must warn you: no movie, and sadly, not "Joe vs. the Volcano" can live up to that title, one of the best ever concocted for a movie. IMHO.

Somewhat to my surprise, I would be willing to watch every single one of the movies listed that I haven't seen (about ten percent of the titles) because I pretty much liked all of the ones that I have seen. Congrats to our blog commenters and voters.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on November 2, 2006 12:07 AM

Ugh! "Ace Ventura" and "Zorro the Gay Blade" are better comedies than "Spinal Tap" or "Something About Mary"? "Groundhog Day" doesn't appear on the list at all? And this is just paying attention to the comedies!

Sorry, dude, the main thing I learned was not to take movie recommendations from the voters in this poll.

Posted by: MQ on November 2, 2006 1:38 AM

They should learn, and they never will, that above all, people don't go to the movies to be lectured.

Posted by: ricpic on November 2, 2006 6:37 AM

It seemed to me that there was something difficult about your survey, and so, as much as I wanted to participate, I couldn't wrap my head around what sorts of movies would qualify. While there are certainly critically praised movies that I hate (Mystic River being high on the list of those,) my list of favorites also includes a good many critical favorites (the Coen brothers' Fargo is one of my faves.) Then there are those that I think are or should be critical favorites (Shawshank Redemption) and so thought wouldn't fit in your poll but, apparently, that doesn't turn out to be the case. Basically I don't know WHAT movies are critical favorites, for the most part, and that criteria so boggled my feeble brain that I just couldn't come up with a proper list of anything. Had I just listed my top 5 or 10 favorite films (as arbitrary as that might be from one day to the next,) you'd probably end up with a few that would've fit your criteria, while others would be thrown off. And THAT kind of self-consciousness about picking my favorites was too much for me.

To me this is the same sort of thing i encounter when asked to list my "guilty pleasure" music selections. There's not anything I'm really embarrassed about in regards to my tastes in music or movies, and while I can sometimes figure out what things other people would consider being in which list (is this "good" or do I just like it,) I pretty much always would only be listing the things I like. Thoughts about the question of what pieces of entertainment are "good" or "bad" just don't make much sense. Maybe I've not read enough of what The Critics have to say about the arts to know what's good and what's bad.

Nevertheless, I've enjoyed reading your take on critics vs. the-rest-of-us, and seeing all the good movie discussions.

Posted by: i, squub on November 2, 2006 8:36 AM

How'd I miss this poll? Anyway, I agree with MQ on "Groundhog Day." I don't see "Wedding Crashers" there either. And I'll also confess to a bizarre affection for both "Bring it On" and "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead."

Posted by: Rachel on November 2, 2006 8:40 AM

That´s the lists message: dumb and dumber.

Posted by: claudio on November 2, 2006 10:11 AM

"Many Americans aren't as fond of sex-themed films as I am. What's wrong with you people?"

I'm always torn, because while the sex is usually titillating, I'm usually thrown out of the spell of the movie because say, Meg Ryan had to get nekked and do softcore on a set somewhere. When someone is shot, or jumps across buildings, I know it was faked and movie magic (just like some quick nude scenes use body doubles). But you can't fake naked. You can't fake rolling around, fondling, etc.

Sex is one of, if not the, most intimate thing(s) we do.

How do I know if the actors wanted to do that? They may have taken the movie because they liked some other aspect of it, and just got through the sex part. And I know some actors could care less - it's just one aspect of the performance. But not all of them feel that way.

So, it just takes me out of the movie.

(To be fair, two examples where that didn't happen to me were "Body Heat," because the movie is about sex, and "Adaptation" because Streep so clearly enjoyed making that scene as naughty as possible.)

However, I will admit, I have a provincial attitude towards sex. I love it, but I consider it private.

There's nothing private about sitting in a theatre of a couple hundred people while emblazoned in three stories in front of us are actors faking it.

In other news, I was glad to see "Galaxy Quest" make it so high. I love that movie.

Posted by: yahmdallah on November 2, 2006 10:28 AM

Pretty darn entertaining movie list.

It's amazing how few of these really captured critical or "Oscar" attention. Because my understanding was that it didn't have to be hated by critics, it was just "critics be damned."

What might be interesting, is if we then figured how many of these movies (if any) would be knocked off their perch if critical favs were also included. Like...are these just people's favorites, period, (and my guess is they might be) or just the favorites that the critics didn't also like?

The biggest problem with critics is "having a really good time" never seems to be a worthy critical criteria. And, I mean, c'mon, we're talkin' about movies here. Not "film". Not plotting the future of the middle east. It was a lowdown entertainment when it began. Not "art."

