Friday, June 16, 2006

I was quoted in the newspaper...that proves I'm important dammitt!!

A few posts back, I put up my response to a question of what I thought of the AFI, and their annual lists. The entire diatribe can be read HERE. The results of that e-mail can be seen in several quotes in a recent article published in our local rag, The Harrisburg Patriot-News. There are also quotes from Caleb Smith and Todd Shill, both local Film Experts (and friends). Here is the whole article, written by Colin McEvoy.

AFI: 'Most inspiring films' list inspires some local dissent

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

by Colin McEvoy of The Patriot-News

Whether through an underdog boxer from the streets of Philadelphia, a man on a bench with a box of chocolates, or Julia Roberts fighting the powers-that-be in a push-up bra, we've all been inspired by the movies at one point or another.

In its ninth annual series celebrating the first century of cinema, the American Film Institute will honor the films that have emboldened and invigorated with "100 Years...100 Cheers," a list of what it calls the 100 most inspiring movies of the last century.

"'100 Years ... 100 Cheers' will celebrate the films that inspire us, encourage us to make a difference and send us from the theatre with a greater sense of possibility and hope for the future," said Jean Picker Firstenberg, AFI director, who will be retiring next year.

The list, to be televised at 8 tonight on CBS, will feature such film figures as Steven Spielberg, Jane Fonda, Sally Field and Sidney Poitier presenting, in ascending chronological order, the movies selected by a jury of 1,500 film artists, critics and historians.

While local film experts are mixed in their response to the AFI and its latest list, all agree with the motion picture's capacity to inspire.

"Films that inspire me are those that take the audience to places where people act differently, think differently, and have a different perspective on world events," said Todd Shill, founder of Harrisburg's Midtown Cinema. "Those films remind you that our corner of the world is very small and that there is always a different point of view."

And while some films -- "The Wizard of Oz," "Schindler's List," "Rocky," "It's a Wonderful Life" -- are all but guaranteed a spot in the top 10, some fans of cinema are hoping at least a few more contemporary films make the bill.

"There are many newer films and filmmakers who are going beyond the filmmaking boundaries in both image and storytelling," said Caleb Smith, program director of local arts organization Moviate, citing such movies as "Magnolia" and "The Royal Tannenbaums".

"[These] are two examples of modern inspiration, people dealing with inner turmoil and public issues, and then learning from their experience and overcoming problems."

But these films, as well as others Smith mentioned including "Lost in Translation" and "Broken Flowers," were not among the 300 films nominated for the list.

Kevyn Knox, a local film critic and operator of, said this is typical of the AFI.

Knox said the main purpose of the list programs are to sell DVDs and that the Institute ignores independent and lesser-known but worthy films in favor of Hollywood products.

"The AFI gives no regard for many of the obscure great films and filmmakers of American cinematic history," Knox said.

"Everyone knows of 'Star Wars', why do we need to hear about it again? But not many have seen 'Greed,' so why not let them in on that little secret bit of cinema?"

AFI officials defended the list series, saying that the AFI itself does not choose the movies, but that they are selected from a jury of more than a thousand "leaders from the creative community," who may also register write-in votes for films not among the 300 nominees.

The Wednesday program will be the ninth in the AFI's "100 Years..." series.

Previous lists included "100 Years of Film Scores," "100 Movie Quotes," "100 Heroes & Villains," "100 Passions," "100 Thrills," "100 Laughs" and "100 Stars" and "100 Movies."


At 4:40 PM, Blogger Mr. Mojo Rising said...

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At 4:49 PM, Blogger Mr. Mojo Rising said...

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At 4:50 PM, Blogger Mr. Mojo Rising said...

I totally agree with you on the AFI's film lists. They always come off as more of a popularity contest than a real look at the greatest cinematic masterpieces. I personally consider their "Top 100 Films" list to be a complete display of pandering to the mainstream and it’s complete condescension to true film fans everywhere.

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