10 Reasons To Dislike AFI's 10 Top 10.

So, did anybody else watch this? And was anybody else as annoyed as I was with it? If you didn't watch it and/or don't know what it was... it was AFI's Top 10 Movies for each of the 10 biggest movie genres... or so it was supposed to be. Instead of going into it in a whole lot of depth, let me just recap some of the reasons this bugged me.

1) Neither Spirited Away, Aladdin, nor The Little Mermaid made the top 10 best animated films.

2) Star Wars (and A New Hope instead of Empire Strikes Back, at that) only made number 2 in best sci-fi.

3) The only actual fantasy movie on the fantasy list was Lord of the Rings (Fellowship... not Return of the King). And that wasn't number 1, either. Seriously, when I think 'fantasy', I think Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, not The Thief of Baghdad and Miracle on 34th Street.

4) How the hell does The Princess Bride not make either 'fantasy' or 'romantic comedy'... at all?

5) Since when are Gangster, Courtroom Drama, Sports, and Epic big movie genres? Where the hell are 'horror' or 'musicals' on this list? Or even 'comedy' besides 'romantic comedy'? Or 'action'?

6) How does The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly not make the 'westerns' list?

7) Should an old movie about pool players (which is stretching the 'sports' title) really be higher up on the list than Jerry Maguire (which got 10th place)?

8) Honestly, besides The Usual Suspects at number 10, the top 10 Mystery movies should have just been renamed 'The Best Alfred Hitchcock films'.

9) The person who chose these movies must be an old timer with little appreciation for newer movies, because out of 100 films, only 15 of them were made after 1990. (29 were made in 1951 or before, and 57 were made in 1971 or before... meaning that the remaining 28 films were made between 1972 and 1989, most of them in the 70s or early 80s).

10) You can give 2 'gangster' spots to the first two Godfather movies and two to both versions of Scarface, but you can't give 2 spots in sci-fi to Star Wars or 2 spots in 'fantasy' to... an actual 'fantasy' movie?


  1. Do you know what peeves me? The fact that so few films after 1990 had made the list. Despite the fact that a lot of junk movies have been released in he last twenty years there were still several more good gems that were released during that time.

  2. Yup... just as I mentioned on number 9. The majority of the movies were prior to 1971... and a THIRD of them were made prior to 1951. It was ridiculous.

  3. I didn't see it, but here are my reactions, in order:

    1. What did make it? I haven't seen Spirited, but the omission of the other two doesn't offend me in the slightest.

    2. Depends on what 1 was, but yeah, Empire should be above Hope. I guess it gets points for being first, though.

    3. Yeah, that's a weird definition of fantasy. If they used the term like how you mention, LOTR shouldn't have even been there - it should have been in action/adventure or something.

    4. Blasphemy.

    5. Boom - there's where LOTR could go: Epic. And Sports is definitely a genre.

    6. Yup.

    7. Hell yeah. The Color of Money is even better than Jerry, and I like Jerry.

    8. There's the old film bias. I've gone on and on about this, though. ;)

    9. Ditto.

    10. Both versions of Scarface? What's the other?

  4. I can understand all of the choices for the number one slot except for City Lights? Really? Chaplin? Is here just up there be there? Charlie Chaplin ain't got nuthin' on HAROLD LLOYD!!!

    Spirited Away wouldn't make the list because it's Japanese. I consider Lawrence of Arabia to be British, but what are you gonna do? Because on a whole, I think the genres were picked for being generally American born.

    Good, Bad and the Ugly should have had Cat Ballou's spot.

  5. Fletch:

    1) You should see Spirited Away. It's even one of the only anime to make it into imdb's top 250. Number 1 for animation was Snow White.

    2) Number 1 for sci-fi was 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    3) The Fantasy winners, in order from 10 to 1, are the following: Big, The Thief of Baghdad, Groundhog Day, Harvey, Field of Dreams, Miracle on 34th Street, King Kong, It's a Wonderful Life, LOTR, and Wizard of Oz.

    4) I think the Princess Bride thing upset me the most.

    5) I don't deny sports is a genre. But I wouldn't classify it as one of the top 10 major genres. Maybe in the top 20, but not the top 10.

    10) The Pacino version of Scarface was a remake of a movie of the same name made back in 1932 (which has almost as high of a rating on IMDB as its more famous version).

    The full list of categories and winners (at least to a somewhat precise degree) can be found on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AFI%27s_10_Top_10

  6. I was flipping between this and the game last night - and even what I caught was surprising to me. I can understand a few older movies, but noting compared to the overflow they were giving in every category.