Posted by: annette on November 2, 2006 10:53 AM

PS--If you haven't seen "Joe vs. the Volcano" you really, really should. It's an imperfect movie, but you really get to see what made Hanks and Ryan stars. (And, pssst, Meg, it ain't that Jane Campion idiocy you engaged in).

Posted by: annette on November 2, 2006 11:01 AM

Michael - RE: What should the movie studios learn from this poll? What should the critics take away from it?

Probably nothing. Critics don’t make movies or approve productions, and while some theater critics have been able to “make or break” plays, I don’t think that there has every really been an instance of a movie critic killing a film. More important, movie critics love many of the films on your list, which only underscores the notion that critics are not as out of touch with general sentiment as some might think.

Movie studios would love to do away with film critics entirely, and have gone through some interesting hoops to minimize any formal critical response to their productions, from posting fake reviews on the Web, to deliberately refusing to screen films for critics. Oddly enough, this kind of thing has often been related to films that the general public disdained as well.

Also, while movie studios obviously want to make films that make money, there are some movie producers (I base this on personal conversations, not just news stories) who have an odd disdain for the public. These jackals are not simply trying to make movies that they think the public will enjoy, they honestly believe that the public SHOULD eat up any crap that they throw out, and are often surprised when the public rejects a film.

On the other hand, there is this instructive counter-example: “Tombstone” was released with very little critical fanfare, in part because movie executives believed that Kevin Costner’s “Wyatt Earp” was going to be the 800 pound gorilla Western. But not only was “Tombstone” a much better film, and extremely popular with audiences, a number of critics noted in frustration that they would have pushed for a supporting actor Oscar for Val Kilmer had the film’s release been done earlier.

Costner’s Earp film was a giant turd.

By the way, to this day I can never understand the appeal of "The Shawshank Redemption," which along with “Forrest Gump” and “American Beauty,” ranks as one of the phoniest and most repellent films that I have ever seen. And while “Remo Williams” was fun (and I heartily endorse a viewing), the appeal of “Joe vs the Volcano” totally escapes me.

Also, I agree with those who note that a list that does not have “Groundhog Day” on it ain’t much of a list at all.

Glad you caught my inclusion of “Berlin Alexanderplatz.” Who says that a movie with serious, even “depressive” subject matter cannot also be entertaining? Also, this was a mild protest. While it is entertaining to solicit an All American, critics-be-damned list, this is obviously limiting and so inherently invalid. You simply cannot compile a list based on deliberately narrow criteria and then turn around and try to make general conclusions about movies based on those narrow selections. I wonder what your poll results might be if you asked about best movies, period, from the last 25 years, domestic and international, and also possibly including TV and cable movies. For example, I enjoyed the Japanese anime series “Cowboy Bebop” more than most live action films that I have recently seen, but I doubt that Hollywood will be doing anything like this anytime soon.

Posted by: Alec on November 2, 2006 1:40 PM


I can understand why you'd name "The Shawshank Redemption," and “American Beauty,” phoney and repellent, but “Forrest Gump”?

That's a surprise.

Posted by: yahmdallah on November 2, 2006 3:13 PM

Forrest Gump is an incredibly well-made movie and I hate it. I hate the message that the questioners in life get punished, while the ones who blindly go along with whatever people tell them to do get rewarded. Perhaps the message was intended to be that you should go with the flow, but that's not how it came out. An insidious movie if there ever was one.

Posted by: the patriarch on November 2, 2006 3:45 PM

Rick -- It's always good to be reminded of Goldman's quote. A life in showbiz must be a weird thing, no? If nobody really does know anything, then on what basis is anything decided? (Runs away screaming in metaphysical anguish...)

FvB -- Funny how many movies many people watch, isn't it? It's been ages since I've watched the sheer quantity of movies you and I saw back in college. But even so, one or two a week, over decades ... The numbers pile up. I think my biggest blank spot may be the last three or four years, because I've spent the time exploring the Netflix archives. I barely know what's been in theaters. Have you kept up? Do your kids keep you more aware of popular culture than you'd be otherwise?

MQ -- But people volunteered a lot of inspired faves, don't you find? Plus it's a fun romp through what civilians really enjoyed (as opposed to what the critics and buffs thought). As for "Groundhog Day," well, that was a special case. It got some votes but I decided to exclude it. Not because I don't like it (I do), but because 1) it got good reviews, if I recall right, and 2) it ran well in Andy Horbal's poll. As this poll was meant to complement Andy's, I reluctantly ceded it to his.

Ricpic -- Well, there's that little teeny niche market for the lecturing-movie genre ...

