Life is often busy, and movies are often long. It’s doubtful that any of us can say that we have seen each and every one of the Internet Movie Database’s generally reliable (but frequently controversial) list of top 250 films. As film fans, we’d like to, but that is a lot of movies, after all.
There are always those predictable few who immediately draw into question the credentials of ‘so-called’ movie aficionados if they don’t have an intimate knowledge of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s 1955 thriller Les Diaboliques (ranked 203), or 1930’s World War II flick La Grande Illusion (edging in at 244), but there is no disgrace associated with failing to catch some of the more obscure flicks at the tail end of the list.
Likewise, there’s no ignominy in missing a selection of the top 100 either; for every popular, ubiquitous movie like The Lion King or Toy Story there are lesser-known foreign affairs such as Cinema Paradiso and Grave of the Fireflies, which aren’t to the tastes of everybody (though the latter really should be).
Getting to the business end of the list, and we’re on much shakier ground. Surely there is no excuse for a self-proclaimed film buff to have avoided any of the top 25?
I have a confession to make. My name’s Benjamin, and I’ve never seen The Usual Suspects (sneaking in at 25). I can’t explain why it has eluded me to this day, but I’ve been made punishingly aware by society that I should have seen it. I have all my excuses lined up, but they aren’t good enough; I’m a pariah. It probably has something to do with an alleged ‘friend’ revealing the outcome to me the week I intended to watch it, but who knows, maybe he was lying? Apparently, The Devil’s greatest trick was convincing everybody they had to watch Bryan Singer’s acclaimed crime thriller. And I haven’t. Shameful.
I’m not alone in this dubious honour. Even WhatCulture’s resident film addict Simon Gallagher gingerly admits he has never seen Fernando Meirelles’ fabulously perspiring, dazzlingly sun-kissed masterpiece City of God (23).
To be fair to Simon, growing up in the savage wilderness of Gateshead restricted his chances to see Meirelles’ Brazilian brilliance, where it struggled for anything but a limited cinema release alongside such landmark movies as Biker Boyz and Kangaroo Jack. In his own words: “I saw both of these in January 2003 when City of God came out. I really should be shot into the sun.” Agreed.
O2 Filmes/ VideoFilmes
OK, OK…the truth is, there is no shame at all in not having seen any of the list’s top 250, even if we feel like we should have, for whatever reason. It’s no great scandal if a film fan hasn’t caught The Shawshank Redemption (though it obviously means they don’t have ITV2). Missed Schindler’s List? Don’t worry: it’s not an ideal date movie anyway. Late to the Fight Club…er, club? That’s OK, there’s a rule that means you can’t talk about it anyway.
Nevertheless, it makes for an interesting discussion. For anyone who has forced their way through the entire list, the arduous task almost inevitably included offerings the would-be completionist found interminably dull. Perhaps their omission would have been preferable?
So tell us, what’s the highest ranked movie on IMDB’s sacred list you haven’t seen? And for those of you have seen them all, which do you really wish you just hadn’t bothered with?
(I predict a bevy of silent-era Charlie Chaplin pictures will lead the pack.)