STARTING with my next post I'll give my selections for the ten best motion pictures of all time. I'll include some explanation of each one, so that by the time the last selection (#1) is given, the reader will have a sense of the criteria used when I made my choices. It's a subjective list but an objective one at the same time; as all art criticism has to be.
I treated movies as art and experience. I looked for films which exploited the possibilities of the art; understanding as I did what those possibilities are. Too much film criticism over the years has treated film as A.) a literary work; B.) a piece of furniture, whose importance lies in how it's pieced together.
I considered the movies chosen as they appear on the big screen-- how this particular art was meant to be displayed.
You'll see as the list is given that I avoided many (not all) of the obvious choices-- what would be the fun in that? Also because many of the obvious choices are wrong.
Many films almost made the cut. I would've loved to have included "GodfatherII," for instance; surely a masterpiece. The big screen reveals the incredible tapestry of its set pieces. (Who can forget the parade in Little Italy?) It was left off my list because it's too consciously a masterpiece. Its greatness is all on the screen. Despite the tragedy of Michael Corleone, the darkness is on the surface, without enough resonant depths which leave the viewer a different person; which cause him to judge not just Michael Corleone, but himself. Still, it's a masterpiece all the same.
But enough talk. Next up: Number Ten.