Google+ Cinema Viewfinder: The 50 All-Time Greatest Films and Random Thoughts on the Sotomayor Hearing

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The 50 All-Time Greatest Films and Random Thoughts on the Sotomayor Hearing

I was recently invited by Iain Stott, of The One-Line Review, to participate in a poll of filmmakers, critics, historians and other cinema enthusiasts to determine the 50 greatest films of all time. Here is the master list that Stott spent so much time compiling. And here are my personal choices that I contributed. I hope to read some commentary generated regarding this list.
Random thoughts about the Sotomayor Hearing: Does anyone else find it amusing to see Stuart Smalley on the panel grilling Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor? Also, in a recent exchange, liberal MSNBC host Chris Matthews—often the one known for movie references peppered throughout his reportage—asked conservative Pat Buchanan how he felt about the right-wing fringe's ideas that Sotomayor's interest in foreign court precedents would contribute to our nation's government being supplanted by a foreign one. To paraphrase Matthews, he was speaking about the "black helicopter" contingent. Buchanan responded with a chuckle, "Red Dawn!"


Bruce Oksol said...

The hearings are all political theater anyway, so Stuart Smalley on the panel is fitting.

Patrick said...

As a former Minnesotan, I find it sad that Franken somehow got on the judiciary committee only to make a buffoon of himself (what's with the Perry Mason questions).

Regarding the list - I saw The Seventh Seal way back in my serious cinema days (college). At the time I probably liked it because I suspect I was influenced by the reputation of Bergman. Thinking back (and this is way way back, 30 years ago now, so based on a dim memory) my thinking is that symbolism should be veiled. I suppose you could say that when the main character is Death, it's not even symbolism, it's more like a filmed philosophical discussion, and not what I think makes up great cinema. I want to see a drama or a comedy about people, not characters that simply represent various ideas.

Tony Dayoub said...


I completely agree, but it seems a bit postmodern, especially with Franken having portrayed a senator on the judiciary committee on an SNL sketch circa the Clarence Thomas hearings.


I think you're being much too hard on Franken. There was nothing buffoonish about his desire to inject some very light levity into what had been some boring partisan hearings up to that point. No, buffoonish was Senator Coburn's lighthearted "you've got some 'splainin' to do" comment which this Cuban American found leaned towards the extremely ignorant, if not completely racist.

As for The Seventh Seal, which I recently reviewed in a spectacular Criterion Blu-ray edition, I had the same apprehensions when I approached its viewing. I hadn't seen it in years, and remembered it to be a very grim affair. I was happily surprised then to find that it is actually much more humanistic and comedic (gallows humor) than I recalled. I believe it is the beneficiary of a new subtitle translation. If so, this may explain why it so clearly strikes me as a dark comedy where it didn't do so before.

Patrick said...

Maybe I'll throw Seventh Seal in my netflix queue and give it a try one of these days. You probably don't remember much about any movie you saw 30 years ago.

I doubt Coburn meant anything disrespectful, but it's just better not to go in that direction. Ann Althouse (a law professor) thought Franken's questioning overall showed he didn't really get what the Supreme Court did. I thought the Judiciary Committee was something of a plum assignment, I'm not sure how Franken landed on it after about 3 days in the senate....