I Squub - Do people even have guilty pleasures any longer? If so, I'm eager to learn about 'em! But the intended micropoint of this poll was different -- to get people thinking a bit in terms of "I really enjoyed this film" as opposed to "I hereby dub this or that film 'the best'." Sometimes those lists overlap, sometimes they don't, and it's often fun to try to figure out how and why.

Rachel -- Wasn't that interesting -- no "Wedding Crashers"? I thought it was a big popular fave. Poor Vince, poor Owen, forgotten so quickly ...

Claudio -- But there's better dumb and worse dumb, isn't there?

Yahmdallah -- Thanks for the musings. I'm cooking up a sex-film posting and will be making use of 'em!

Annette -- OK, OK, I'll see "Joe and the Volcano"! FWIW, I kind of liked Meg for doing that Campion movie. Lousy movie, of course. But fun to see Meg be edgy and moody and such. Too bad it didn't work. But I'd still love it if more bigtime actors did films like that occasionally. Shake the audiences up a bit, remind 'em of ... Well, I don't know what. But still.

Alec -- I've got my own favorite depressive and pretentious movies. That's a good idea for a poll and a list right there. What do you have against polls and lists? I've known some people who didn't like them, and as far as I could tell their reasons boiled down to the idea that polls and lists trivialize and/or demean the arts. I can certainly see that point. On the other hand, they can also introduce some levity (and "spirit" certainly doesn't hurt a discussion), they can encourage rowdiness, and -- my hope, anyway -- a touch of creativity can produce unexpected results. Voting for "the best" ... Well, it can be interesting. But how about for "your favorite"? Interesting the way it shifts the terms, and the way the ensuing list is different, no? How and why and on what terms do people justify their "best" list being different from their "my favorite" list? Sometimes this gloomy kind of trance state takes people over when they start thinking of handing out awards, and they start to lose track of their basic responses. Interesting topics, at least to me.

Yahmdallah -- I've been dodging "Shawshank Redemption" for years. Sounds like something I majorly wouldn't enjoy. Please don't tell me it has to be seen.

Patriarch -- That's another good idea for a list: "Movies whose messages really bugged me."

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on November 2, 2006 3:59 PM

No, "Shawshank Redemption" does not have to be seen. If you want the story, read the Stephen King original. I found the movie overbearing and dull.

the patriarch:
I didn't think that was the message of "Forrest Gump" - the unexamined life is worth living. Not that you can't extrapolate that message, but I don't think that was the point. I thought it wore its message on it's sleeve: Life is like a box of chocolates.

Posted by: yahmdallah on November 2, 2006 6:35 PM

HOT damn! Sensitive and cultivated ("very", yet)! I always suspected it about myself, what with my musical edumacation and all, and now there's (Blow)hard proof.

So. When do we do the sex movies?
YEAH, baby.

Posted by: Flutist on November 2, 2006 7:07 PM

Is it us against the critics, really? True, they laud a lot of grim movies with a message--"Million Dollar Baby" anyone? But the complaint I hear most often when I mention contemporary movies is that they're made for teenage boys--gross-out comedies and action spectacles. Those movies obviously do well at the box office, the critics be damned.

What's missing are movies in the middle. Remember what a hit "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" was? It wasn't a critical darling, but the public liked it--especially the public over the age of 25. Yet, the studios didn't seem to pick up on it.

Then there's the whole DVD/On Demand/Cable Movie Channel aspect. I look at what's playing at my local multiplex and most of what I see listed I rank as watching-at-home worthy. Going to the movies has become less and less enjoyable what with ticket prices, commercials in the theater, endless trailers and the yahoos with whom you're forced to sit. I suspect many movies on this list were seen at home.

Posted by: Rachel on November 3, 2006 8:29 AM

Too late, I remembered another entry. "Clueless"--that Alicia Silverstone movie.

Also, I didn't say it wasn't a noble effort, or something, that Meg did Jane Campion. I just said it isn't what makes her special, or gave her her stardom. It's like telling someone to see "Bonfire of the Vanities" to learn about Tom Hanks. That movie doesn't relay the qualities that made him an interesting actor and famous. And he wouldn't be a star if that was all he did. Same with Meg and Jane.

Posted by: annette on November 3, 2006 10:28 AM

Yahmdallah -- Whew, tks.

Flutist -- What a great idea, a poll about sex films!

Rachel -- Interesting the way the DVD/Netflix/DVR/pay-per-view thing affects moviewatching, isn't it? I think Terry Teachout recently admitted that he'd been to a movie theater only once in the last year. I think I've been only a couple of times myself. Maybe four or five. FWIW, my hope for a poll like this is to nudge people away from thinking self-conscious thoughts about "what's best" and to encourage them to be a little more direct and honest about what they really enjoy. Not that that's the end of the discussion! The "critical" discussion has its contribution to make too, god knows.