  7. I haven't seen these lists yet - I'm gonna go look for them right after posting this - but every time they come out they seem to generate more WTF?!? reactions than nodding consensus.

    And I would be curious to know what the selection process is like.

    Hmmm... I smell a new LAMG feature in our future. Poll all of the lambs on their Top 10 for specific genres and then tally the results!

  8. From the start with the animation genre, I knew the list was going to be bad. It was bad enough Finding Nemo was placed at 10 but I lost all respect when they placed Shrek above it. The best animation movie is the first full-length feature ever made, Snow White in 1937. I think animation has made vast improvements since then. I would love to know their definition of Fantasy, like you I was surprised by what they listed there. I mean where does science fiction end and fantasy begin. It may be a personal thing, even though I am an avid science fiction fan, I hate 2001: A Space Odyssey. Come on, Science Fiction is a modern genre. Discounting the inclusion of Terminator II in 1991 the rest of the movies were earlier than 1985. My suggestions would be The Matrix, Twelve Monkeys, Gattaca and Dark City. The courtroom genre was unnecessary. They should have done Action or Romance or even Musicals. Two difficult genres to classify are Epic and Romantic Comedy, neither of which Imdb includes in their genre categories. They should have done Romance and Comedy as separate genres. If you insist on doing Epic then you have to include Doctor Zhivago.

  9. Girodet: On the animation... yeah. One of the most recent (and really good) animated movies is at number 10, and the oldest fully animated movie is at number 1? Pfft. For Sci-Fi... I'm happy about T2 and Alien (though I think Aliens might have been the better choice). However, I was also expecting 12 Monkeys... and The Matrix didn't even cross my mind (I was in shock by that point), but now that I have, it upsets me even more.

    I think the only reason courtroom drama was included was so AFI could put their favorite movie of all time into their countdown (12 Angry Men). Though... I do agree that 12 Angry Men *is* one of the best movies of all time... I just don't think it was necessary to make up a BS genre to include it.

  10. #1 Dude, Aladdin is NOT that good.

    #2 That's it's rightful place. BLADE RUNNER should be #1

    #3 People do forget, but technically they are fantasy.

    #4 Okay, I'm with you on that one. That is some BULLSH*T.

    #5 They are sub-genres at best.

    #6 More jacked-up B.S. In agreement, here.

    #7 YES. WATCH IT before you say that shit.

    Jerry MacGuire was overrated and contained one of the most minstrelly performance of recent years.

    #8 Hitchcock was THE MAN. And you know this.

    #9 Yeah, because old movies were better. Less marketing B.S., more hands-on craftmanship.

    #10 Only if they qualify as the best, brother.

  11. Most of the films you mentioned didn't make the list because they're not American films. These lists are only of American films...hence the AMERICAN Film Institute.

    Otherwise the omissions would be unforgivable. Yeah it's kinda crappy, but since they're only counting down the top American films, it makes sense.

  12. Matthew: As far as I'm aware, the only films I listed that aren't American are Spirited Away (which was just a slip-up mention on my part) and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (which I had completely forgotten wasn't an American film, as it's a western and stars Clint Eastwood).

    Aladdin and The Little Mermaid are both Disney.

    Harry Potter is produced by Warner Bros., which is an American production company. It's just like Lord of the Rings. It's produced by Americans, but filmed elsewhere.

    I'm relatively sure The Princess Bride is an American film, as it was a Rob Reiner film and had a cast of Americans (with Cary Elwes being like... the only exception).

    So yeah...

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  14. And those were the two films I was talking about. I kept waiting on them to say "Spirited Away," then it dawned on me after they moved on that it would not have been eligible. That's one of the things I hate about these lists.

    Harry Potter in the top ten fantasy films of all time? Nahh. Same with "Aladdin" and "Little Mermaid" on the animation list. The only real addition I would want to make is "Ratatouille" and "Sleeping Beauty." "Shrek" should not have been on the list.

    And I hate "Princess Bride," so I can't agree there.

  15. I think the genres look ridiculous because they have literally invented some in order to have an excuse to have a list (or 10 lists for that matter) that is dominated by old movies that these bigots used to love as kids.

    The lists they publish are getting more and more ridiculous every year, because they don't really change. I mean, really, what happened to the art of cinema? Is it really suffering that much that we are constantly commemorating movies that are older than 20 years old?

    One thing I agree would be 2001: A Space Odyssey at number 1. I think it's unmatched. One might hate it as much as he/she wants (who's to judge personal tastes?), but not finding it successful equals to not being capable of understanding it in my dictionary.


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