Thursday, December 3, 2009

What Defines a Great Movie

Over the past week I have gone through countless lists online of the supposed top 100 movies, lists from AFI, BFI,,, and various others. As I read through the lists, I found that my eye would be drawn to the movies I have already seen and I would be tempted to put those on the list first and foremost. But the whole point to this project was to watch movies I've never seen, granted there will be some I have seen before, and to determine whether or not they are truly the greatest movies ever made.
This task that I have set for myself, however, is proving to be a bit more difficult than I was expecting. How am I supposed to determine what the supposed 100 greatest films are without ever having seen the majority of them? This list is going to be completely based off of other lists. It will have to be a compilation of movies that cross over from list to list in my attempt to find the greatest movies. A question that does arise in the picking and choosing however, is the question about the great films that don't make it onto the top lists published. And what do I do with foreign films? Also, once I actually do watch them, what exactly is it that makes a great film better than others? Is it plot, dialog, acting, cinematography, or some combination of all four, or is it just a movie that entertains?
I think I need to establish some guidelines for this little adventure, so they are as follows:
  • only American films will make it onto the list
  • they must be present on at least one of the major "top 100" lists (i.e. AFI, imdb, etc.)
  • they must be recommended by someone of substantial film credibility
  • films will be chosen based on descriptions/background, even the one's I have already seen (I will attempt to pretend I have never seen them while compiling my list)
  • a great movie will be one that genuinely entertains over and over
  • is visually and aesthetically a masterpiece
I'm hoping I'll be able to follow these guidelines; only time will tell.

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