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This list is yet another reason why the average moviegoer thinks professional movie critics are full of crap. In their three-hour CBS special “100 Years, 100 Movies, 10th Anniversary Edition” telecast, the American Film Institute revealed that Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane” was at the top of their list of the 100 Greatest American Films. “The Godfather” came in second place, while “Casablanca” took #3, and “Raging Bull” and “Singin’ in the Rain” coming in at #4 and #5, respectively. Not a bad list, right? Regardless, I still call shenanigans on the crowning of “Kane”, for the simple reason that I have never made it through a full viewing without falling asleep.
Now you can go ahead and pooh-pooh me for thinking “the greatest” American movie should at least be able to keep a person awake. I can’t blame you, since by now it’s probably been beaten into your head that this IS the greatest movie EVER, and you probably don’t know any better.
“Citizen Kane” broke the mold of filmmaking, yes, and changed the way things were done from then on, yes again, and for those things it should be recognized for all time. But stop telling me it’s the greatest American film ever made in the last 100 years. I don’t buy it. Never have, never will.
Here’s an experiment: Get 10 of your friends together and force them to watch “Citizen Kane”, and count how many of them are still awake at the end of it. Here’s a hint: It ain’t gonna be 10. You’ll be lucky if half of them still talk to you after you’ve forced them to sit through the movie.
Now don’t you think the greatest American movie EVER should at least possess the ability to hold the attention of more than 50% of the audience put before it? Regardless of how old of a movie it is? Hell yeah. You put “The Godfather” in front of those same 10 people and I bet you 6 of them will know HALF of the movie’s lines by heart. Likewise with “Casablanca”.
Am I saying that “The Godfather” should be #1? Not really, but it should at least be up there on a list that dares to rank the best anything. And what of “Citizen Kane”? It should be reserved for the list of Really Important Films That No One Cares About Except Professional Movie Critics.
But hey, maybe that’s just me.
You can read the whole ridiculous list here.