On February 11th, 2008 I wrote (on my old blog): “I plan on watching every one of [the movies on the IMDb’s Top 250]… starting with #250. It’ll take a year or more to get through, but I like the idea of watching movies that a lot of people think are the best.” Two years, ten months, ten days and 314 films later (i.e., yesterday), I’m finally finished.
To be fair, I haven’t seen every movie on the Top 250. I passed over Sleuth (which has since fallen off the list) because it’s not available to rent. For Cinema Paradiso, I saw the director’s cut, which I don’t count as the same movie. Black Swan, The Secret in Their Eyes, The Passion of Joan of Arc and Castle in the Sky crawled onto the list long after I’d passed their current spots, and I didn’t double back for them. Things are always jumping on and off, and at some point I had to just say, “these are the ones that I’m watching, and that will be that.” Otherwise the project would literally never end. 314 movies out of 250 is close enough!
Now, since I spent nearly three years watching these movies, I figure they deserve and epic send-off. So I will be ranking them, in 20 installments, from worst to best. But not according to how much I liked them, oh, no. That would be too easy (and besides, there are so damn many of them, it would just be like copying my Favorites page with arbitrary omissions). When I first started this unholy project, I made up a ten-point “objective” rating system (which evolved into the rating format I now use on this blog). The system was created for the Top 250, and so that is how I will rank them. And as a token adjustment for my glaring biases in grading the movies, ties will be broken by favoring the ones I liked least.
My Ranking of the IMDb’s Top 250, part 1 of 20: 1.7/4 (Eh) and below
#314. Mulholland Dr., David Lynch, 2001. Currently #248 on the IMDb.
#313. Arsenic and Old Lace, Frank Capra, 1944. Currently #236.
#312. Doctor Zhivago, David Lean, 1965. Currently off the list.
#311. His Girl Friday, Howard Hawks, 1940. Currently #238.
#310. Rope, Alfred Hitchcock, 1948. Currently #241.
#309. Bringing Up Baby, Howard Hawks, 1938. Currently off the list.
#308. Terminator 2: Judgment Day, James Cameron, 1991. Currently #42.
#307. Raging Bull, Martin Scorsese, 1980. Currently #76.
#306. Persona, Ingmar Bergman, 1966. Currently #213.
#305. Gladiator, Ridley Scott, 2000. Currently #97.
#304. Bride of Frankenstein, James Whale, 1935. Currently off the list.
#303. Stalker, Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979. Currently off the list.
Given the scale of this project, and that I’ve already posted about each of these movies, I’m sure you will excuse the lack of film-by-film commentary. There are several in this bunch that I wouldn’t mind seeing again to give another chance (Bride of Frankenstein, Bringing Up Baby, Raging Bull), though I don’t think I’d change my mind about them. Some are harmless garbage (Arsenic and Old Lace, Terminator 2, Gladiator, Persona). Others I wouldn’t mind destroying every last copy, as a service to future generations.
I realize that posting a list of Beloved Movies That I Think Are Bad to the internet may be asking for trouble. But I welcome anyone to tell me why I’m wrong about any of these. I sincerely want to know.