Annette -- "Clueless" and a few others ("Fast Times," ... er, memory is failing ... maybe some John Hughes movies) were really important in some populist-movie-history way, weren't they? The tone they had, the way they caught moods, the number of young performers in 'em who became standard movieworld cast members ... Quite amazing. So maybe Amy Heckerling deserves to be up there in the populist film-pleasure list with James Cameron, Tom Shadyac, etc. That's a funny comparison -- Tom Hanks in "Bonfire." You sure wouldn't understand why he was a star if you watched that film! I'd guess that Meg feels pretty good about having done the Campion -- "good for me for taking the risk and declaring my adult maturity," etc. I wonder how Hanks feels about having done "Bonfire" ...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on November 3, 2006 10:44 AM

Say, didn't I nominate Tremors? Maybe I forgot to.

If we're really in the mood to say fuck the critics, I'll say this: I liked Bonfire Of The Vanities! Go ahead and hate me.

New movies? I've only seen a half dozen movies this year: Eight Below, Find Me Guilty, Inside Man, Scoop, The Black Dahlia, and The Illusionist. Every one of them was utterly forgettable. (I only remember them because I saved the ticket stubs.)

Posted by: Brian on November 3, 2006 1:42 PM

Ah, never mind. Tremors is in there.

Did I just admit to liking Bonfire?

Posted by: Brian on November 3, 2006 1:45 PM

To yamadallah – RE: “Forrest Gump,” the patriarch nails some of my problems with the movie. It was well made (and some of the insertions of Gump into “real” history were amazing), but it was insipid, muddled, and insidious. Although I liked Gary Sinese’s Lt. Dan and his relationship with Gump, Dan’s back story, that all his forebears had volunteered for and died in American wars, was simple-minded and repellent, and was typical of an insistent small-mindedness throughout the film. Gump as a Holy Innocent did nothing for me. The tag line that life is like a box of chocolates is stupid enough on a greeting card, as a movie theme it was ludicrous.

Michael – I don’t have anything against polls, and obviously had a good time compiling the list of films that I sent you, I just said that you can’t draw any conclusions from them, or send any kind of message to Hollywood about what kind of films should be made. By the way, “best” and “favorite” is generally the same thing for me, or maybe I don’t really distinguish that much between the two categories. I admire well-crafted, intelligently thought out films, even if they are the most scatological comedies (“There’s Something About Mary”) or steamy noir updates (“Body Heat’).

I may have noted once before that shortly out of college, I kept a journal of all the movies I saw in one year. I think it was over 200 hundred films. I’ve seen a lot of movies, and value a lot of films, sometimes even parts of films, for a lot of reasons. I can hold my own against a lot of film scholars and regular joes, but I have never thought that the mere handing of awards signified much of anything. On the other hand, would you want to see the Best Film Oscar automatically go to the film with the highest domestic box office (and presumably the most popular with the masses)? I find the best film choices of some populist shows like the MTV Movie Awards or the People’s Choice Awards to be as offbase and arbitrary as the Academy Awards. And of course, there are many film critics who disagree vehemently over Oscar results, so even here you can’t really ascribe critics views to a “gloomy kind of trance state takes people over when they start thinking of handing out awards, and they start to lose track of their basic responses.”

Also, by the way, I didn’t find “Berlin Alexanderplatz” to be either depressive or pretentious (although the final episode was a mess). But your mileage may vary.

Rachel – Re: What's missing are movies in the middle. Remember what a hit "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" was? It wasn't a critical darling, but the public liked it--especially the public over the age of 25. Yet, the studios didn't seem to pick up on it.

Great example. The odd thing is that not only did most studios pass on “Greek Wedding” the first time around, some executives openly gloated in the industry press over the failure of the TV version of “Greek Wedding” and Nia Vardalos’ later film “Connie and Carla.”

Posted by: Alec on November 3, 2006 3:12 PM

ALL RIGHT! Die Hard wins! There is a God!

And yes, Michael, I realize it takes guts to admit to actually liking Van Helsing and Hudson Hawk (two bloody awful movies that nevertheless have very high entertainment value), but I'm not ashamed to say that I love Mr. Mom and think of it fondly everytime I see a vacuum cleaner.

Posted by: Damian on November 4, 2006 2:43 AM

It's a tough row to hoe, Michael, but damn it if Scott doesn't sucker me in every time. Now give me a minute while I Fandango my opening-day tickets for Dj Vu...

Posted by: Gareth on November 4, 2006 6:13 PM

The biggest difference between this list and Horbal's is that Horbal's list included several NON-FICTION films, including the winner. Your readers at least know which is which.

Posted by: Rich Rostrom on November 5, 2006 12:00 AM

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